During the 1985 budget crisis we almost lost the park. A formal request was written up and sent to the State from the County Board of Supervisors proposing to trade Van Duzen Park for some State beach property adjacent to one of our other park units. When this was reported in the local paper, people spoke out in droves for support of a locally controlled Park unit in the redwoods. They stated that the state parks were just" too popular and expensive". This caused the Board to rescind the letter. At that time day use was $1 per vehicle and camping was $6 dollars a night.
Our goals in the early years focused on managing the park as a recreation area with no real money or other resources to make improvements to the facility. However in the late 1990's that all changed. (Well not the money or even the resources come to think about it.) Much of the old growth in Humboldt County and around the park was being logged by the Maxxam Corporation. Charles Hurwitz (Junk Bond Junkie of the 80's) bought out Pacific Lumber Company in 1985, and pretty well raped it of all its valuable redwood. We were the staging area for Earth First! during the "Redwood Summer"(1990) and the "Save Headwaters" (1995) protests.
That meant we were ground zero between the protesters and the Logging community.
I think we earned some respect from both sides in our handling of these large groups and all the attention and pressure that came with the protesters using the park as their base camp. (But that is a whole other story.)
In 1996 Fish and Wildlife designated the park as critical habitat for Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets due to our abundance of standing old growth timber. All this has created a bit of a management conundrum. Attempting to balance a high recreational use area and still meet the needs of the Park especially during the nesting period for endangered species was and still is a challenge at times.
The park has been featured in several auto commercials, a couple of Russian music videos for Zara, (The Pop Diva of Russia) and featured in the movie "Outbreak" and "Walking with the Dinosaurs".
I would like to say join us on Facebook or the internet, but we are still walking with the dinosaurs when it comes to technology at times.
Ah, life behind the redwood curtain.
If you ever want to take a peek at what goes on behind this curtain, please stop by and say hi. We are, as always, on a first come first serve basis but the coffee is hot, and it is always cool under the canopy of these majestic trees.
"Getting to Know You"
Van Duzen Humboldt County Park (continued from Page 3)
Main swim area at Swimmers Delight in Van Duzen County Park, Humboldt
(Pat Boyle photos from upper left) Kids doing a tree science measuement project, sunrise in the tall redwood forest, a foggy day along the Van Duzen River inside the park.