Founders Day at Big Basin

The charter members of the Sempervirens Club (now the Sempervirens Fund) in one of Big Basin's ancient redwoods, ca. 1900. This Saturday Big Basin celebrates 113 years as a state park. Photo courtesy Sempervirens Fund.

The charter members of the Sempervirens Club (now the Sempervirens Fund) in one of Big Basin’s ancient redwoods, ca. 1900. This Saturday Big Basin celebrates 113 years as a state park. Photo courtesy Sempervirens Fund.

One hundred and thirteen years ago, a legacy began. The Sempervirens Fund, then known as the Sempervirens Club, successfully purchased and set aside an area of old growth redwood forest for the public that would become Big Basin Redwoods State Park. This Saturday, Sept. 26, the state park is celebrating this momentous occasion with a day full of historical hikes, activities for kids, and a charming melodrama.

The day starts early with coffee and crafts for adults and children in the Sempervirens Room where docent Kathy Willott will happily direct guests to a hike or event that suits their desires. Interpreter Susan Blake describes Founders’ Day as a celebration of the park’s natural and cultural history. Natural history hikes vary from the kid friendly Once Upon a Nest (1.5 miles, leisurely pace) to the moderately strenuous McAbee Outlook (6 miles, 3.5 hours). These docent led hikes will leave visitors in awe of the redwood forest and grateful for the foresight the Sempervirens Fund had a hundred years ago. But Big Basin’s cultural history should also be remembered on Founders’ Day.

Big Basin is a popular camping and hiking spot for many Northern Californians, but few know of its storied history and its significance in the conservation movement. Docent Scott Peden describes the creation of Big Basin as “the start of a movement to have parks with wilderness versus [parks with] a lawn.” The rich history of Big Basin can be explored on the history walks such as the Old-Time Big Basin Resort Walk (1 mile, 1.5 hours) or the Old-Time Redwood Grove Loop Walk (1 mile, 1.5 hours). These walks, hosted by Peden, utilize rare photos taken throughout the park’s history, some of which may be the only surviving copies in the world. On these history walks, visitors can compare old photos to their current locations. They’ll see how fashion and technology have shifted in 100 years, but they’ll also see how resilient and unchanged the redwoods have remained. There will be more than just hikes for the festivities—it wouldn’t be Founders’ Day without the Timeline Tree and the historical Melodrama.

Read more about Founders’ Day and see the Schedule of Events at Hilltromper.

 


Hilltromper


Leave a Comment