Peter Douglas Trail Reopens

October 22, 2020

Save the Redwoods League and Mendocino Land Trust today announced the reopening of the Peter Douglas Trail through the Shady Dell candelabra redwood trees in Mendocino County. This reopening follows more than a year of restoration and repair efforts to Usal Road and the Peter Douglas Trail that were damaged in the 2019 Usal Fire.

Usal Fire

On July 27, 2019, the 130-acre Usal Fire broke out at California State Park’s Usal Beach Campground adjacent to the League-owned Shady Dell property on the north coast of Mendocino County. CAL FIRE is still investigating the cause of the fire, but a member of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department indicated that the fire began when fireworks ignited the grassy hillside adjacent to Shady Dell at approximately 11:30 p.m. that Saturday night.

With the dry brush and strong winds, the fire spread quickly onto Shady Dell and burned the bluffs the following day. CAL FIRE responded quickly, sending out fire trucks, helicopters and aerial support. The crews were able to hold the fire on the south side of Shady Dell at the established fuel breaks on the ridgeline of the property. The old-growth coast redwoods, candelabra grove as well as other sensitive sites were not burned.

About Shady Dell and its Candelabra Trees

Shady Dell’s diverse ecosystem includes a rich array of plants and wildlife such as the candelabra-shaped coast redwoods as well as salmon, black bears, Roosevelt elk and mountain lions. Strong winds and salty air are believed to have shaped the coast redwoods in this area over time, turning their trunks into shapes that resemble candelabras.

Save the Redwoods League acquired the Shady Dell property in October 2011, and in collaboration with the Mendocino Land Trust and the California State Coastal Conservancy, opened the Peter Douglas Trail to the public in May 2016. The trail extends the Lost Coast Trail to the south by 2.3 miles.

Visiting Shady Dell & The Peter Douglas Trail

Entry is free and open to the public. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended as Usal Road leading to this property is narrow and rough. For more information and directions to Shady Dell and the Peter Douglas Trail, please visit the our trail app.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors are advised to maintain physical distancing, avoid crowds, and wear face coverings.