Redwoods National Park

Michael Balint / Flickr

 

It’s August, hot and sure to get hotter. We head up the road this week in search of natural air conditioning, starting with the coast. The redwood coast, to get specific, one of the most unique environments on earth—moist, mild-mannered forest where old-growth coast redwood communities are making their last stand. Again. 

Once millions strong, California’s native population of coast redwoods has been whittled down through logging and agriculture. Only isolated groves survive, along a strip of foggy coast now reaching from Big Sur up into southern Oregon. Ancestors of these Sequoia sempervirens, or ever-living sequoia trees—quite different from the Sierra big trees honored at Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks—were well established here, and throughout the Northern Hemisphere, when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Will Smith / Flickr

We’ve been talking about doing something different this summer, something meaningful, personal, local. Tracing old highway routes with help from the 1939 WPA Guide to California. Volunteering to build trails and restore habitat. Following a personal passion. We wrap up this conversation by focusing on local heritage tourism—different aspects of our collective identity.

Cultural heritage includes it all—history and other special-interest museums, art galleries, performances of all kinds. If you have particular cultural interests, plan your summer travel accordingly.