Jug Handle

State Natural Reserve - California

Jug Handle State Natural Reserve preserves a series of marine terraces each exhibiting a different stage of ecological succession. It is located on California State Route 1 north of the village of Caspar, 5 miles (8.0 km) equidistant between the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg.
https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=441 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jug_Handle_State_Natural_Reserve Jug Handle State Natural Reserve preserves a series of marine terraces each exhibiting a different stage of ecological succession. It is located on California State Route 1 north of the village of Caspar, 5 miles (8.0 km) equidistant between the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg.
Our Mission Jug Handle State Natural Reserve The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. High bluffs overlook dramatic, secluded coves and pristine beaches, while towering redwoods beckon trailgoers to California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park office at (707) 937-5804. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov SaveTheRedwoods.org/csp Jug Handle State Natural Reserve Adjacent to Hwy. 1, one mile north of Caspar Caspar, CA 95420 (707) 937-5804 © 2017 California State Parks the sanctuary of the deep forest. A mile north of Caspar along the rugged Mendocino Coast, Jug Handle State Natural Reserve beckons visitors with spectacular ocean views, the solitude of peaceful forests, and a two-and-a-half mile nature trail that explores three of five ancient wave-cut marine terraces. Majestic redwoods mingle with a unique pygmy forest that attracts worldwide visitors. The park enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with winter rainfall and spring and summer fog that usually burns off by mid-morning. Summer temperatures are in the low 60s and winters range from the 40s to the mid-50s. park history Early Inhabitants Archaeological evidence shows that the Mitom Pomo date back about 3,000 years on the North Coast. Although the main Mitom villages were located in interior Mendocino County near Willits, the Mitom made periodic visits to the coast to gather food. They hunted large and small game, caught fish and shellfish, and gathered seaweed and various seeds. The Mitom lifestyle changed drastically with the influx of American settlers in the early 1850s. Logging camps displaced villages at the mouths of rivers and streams, and the Mitom lost their land — and often their lives — to settlers’ violence and fatal epidemics. Some Mitom Pomo found work as farm and lumber workers, escaping the fate of most North Coast Native Americans, who were forced onto the Mendocino Indian Reservation. The Lure of Lumber Camp I at Caspar Lumber Co. In 1850 the San Francisco-bound brig Frolic sank off Point Cabrillo. Although salvagers were unable to recover the valuable cargo, they noticed luxuriant stands of redwood nearby and discovered a new treasure for the taking — redwood lumber. Two years later, a sawmill was built near the mouth of Big River off Mendocino Bay. Men arrived to fell the trees and work in the mill, wives and families soon followed, and the influx of American loggers to Mendocino began. William H. Kelley and William T. Rundle bought 5,000 acres of forest land in the Caspar Creek basin in 1860 and founded the Caspar Lumber Company. They built a second sawmill at the mouth of Caspar Creek. Jacob Green Jackson was taken on as a partner; by 1864, he had taken over the lumber company. Jackson bought more timberland along Jug Handle Creek. Under his leadership, Caspar Lumber Company became one of the most successful logging enterprises on the Mendocino coast. As the demand for lumber increased, Jackson bought his first schooner to transport lumber from the mill to the San Francisco Bay area. He built a mule-and-horse-powered tramway between the mill at Caspar and Jug Handle Creeks in 1874. The tramway was later converted into a standard-gauge railroad that became the Caspar Creek Railroad (later the Caspar and Hare Railroad). A 160-foot-high wooden trestle was built over Jug Handle Creek in 1884. Redwood logging continued in the area through the 1880s, but Jug Handle Creek was logged off by 1890 — leaving an eroded, environmentally devastated landscape. The Caspar Lumber Company bought more than 6,000 acres of new timberland along the South Fork of the Noyo River in 1901 - 1902. The railway trestle collapsed in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, but it was soon rebuilt and remained in operation until 1945. The trestle was dismantled after the railroad was abandoned in favor of truck transport. The State of California bought nearly 50,000 acres of forested land from the Caspar Lumber Company in 1947. This land became the Jackson Demonstration State Forest, a “working” forest — using more environmentally friendly harvesting practices during lumber production and renewing the forest by planting seeds or young trees. The Jackson Demonstration State Forest, adjacent to Jug Handle, provides public recreation opportunities, fish and wildlife habitat, and watershed protection. Self-paced trail guides inform visitors about the ecology, history, and managemen
Pygmy Cypress preventing erosion and runoff. In the arctic this species is important browse for mammals. Reindeer Lichen abundantly in the Pygmy Forest but ranges as far south as San Francisco on poor soils. It has small round dark green leaves and red peeling bark. Pink urn shaped flowers produce small apple-like fruit in the fall. 38. Notice the difference between this rhododendron in the Pygmy Forest and the one you looked at in the Redwood Forest. This plant, when growing in the Pygmy Forest, has very small curled leaves and a height of about 3 feet; in the better soils of the redwood forest it can grow to about 20 feet with broad, flat, much larger leaves. 39. Reindeer Lichen, Cladonia portentosa ssp. pacifica. This species of lichen is rare in our area except in the Pygmy Forest. When well developed and untrammeled it forms dense soil mats several feet across and approximately 4 inches tall. Soil lichens play an important role in the ecosystem by Ecological Staircase A Self-guided Nature Trail 40. Across Fort Bragg Manzanita 37. This low growing manzanita grows most the Cladonia portentosa ssp .pacifica Canada. Its clustered leaves resemble its near relative the azalea. The head of small flowers can be seen in late summer. The leaves are toxic to livestock and humans. Arctostaphylos nummularia Jug Handle State Natural Reserve the gully you can see where the water has cut away the soil leaving the horizons visible. The top dark organic layer is very thin, under that is the deeper light colored leached area. This horizon is named “podzol” from the Russian word for ash, referring to the ash colored layer. It is light colored from hundreds of thousands of years of rainfall leaching the minerals down though the soil. Below the podzol layer and about 18” from the surface of the soil lies the iron hardpan. This is composed of tiny iron concreted rock-like particles that inhibit root growth. A clay horizon makes up the lowest horizon beneath the iron hardpan. You have reached the end of the trail, follow the arrows until you come back to the gravel path. Proceed back down the same trail to the Jughandle parking lot. c Text by Teresa Sholars c Illustrations by Erica Fielder First printed by the State of California in 1998. For more information about the Pygmy Forest contact the Mendocino Sector Headquarters at (707) 937-5804, or come by the office on Hwy 1, across from the entrance to Russian Gulch State Park, Monday-Friday, 8:00- 4:30. Welcome to Jug Handle State Natural Reserve. You are standing on one of the most interesting geological areas in the northern hemisphere. Here, time, geological forces and climate have all interacted to form a staircase of distinct plant communities and associated soils, culminating in the unique Pygmy Forest. The numbers in this brochure correspond to numbered posts that you will find along the trail. The trail is about 2.5 miles long and returns along the same route (round trip 5+ miles), and takes approximately 3 hours to complete. (See map inside pages.) There is no drinking water along the trail. This brochure, new interpretive panels, and many improvements along the Ecological Staircase Trail were made possible through a generous grant to the California State Park System from a group of anonymous donors in 1995. A Pygmy Forest at Van Damme State Park (3 miles south of Mendocino) is accessible by auto. The Pygmy Forest portion of that trail is also accessible to wheelchair visitors. Posts #1 - #7 can be walked as a short headlands loop trail. 1. Along this portion of the Mendocino Coast the land has been uplifted into a series of flat terraces. In most locations along the California coast the land was raised and tilted by geologic forces forming what we know as the Coast Ranges. Each terrace is approximately 100,000 years older than the lower terrace. Here at Jughandle all 5 terraces form what is known as the Ecological Staircase. Here on the first terrace, known locally as the headlands, three plant communities exist; the North Coast Bluff Scrub, the Coastal Prairie and the Bishop or Closed-Cone Pine Forest. This entire terrace was formed at the same time; the three vegetation types reflect differences in the physical environment. 2. You are standing on the first terrace, formed underneath the sea and uplifted by tectonic forces. Look out at the Coastal Prairie dominated by grasses, wildflowers and blackberries. Most of the common grasses that dominate this prairie are introduced species like sweet vernal grass and velvet grass. These non-native grasses have dominated the landscape due to past history of plowing and grazing livestock by early settlers. The fibrous roots of grasses have created a rich soil by adding humus through the annual cycle of root growth and death. During the spring and summer months colorful displays of native wildflowers dot the landscape. Among the most common species are: the orange and yellow California poppies, pink se

also available

National Parks
USFS NW