Like so many other people from California and beyond, Muir Woods National Monument was the first place I walked through a coast redwood forest. Over a million tourists from across the globe stream into this treasured forest for a walk among the redwoods each year.
Being so close to San Francisco it is the quintessential, accessible redwood experience where you can safely walk on a meandering boardwalk under the redwood canopy and pose with friends and family next to some of the tallest trees on Earth. The park managers at Muir Woods are committed to protecting that spectacular visitor experience and keeping the forest green and vibrant for generations to come.
Beginning January 16, 2018, visitors will need a reservation to park at or ride the shuttle to the forest. They can be assured that once there, they’ll witness a healthy redwood forest. Muir Woods was the first place in the National Park System to recognize “quiet” as a natural feature worth protecting, and as a result, its lovely Cathedral Grove was designated as a quiet zone — a place for visitors and wildlife to intermix, peacefully. Endangered species including coho salmon and northern spotted owls call Muir Woods home, and the new reservation system will prevent visitor overcrowding and help sustain the habitat these imperiled species need to survive.
In addition, enhanced public transportation through shuttle service to Muir Woods and reduced private car parking will lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the impact of pollution on redwood forest flora and fauna. Recent research at Muir Woods showed that pollution-sensitive lichen species were only found in parts of the forest furthest away from the Muir Woods parking lots. With fewer cars coming to the forest in future years, my hope is that we see these important indicator species established across the Monument as air quality improves.