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By Caroline Leone, NPS Trail Crew Intern
Heading down the Redwood Creek Trail in Muir Woods National Monument, visitors will come to a winding walkway through a grove of old-growth coast redwoods, bay laurels, and oak trees.
This new addition to the landscape is a 620-foot boardwalk, consisting of over 600 certified second-growth redwood boards. As a replacement for an old, deteriorating asphalt path, this segment connects to an existing boardwalk that has been built in sections over the past 15 years. Interns and trails staff worked more than 10,000 labor hours over the course of five months to construct the walkway, which also includes three recycled benches.
Larry Evans, NPS Trail Crew Leader and “erosion guru,” enthuses that the elevated structure allows for “reestablishing the natural hydrological regimes and the decompacted earth fosters infiltration that feeds the Redwood Creek Watershed.” In other words, improvements such as these will allow for drainage and lessen the impacts in the watershed—which means healthier habitat for several sensitive species, including the California red-legged frog, steelhead trout, coho salmon, and northern spotted owl.
The planning and construction process was challenging and everyone who put time and effort into it really enjoyed contributing to one of the largest undertakings by the National Park Service Trails division. Trail staff and interns successfully completed this project due to a combination of guidance, collaboration, and discipline.
With construction equipment gone and the woods silent, visitors can now enjoy the tranquility of this historic, natural environment along a trail that is in harmony with its surroundings.