Redwood National & State Parks Trails Gateway

A dramatic gateway to the North Coast Redwood Region deep within Humboldt County, California is undergoing a unique environmental transformation.  The site of the future Redwood National and State Parks Visitor Center, an abandoned lumbermill on land that was severely degraded from decades of destructive logging practices, is being restored to ecological health while providing public access to the natural wonders of the region. Catalyzed by Save the Redwoods League and constructed by the Yurok Tribe, the floodplain, wetlands, meadows, and upland forests at the confluence of two critical wild salmon runs, Redwood and Prairie Creeks, are returning to their natural wildland state. And a new trailhead for recreational access and education is as part of the healing of this land.

The multi-year construction project is a collaboration among agency partners including Save the Redwoods League, National Park Service, California State Parks, the Yurok Tribe, Redwood Parks Conservancy, California Trout, and the California Coastal Conservancy.  JNRA was the landscape architect responsible for the site design of the long range plan for the future Visitor Center, and is the prime consultant for the +/- 15-acre first phase of work for the Trails Gateway public access improvements.  They have been working closely with NHE, the lead firm for the +/- 75-acre Prairie Creek Restoration improvements.

When completed in 2025 and transferred to the National Park Service, the Trails Gateway will offer visitors regional and local trail connections to towering old growth forests, fecund riparian corridors, and a continuum of restored native habitats linking the stream, floodplains, wetlands, and elk meadows with native upland forests.  A several-mile off-road segment of the California Coastal Trail will be featured along with parking for cars and RV’s; a bus drop-off; ecologically-derived site infrastructure; gathering areas with seating and picnic facilities; and wayside interpretive exhibits.

Regrading to reestablish floodplain connectivity and seamless ecologically-rich transitions with the upland forests and meadows has required more than 200,000 cubic yards of soil to be excavated and redistributed thoughout the site.  Public access and the future building development areas will be on engineered fill and rise above the projected 100 and 500-year flood zones, while the low-lying areas will accommodate inundation events for the benefit of fish, birds, insects, and mammals. The entire area will be revegetated with locally indigenous plantings as part of an integrated ecological continuum between the creek floodplain and the forested uplands.

Location

Orick, CA

Size

15-acre development within a 125-acre property

Completed

2025 (anticipated)

Client

Save the Redwoods League
National Park Service Pacific West Region

Team

SHN Engineers (Civil Engineering and Land Surveying)
AldrichPears Associates Ltd (Interpretive Designers)
NHE (Hydrology)

Scope

Concept – Design Development, Construction Documentation & Administration

Related Projects

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Yosemite Valley

Muir Woods

Redwood National & State Parks Visitor Center