ACCESSING NATURE: Many people spent the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 1 reconsidering upcoming national park visits. The government shutdown impacted the National Park Service, and soon after messages were posted on various social media sites that visitors in Yosemite should leave, surely an echo heard in other parks across the nation. And while we eagerly await national park access and the word on returning, we can give support and love to other wilder areas, areas we surely visit and back even when the national parks are open for business. (Yes? Good.) Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is one such place that has not closed its proverbial doors, and, yep, it is indeed snug up against Redwood National Park south of Crescent City. Other state parks in the area, including Del Norte and Jedediah Smith, are also more than worth a visit, especially if you love ferns, coastline, and a deep green retreat.
WHAT TO DO: The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is one of the Golden State's, if not the solar system's, most glorious drives. It's about ten miles long, and is indeed called a scenic drive, but "scenic" is one of those words that doesn't go nearly far enough. Hiking and biking trails spin off it, if you're so inclined. (And you should be.) And the movie-riffic Fern Canyon is in the area, too. If you know your "Return of the Jedi" lore, you know why this setting is so important to Wookiees and 'droids and intergalactic beings. It's a gem.
BELOVED STATE PARKS: For more on what is happening at the California State Parks, click away, nature lover. Best keep an eye on those adjacent-to-national-park areas, too; several are putting the call out to fans looking for alternative travel. (Mammoth is indeed open while Yosemite is closed.) And can we give a shout-out for the CSP 150th anniversary, which is straight ahead? Supporting both the state and national parks is happily a way of life for thousands of Golden-Staters who get that nature love is a necessary way of life.