Published: October 2009


Mike Fay

The Redwoods Point the Way

A conservationist sees a new wave of enlightened forestry as a model for wiser stewardship of nature.

Essay by Michael Fay
Photograph by Michael Christopher Brown

On day 323 of the transect, in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, I dropped over a log 18 feet in diameter into an abyss of giant botanical pickup sticks, deadfall that had piled up amid the living trees over thousands of years. Another fallen monster loomed. Grabbing huckleberry roots and clumps of sword ferns, I hauled myself and my 60-pound pack up its organic wall onto a trunk as long as a football field. Filthy and exhausted, surrounded by hundreds of towering redwood columns that were raining their captured fog on my head, I stood there overwhelmed by a scene straight out of the Jurassic.

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