Protecting the Strawberry Rock Trail, in Perpetuity
The Land Trust is grateful for this opportunity to protect such a magnificent natural area. The Strawberry Rock Trail is one of Trinidad’s most popular destinations for a half-day hike in the redwoods, not to mention a rock climb to a stunning ocean view. It has become a destination day hike that brings tourism to the City of Trinidad, is valued by our community and has a positive impact our county’s tourism economy. Although it is currently on private property, and when on the trial one is officially trespassing, for many years the landowners Green Diamond Resource Co. have taken a hands off approach to public use of this private trail. But this could change. The family-owned landholding company could subdivide, log or sell this publically valued property. In January 2017, the Land Trust finalized negotiations and signed an option contract agreement with Green Diamond that, if funds are raised within three years, requires the purchase of a public use conservation easement and permanently protects about 45 acres including the redwood forest trail, a redwood forest grove (currently under an approved timber harvest plan) and the grandiose Strawberry Rock itself. The trail would be protected for general public use as well as traditional uses as recommended by the Trinidad Rancheria and Yurok Tribe. The Land Trust will need to raise approx. $750,000 to purchase the protective conservation easement. This trail could become an official ‘spur’ of the nearby California Coastal Trail. This area was and is home to a Native American community that thrived on this coast, rich in natural resources. The Yurok People, specifically the residents of the Tsurai Village (located within the City of Trinidad), honored both ‘Strawberry Rock’ and ‘Potato Rock’ as special places that provided guidance and purpose to the people. Former Yurok Heritage Preservation Officer Robert McConnell stated “since time immemorial the place known as Strawberry Rock and surrounding lands have held high cultural significance to Yurok People.” Potato Rock was demolished and became the quarry that provided the huge rocks that make up the north and south jetties of Humboldt Bay. Strawberry Rock remains as a significant inland seastack that can be seen from miles away. The view from Trinidad Head highlights the rock’s massive stature and the ancient connection between land and ocean. Today, the Yurok people are active members of our community that still visit and connect with Strawberry Rock. The hike is not for the faint of heart, especially the final scramble up near-vertical rock walls to the top of the Rock. The climb up the rock itself begins up a near vertical 15-foot V in the rock wall, where some kind soul has left a rope to aid climbers. Visitors then shimmy around narrow ledges and up other steep sections to the lumpy top of the Rock itself. A recent round-trip took two reasonably able-bodies about 2-1/2 hours, including exploring under the redwoods and the required dawdling at the top of the Rock.
The Land Trust will submit grants for public agency funding and reach out to private foundations. CA State Parks and BLM are interested but currently have no funding. The Save-the-Redwoods League is a prospective partner. The Land Trust will also need to raise money for trail development and stewardship maintenance costs. A fundraising campaign has been established for this limited-time conservation easement trail acquisition opportunity. If you would like to contribute, or can recommend a fundraising opportunity, please contact us.
Strawberry Rock Trail Project Fact Sheet for Conservation Easement Proposed Acquisition
Trinidad Coastal Land Trust is working with Green Diamond Resource Company (landowners) to develop funding sources for a proposed conservation easement for Strawberry Rock. This permanent easement would include 38 acres in the following configuration:
A public access easement over GDRCo property for the trail from the public road east of US 101 to Strawberry Rock, including a buffer along the trial (12 acres)
Strawberry Rock and a buffer around the rock (2 acres)
A stand of mature young-growth timber that is adjacent to the trial and is currently included in an approved timber harvesting plan (24 acres)
Protecting the forest, rock and trail is dependent on the purchase of the conservation easement. Preliminary conversations with potential funders have received favorable responses. We have also contacted representatives of the Trinidad Rancheria and Yurok Tribe who are also supportive of permanent protection for Strawberry Rock. There are no current plans to operate the approved timber harvesting plan that is adjacent to the proposed trail to Strawberry Rock. However, other harvest units nearby units are scheduled for harvest. We are committed to working with cooperative agencies, foundations and community groups for a successful conclusion. Green Diamond senior vice president Neal Ewald said, "We think this is a great opportunity to work with a local land trust to secure a conservation easement. We worked with Trinidad Coastal Land Trust in the past to support the development of the Moonstone section of the Coastal Trail and look forward to a successful outcome for Strawberry Rock and the access trail."
STATS Distance: ~3.4 miles roundtrip Climb: -650 Difficulty: Moderate to difficult (scaling the rock itself) Wear sturdy hiking shoes: bring extra layer, water, energy bars Roundtrip time: -2.5 hours Elevation at top of Rock: -900 Observations: muddy; considerable clearing and trail improvement needed; view from the top is breath-taking.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ben Morehead, 707-677-2501 benm@trinidadcoastalland trust.org
LANDTRUST SEEKS CONSERVATION EASMENT FOR PERMANENT PROTECTION OF STRAWBERRY ROCKANDTRAILIN TRINIDAD An Agreement to Pursue Funding for permanent protection and public access of the iconic rock and trail on private forest needs public funding support
Trinidad, California (January 20, 2017) -- The Strawberry Rock Trail near Trinidad is in consideration for permanent protection. The Trinidad Coastal Land Trust signed an option agreement in December with Green Diamond Resource Company. The forested area surrounding the existing trail and rock are included in an option contract that will give the land trust time to raise funding to purchase a public trail conservation easement. The trail will include a 24-acre redwood forest grove and the awe-inspiring Strawberry Rock, an inland sea stack outcropping that raises from atop the surrounding redwood forest canopy. The view is extraordinary and the trail very popular, even though one is currently trespassing on private property. Green Diamond has agreed to sella conservation easement, which would keep the property in private ownership but permanently grants certain public benefit rights such as trail access, protection of the surrounding trees and the rock itself.
Green Diamond senior vice president Neal Ewald said, "We made this agreement because of the support we received from local residents for the project. This is a great opportunity to again work with the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust to secure the conservation easement. We worked with them in the past to support the development of the Moonstone section of the CA Coastal Trail and look forward to a successful outcome for Strawberry Rock and the associated access trail." In 2015, Green Diamond sold a key conservation property to the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust. This 'Little River Parcel is a future home to the California Coastal Trail, directly connecting the Hammond Trail at Clam Beach to ScenicDrive above Moonstone Beach. The project needs agency grants, engineering and permitting for a bridge to cross the Little River. The Strawberry Rock trail will be a permanent easement of 38 acres including
a public access easement over Green Diamond property for the trail from the public road east of US 101 to Strawberry Rock, including a buffer along the trial (12 acres)
Strawberry Rock and a buffer around the rock (2 acres)
Astand of mature young-growth timber that is adjacent to the trial and is currently included in an approved timber harvesting plan (24 acres)
Trinidad Coastal Land Trust executive director Ben Morehead said that "this redwood forest trail to Strawberry Rock needs permanent protection. Without the acquisition of a conservation easement, under a future landowner the trail could be blocked to prevent public access, the rock could be quarried, the redwoodgrove cut and the land could be developed. The landowners are willing to work with us now and we need to take advantage of that and really increase our 2017 fundraising campaign, to protect these special places we as the public need to Connect with nature."
Implementation of the proposed Conservation easement is contingent upon obtaining agency program grants and foundation funding. Preliminary conversations with potential funders has yielded favorable responses thus far. We have had discussions with representatives of both the Trinidad Rancheria and the Yurok Tribe who are also supportive of permanent protection for Strawberry Rock and its cultural significance to the Yurok people. Green Diamond affirms that there are no current plans to operate the approved timber harvesting plan that is adjacent to the proposed trail to Strawberry Rock. Green Diamond states that they are committed to working with the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust and the local community to for a successful conclusion.
The trail is quite a popular weekend destination, but be warned that unpermitted guests are trespassing and there are no direction signs or trail safety improvements.
(note: photo Courtesy of Green Diamond) ### For additional images, google search Strawberry Rock Humboldt
To learn more about the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust, visit www.trinidadcoastallandtrust.org
The Trinidad Coastal Land Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting for the public benefit the natural beauty and character of Humboldt County from Little River to Big Lagoon.