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Why should I bother?

Learning more about Gualala River:
Why should I bother?

by Shirley Brice Heath

What follows here is a series of videos that help answer this and other questions. More inquiries that easily come to mind when folks hear the name “Friends of Gualala River” may be obvious. Some ask: “So why does a river need ‘friends?’” And others ask: “And why, in particular, does Gualala River need ‘friends?’”

This series of videos will help answer such questions as well as make the point that Gualala River may well be one of the most endangered rivers in California at this time. Endangerment of the river’s health comes from long-running damages created by the cutting of redwoods along the flood plain and river banks. Only since 1975 have we had significant efforts, legal and scientific, to restrict logging along the Gualala and other rivers.

Cutting the trees opens the river to extensive sun exposure that raises the temperature of the water, which in turn, creates a dangerous environment for young salmon. Moreover, once trees along the flood plain are removed, the level of silt and gravel goes up in the river. California’s continuing annual droughts have also contributed to many processes that imperil the survival of several threatened and endangered species — most notably, those creatures include not only frogs and birds, but also coho salmon and others of the salmonid family.

Some may argue that none of these species affect the daily lives of those who live in the vicinity of the river or even fishermen. But those making this argument forget that not only do fishermen treasure the possibility of fishing in rivers that flow through redwood forests. So also do those who kayak, swim, or simply relish sitting in peace and quiet along a river bank taking in the magnificence of the surrounding towering redwood trees.

Walking along the river, playing in the river, and watching the fortunate few who can paddle their surfboards along in the river or simply maneuver their kayak offer relaxation and a sense of inner peace and restoration, to be sure. Thus, recreation, reflection, and solace will, we hope, forever remain gifts from the river in this beautiful relatively isolated coastal area.

Reasons given in the videos that follow and through all the materials of this newsletter motivate those who think of themselves as individuals and within our group as “friends of Gualala River.” We hope you join us in our efforts and think with us about what appreciation and preservation of this river as a great resource mean to so many now and into the future.


Charlie Ivor, President of Friends of Gualala River
and an ardent environmentalist and fisherman,
answers questions about the river, redwoods, and fishing:

Redwoods – History and Destruction


Why does cutting the redwoods affect the river?


Impacts of Logging, especially Clearcuts


Why Do Guys Like to Fish?