Away from the TV, closer to nature: an afternoon at Muir Woods

Redwood trees fill more than 300 acres at Muir Woods. By Sophia Gallegos

BERKELEY,Calif. — In this day and age many families would like to focus on spending more time together. This can often be hard to do. Parents are often racing from home to work, and many children have their eyes glued to a computer screen. This is no way to bring a family together, but we can rely on Muir Woods National Monument to do the trick.

On a typical Friday afternoon there are about 6,000 visitors at the park looking to feel the warm sun on their faces, and smell the fresh scent of pine. While making my way through the forest, I talked to a visitor who said that, “the most striking thing is that the forest has been here for years, and that you can be here and walk through it just as people did 100 years ago, and share it with your family.” While at Muir Woods, not only will visitors see beautiful trees, but they may also see rare wildflowers like: trillium, clintonia, and redwood violet growing on the floor. Also a variety of animals such as spotted owls, bats, raccoons, and even some deer roam. While walking on the path look out for banana slugs.

Children love to visit Muir Woods with their families. Some may think that walking through a forest isn’t exactly fun, but once they arrive their feelings change. “I like how high the trees are, I like the way they look, and I like the sounds,” said Michael, a 6 -year- old boy who was visiting the park with his mother, father and sister. “We really need to get them at an early age because they are going to be the ones protecting our forest,” said Tim Jordan, the parks education coordinator.

Muir Woods celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008. In 1905, William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher-Kent, bought land to protect some of the last standing redwood trees.  In 1906, the San Francisco earthquake, an 8.3 on the Richter scale, accompanied by a fire destroyed much of the area. The forest was in danger of being cut down and becoming a dam, so Kent and his wife took action.

Ranger Tim Jordan works with young people in the Muir Woods education program. By Sophia Gallegos

They sent a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt saying they’d like to donate 295 acres of redwood trees to the federal government to ensure that the forest would be permanently protected. In 1908, President Roosevelt deemed Muir Woods a National Monument.

A baby deer roams the woods. By Sophia Gallegos