Grove of the Titans

People sometimes say there are no more unexplored frontiers. Orion Magazine’s April/May issue puts that fable to rest with an amazing story of two botanists who, in 1998, stumbled upon an unmapped grove of redwoods…some of the largest redwoods alive today.The USGS topo map below shows what I assume is roughly the area where Sillet and Taylor found the mammoth trees. The exact location is a guarded secret.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods USGS

From the map you certainly don’t get the impression that this is a dense, wild, and uncharted region. It’s just a few miles outside of Crescent City after all. Now look at the Google Earth picture of the same area:Jedediah Satellite Photo

Supposedly the USGS maps are derived from aerial photographs similar to the above. But it looks to me as if the terrain is entirely different from that pictured on the map–which is what Sillet and Taylor discovered.

Part of the story the Orion article doesn’t convey is told by the Google Earth picture of the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park below. Look at the clear cutting that surrounds the park. The “Grove of Titans” found by Sillet and Taylor seems all the more precious looking at this picture…another couple of decades of unrestrained logging and those trees would be gone forever.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods Google Earth View

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