|About the Site|
|Redwood National Park|
One feature of the northern California coast which is very much a part of the redwood story is fog. A visit to the park in the summer will almost certainly provide varying amounts of fog along the coastline on many days.
Some visitors may be frustrated by fog which obscures some of the beautiful views along the coast. But the views which feature mist and fog can provide a different kind of beauty.
The Kuchel Visitor Center and the hills to the north are seen with fog and low lying clouds from the beach area at the sound boundary of the park.
Mist and fog play an important role in the life cycle of the redwood tree. The cooling and dampening effects of fog, reducing temperature and increasing humidity, are helpful, but not essential. Fog flows in shore, when the inland temperature is high. The picture below shows the fog and mist laying lying over the Redwood Creek basin.
Water droplets in the fog precipitate onto the needles of the tree, and some is absorbed. The rest drips to the ground, which provides an important source of moisture in the redwood forest during the summer dry season. Fog provides 25 to 40% of the total water for the redwood forest ecosystem.
The redwood tree has a number of characteristics which allow it to be good at intercepting the fog as it passes through the forest. The trees are tall with downward sweeping branches. They have layers of 1/2 to 1/4 inch long leaves, or needles.
The redwood forest derive a number of benefits from the fog which is plentiful in its habitat. However, fog is not essential for the survival of the species.
One of the major effects of the coastal fog is moderating the summer temperatures. Even midsummer days seem pretty cool when the area is blanketed by a covering of fog.
One common sight is fog covering the tops of the hills which lie above the ocean in the western section of the park. Below the fog covers the Klamath Overlook above the mouth of the Klamath River.
A herd of elk relaxes in Elk Meadow as wisps of fog drift above the animals.
In the picture below, fog covers the hills north of the beach next to the Kuchel Visitor Center.
Clouds and fog lays above the forest next to Elk Meadow in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
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