In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks.
At Muir Woods, I found this tidbit on S.O.D. particularly interesting. The infection has nothing to do with human interference. It’s just the way things happen in nature.
Sudden Oak Death: Many of the tan oaks before you have been infected with Phytopthora ramorum, a pathogen more commonly known as “sudden oak death.” Trees infected with S.O.D. begin to “bleed,” developing warty black growths. Beetles then invade the weakened tree and the tree quickly dies.
First discovered near Muir Woods in 1995, S.O.D. has since spread to several other coastal California counties. The pathogen infects over three dozen species of trees and shrubs, though most are not killed by the disease.
Plants have been attacked by diseases for millions of years. Some succumb and disappear from our world. Others fight off the disease and surviving plants reproduce, making the next generation even stronger. Scientists are now studying S.O.D. to see how this disease will affect the forest in the years to come.
And yet, while nature often destroys with reckless abandon, humans intervene to preserve and nurture. Muir Woods still exists thanks to the work of many conservationists.
Three dates are important for this National Park:
By 1905 William and Elizabeth Kent purchased 611 acres of “Sequoia Canyon” (later Muir Woods) for $45,000.
Then, in 1945, the United Nations organized a conference in Muir Woods, focusing the delegates’ attention on the role of nature and places of tranquility in world peace. Delegates from all over the world first met in San Francisco to establish the United Nations. On May 19, they traveled to Muir Woods to honor the memory of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. President Roosevelt believed in the value of national parks as sources of inspiration and human renewal. He also believed that good forestry practices and sustainable development of natural resources were keystones to lasting peace around the world.
Organizers of the event hoped that the profound beauty and serenity of Muir Woods would inspire the delegates to pursue the president’s program for world peace as they met to establish the United Nations.