The Proposal War
By 1960 the pressure to create a park to preserve the Redwoods in a National Park greatly increased. This increase in national interest may have been due in part to the enactment of various environment-minded acts of the time, such as the Wilderness Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. Additionally, it was quickly being realized that there were few tracts of virgin growth salvageable as parkland.
Lumber companies and activist groups were not evenly divided into two groups. Within these organizations existed disagreements about what to save. Some believed in saving tracts of land that would best preserve the habitat; others argued that it was most important to save the tallest or the most abundant trees.
The argument was complicated between the national view and the local view, which is why groups like the Citizens for a Redwood National Park were created to remind the nation that this affected real citizens.
The battle was often brutal. At one point it was thought that Georgia-Pacific had logged inside the lines of the proposed Redwood Park. Georgia-Pacific also threatened to sue the Sierra Club over an ad that had been detrimental to their business.
Eventually, a bill passed through the senate. But this far from ended the debates. The enacting of the bill and the subsequent park extension only a few years later would provide enough fervor for many more debates in the years to come.
Many of the acres designated for the park were taken from tribal lands. The Yurok Tribe continuously advocated for the return of their ancestral lands during these debates. Please see our Historic Logging exhibit to learn more about traditional land management.