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Long-disputed ancient California forest opens to hikers

forest
The Headwaters Forest grove had been the largest expanse of old-growth redwoods in private ownership
RELATED VIDEO
KRON's David Wright takes the six- mile hike into the new park
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EUREKA, California (CNN) -- After years of controversy pitting environmental activists against timber interests, a five-square-mile grove of centuries-old redwood trees in Northern California has officially opened to hikers.

But you'll have to be hearty to see it.

New signs, a small parking area and a portable toilet welcome visitors at the northern entrance to the Headwaters Forest Reserve in Humboldt County.

How to get there:
  • Take Highway 101 to the Elk River Road about six miles south of Eureka, California.
  • The road ends at a small parking lot where a kiosk displays a map of Headwaters.
  • From the parking lot, a six-mile hike on steep, muddy logging roads along the Elk River ends at an overlook of the grove.
  • But there are no trails into the grove, which had been the largest expanse of old-growth redwoods in private ownership. Getting there takes a six-mile hike on a trail that used to be an unpaved road used by logging trucks.

    The federal and state governments together bought the Headwaters as part of a $480 million deal that imposes logging restrictions on the rest of Pacific Lumber Co.'s property for the next 50 years.

    The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which took ownership of the grove on March 1 and opened the area to hikers on Monday, hopes within a few months to open public access along a southern route.

    Watch this report from David Wright of CNN affiliate KRON and see for yourself the pristine beauty of the Headwaters Forest Reserve.



    RELATED STORIES:
    Activists blast Home Depot despite move to go green
    March 15, 1999
    Tree-hugger lives atop Redwood to save forest
    June 22, 1998
    Landmark deal reached to save ancient redwoods in California
    March 2, 1999

    RELATED SITES:
    Welcome to Headwaters Environmental Center
    FORESTS FOREVER HOME PAGE
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