CA -- Muir Woods Natl Monument:
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- Description of Pictures: Thunderstorms closed this visit out way too early so I don't have many pictures from this visit.
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- Wikipedia Description: Muir Woods National Monument
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Muir Woods National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service in Marin County, California, 12 miles (19 km) north of San Francisco. It protects 554 acres (2.24 kmē) of forested area populated by Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), one of the last remaining stands in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area.
The Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in coastal fogs, contributing to a wet environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. The fog is also vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during the dry summer.
The Monument is cool and moist year round with average daytime temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 21 °C). Rainfall is heavy during the winter and summers are almost completely dry with the exception of fog drip caused by the fog passing through the trees. Annual precipitation in the park ranges from 39.4 inches (1,000 mm) in the lower valley to 47.2 inches (1,200 mm) higher up in the mountain slopes.
The redwoods grow on brown humus-rich loam which may be gravelly, stony or somewhat sandy. This soil has been assigned to the Centissima series, which is always found on sloping ground. It is well drained, moderately deep, and slightly to moderately acidic. It has developed from fine-grained sandstone and shale. More open areas of the park have shallow gravelly loam of the Barnabe series, or deep hard loam of the Cronkhite series.
One hundred fifty million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the United States. Today, the Sequoia sempervirens can be found only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey to Oregon.
Before the logging industry came to California, there were an estimated 2 million acres (8,000 kmē) of old growth forest containing redwoods growing in a narrow strip along the coast.
By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down. Just north of the San Francisco Bay, one valley named Sequoia Canyon remained uncut, mainly due to its relative inaccessibility.
This did not go unnoticed by U.S. Congressman William Kent. He and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent purchased 611 acres (2.47 kmē) of land from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company for $45,000 with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountain above them.
In 1907, a water company in nearby Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek, thereby flooding the valley. When Kent objected to the plan, the water company took him to court to attempt to force the damming project to move ahead. Kent sidestepped the water company's ploy by donating 295 acres (1.2 kmē) of the redwood forest to the Federal Government, thus bypassing the local courts.
On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a national monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. The original suggested name of the Monument was the Kent monument but Kent insisted the Monument be named after naturalist John Muir, whose environmental campaigns helped to establish the national park system.
In December 1928, the Kent Memorial was erected at the Kent Tree in Fern Canyon. This tree — a Douglas fir, not a redwood — was said to be Kent's favorite. Due to its height of 280 feet (85 meters) and location on a slope, the tree leaned towards the valley for more than 100 years. According to Muir Woods Storms in El Niņo years of 1981 and 1982 caused the tree to tilt even more and took out the top 40 feet (12 m) of the tree. During the winter of 2002-03, many storms brought high winds to Muir Woods causing the tree to lean so much that a fissure developed in January 2003. This fissure grew larger as the tree slowly leaned more and more, forcing the closure of some trails. On March 18, 2003 at around 8:28 pm, the tree fell with a thunderous boom, damaging several other trees nearby. The closed trails have since been reconfigured and reopened.
In the spring of 1945, delegates from 50 countries met in San Francisco to draft and sign the United Nations Charter. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, shortly before he was to have opened the United Nations Conference. On May 19, the delegates held a commemorative ceremony in tribute to his memory in Muir Woods' Cathedral Grove, where a dedication plaque was placed in his honor.
In 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was completed and park attendance tripled, reaching over 180,000. Muir Woods is one of the major tourist attractions of the San Francisco Bay Area, with 776,000 visitors in 2005.
On January 9, 2007, the superintendent for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area confirmed that Muir Woods would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation, made to honor its historical role in the birth of the modern conservation movement, was celebrated on January 9, 2008.
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