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Celebrating 10 years of Wildness in the King Range

Post by: Leisyka Parrott, Interpretive Specialist, BLM Arcata Field Office

Skyfish School students, teachers and chaperones celebrated the 10th anniversary of the King Range Wilderness alongside Student Conservation Association Interns, Lost Coast Interpretive Association Education Specialist and Bureau of Land Management staff.

“A decade later, our communities continue to benefit from the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act,” said Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director for CalWild, one of the organizations helping to support these events. “These benefits include clean water, the preservation of iconic wildlife, and access to recreation activities like hiking, fishing, boating, and hunting.”

Led by Interpretive Specialist, Rachel Sowards-Thompson, students pulled small conifer seedlings in the Hidden Valley meadow within the King Range Wilderness. Hand pulling conifer seedlings on forest-meadow edges is an effective strategy for conservation and maintenance of meadow habitats. In addition to helping preserve the meadow, students participated in a 2 mile natural and cultural history scavenger hunt called a quest.

Quests have been developed by Humboldt County Office of Education in collaboration with local, regional and federal land management agencies. These quests throughout Humboldt County facilitate local stewardship of coastal and marine habitats by engaging families in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences through the Redwood Edventure Quest Program. The Hidden Valley quest is the only quest in designated wilderness.

The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act is celebrating 20 years this month. Signed into law in 2006, this legislation protected 273,000 acres of wilderness and 21 miles of a Wild and Scenic River, and set aside approximately 51,000 acres as a Recreational Management Area for off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes. This legislation designated the King Range Wilderness which is the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the United States outside of Alaska.