Mendocino Land Trust

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A New Trail into the Lost Coast

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

If you have ever braved the windy Usal Road down to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, you know that this is a very special place. The ”Lost Coast” is Mendocino’s most wild and remote coastal wilderness, thick with forests and craggy coastline that are difficult to access and hardly ever seen by humans, which is one of the many things that makes it feel so magical.

The deeper you explore the Lost Coast, the more the trappings of modern life fall away. Here there is no cell phone service and no traffic noise- just a dirt road and a wild expanse that stretches for miles north along an untamed coastline.  Sprawling old-growth Douglas fir, majestic Roosevelt elk, and the tiny rare “secret pocket moss” are just a few of the treasures to be found here. While inaccessibility helps preserve this wilderness, it can also prevent people from connecting with these humbling vistas and appreciating why they need to be protected. 

Nearly 1,000 acres of these wild lands, known as Shady Dell, has been protected by Save the Redwoods League (League). Once heavily logged, the windswept trees in these forests can now recover and someday flourish.

Starting this summer, Mendocino Land Trust will work with the League and many other partners to build 2.3 miles of new California Coastal Trail in Shady Dell. The trail will invite visitors to discover dramatic views of the rugged Lost Coast, take them through the unique and mysterious candelabra tree forest, and share in the wild beauty that is so quintessentially what we love about Mendocino County.

Cultivating a love of wilderness is essential to the survival and preservation of open space, in addition to our well-being as humans. Creating thoughtful and well-designed trails in these otherwise remote locations not only invites public exploration and appreciation, but also allows for a wilderness experience while protecting land around the trail- forever.

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