KLAMATH, Calif. – For those visiting the Redwoods, there’s the voice of Dr. Seuss' Lorax that seems to ring true for those who enjoy trees that everyone needs.
Spring Breakers are already starting to fill roadways in and around the mighty Redwood National and State parks here in Klamath, and all along the coast of northern California. One park ranger told Huliq during a March 25 interview, for example, that “The Lorax movie has done a lot to get families with younger children out and about exploring the Redwoods, and that’s a good thing because we all need the wonder of these trees.” At the same time, it was back in the early days of the U.S. environmental movement that famed children’s author Theodore Geisel – known worldwide as “Dr. Seuss” – wrote a simple book about saving the Redwoods and other trees. In turn, that 1971 book is now a popular family film called “Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax,” that opened nationwide earlier this month. In both the book and film, The Lorax delivers the evergreen message: “Trees, that every one needs.”
Lorax and others speak for trees
Visitors to the Redwoods here in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties in northern California are pleasantly surprised that the famed “Redwood National Park” – that was established in 1968 – is still "free" and standing tall, with all four Redwood parks “protecting 45 percent of all remaining Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) old-growth forest, totaling almost 39,000 acres,” states an RNSP fact sheet.
In addition to protecting what’s been dubbed as “the tallest and most massive tree species on Earth,” the Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) preserve other indigenous flora, fauna, grassland prairie, cultural resources, portions of rivers and other streams and “37 miles of breathtaking pristine coastline.”
At the same time, RNSP fact sheets point to late March and April as “prime time to visit and enjoy the mighty Sequoias,” while park rangers note that “with this economy, we’re seeing more people enjoying this free access to the parks; especially during the Spring Break period.”
Dr. Seuss popular out in the Redwoods
Because of one California’s great natural resources is trees, and Dr. Seuss promoted trees and the need to protect natural resources; it was back on May 28, 2008, that then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that Dr. Seuss creator, Theodore Geisel, would be inducted into the “California Hall of Fame,” located at The California Museum for History, Women and Arts.
In turn, visitors here in Klamath, California, at the “Trees of Mystery” Redwood park will note a recent hand-man sign by a local elementary school group that’s influenced by this classic Dr. Seuss book and now movie about “The Lorax.”
The kid’s sign reads: “As Dr. Seuss taught us, it’s not Thneeds, but trees, that every one needs… we believe that speak for the trees.”
For example, visitors to Klamath’s “The End of the Trail Museum,” will see pre-Dr. Seuss artifacts that showcase a Coho clan (L’ooknax adi) welcoming the Raven of the Roof Hat (Gaanka Yeili S’aaxw) to their ceremonies with appears to be a likeness of a Lorax type creature in a primitive rock drawing that dates back to the early 18th century.
While parents and teachers like to kid young student visitors to the museum that this ancient Native American drawing “is The Lorax,” it’s simply a metaphor for both Dr. Seuss and the natives stating that we need to protect our natural environment and, of course, the Redwoods and other trees.
Garberville promotes Redwoods and The Lorax
Ever since the Dr. Seuss Lorax tale was made into a movie, say locals here in this former logging and mill town of Garberville in Northern California, there’s been “more attention about The Lorax than local legends about Bigfoot.”
“We see The Lorax has a good thing for tourism and our environmental causes,” explained Garberville local Richard Groten who features a recent movie poster from the “Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax” movie that sits above his roadside stand selling Redwood art carvings. “It gets the kids attention, and it opens up the door on talking about how we helped save the forest for generations to come. We’re proud of the Redwoods,” Groten asserted.
Garberville sits high in the mountains at nearly 550 feet where, adds Groten, “where The Lorax would surely like to hang out.”
At the same time, Groten notes that his brother Mark works at a nearby Redwood tourist center that “markets tours” for tourists.
Likewise, there have been many new Redwood tours opening now during Spring Break in the California communities of Mt. Lessen, Mt. Shasta, Weed, Round Mountain, Elk Creek, Caribou, Happy Camp, Clear Creek, Trinity Alps, Weaverville, Crescent Mill, Mammoth Lakes, Bear Valley, Eureka, Yreka, Fort Bragg, Orick and Crescent City.
In turn, locals in all these communities have listed an increase in Spring Break tourism, and plenty of happy campers and visitors exploring the massive Redwoods that seem to block out the sky in certain deep forests.
What kids say about the Redwoods and The Lorax
Fans of the 1971 Dr. Seuss book about The Lorax may recall how “The Once-ler lives in remote isolation and spins a yarn of a paradise rich in colorful flora and adorable fauna, rushing streams and groves of furry lollipop-style Truffula trees. In his youth, eager to make something of himself, the Once-ler transformed the Truffula trees' tufted fluff into scarves called ‘Thneeds’ that became a fad. With abandon, he chopped down all the trees to fashion his products, ignoring the appeals and warnings of the Lorax. Soon all that was left was a barren wasteland.”
In turn, environmental experts think this Dr. Seuss story has a “strong ecological message,” that’s aimed at children who may answer Seuss’ essential plea: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not."
Also, visitors to these Redwood forests over Spring Break may hear the closing song from The Lorax film, titled “Let It Grow.” The song, that’s now featured over sound systems in local restaurants that cater to family visitors, explains “how once the Once-ler’s last Truffula Seed grow into a tree it could be the last Truffula tree in man’s self-destructive quest to make and sell Thneeds.”
In turn, there’s even a carved sign – made from downed Redwood trees that local Northern California artists are allowed to use for art projects – that states this famous line from the Dr. Seuss book and film: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s Not!,” stated The Lorax
Danny DeVito as the Lorax
The 1971 book that has now been made into a film, "Dr. Seuss's The Lorax” features actor Danny DeVito as the voice for “The Lorax.” National Public Radio (NPR) recently asked DeVito if playing the fuzzy orange Lorax made any “environmental” impression on him.
For instance, NPR noted how: “The Once-ler eventually describes how his own youthful greed put him into conflict with The Lorax who, as every reader of the Dr. Seuss original knows, speaks loud and clear for the trees.”
Also, the Seventh Generation company that makes environmentally friendly cleaning products for the home is now sponsoring “The Lorax speaks for the trees” contact; with the company giving away a trip for four to Redwood National Park. For more information, visit facebook.com/seventhgeneration and click The Lorax Generation tab to enter now, states a Seventh Generation marketing promotion here at a Redwood Parks location.
The promotion also features DeVito's "Lorax" movie character as the symbol for protecting America's forests; while also reminding people to visit the Redwoods of Northern California.
In turn, DeVito told NPR: “Well, I have three children. And as anyone who has children knows, Dr. Seuss is a big favorite. All of his books were present in our house and that's how I met The Lorax. It is a beautiful, beautiful - very reminiscent of the Happy Valley - beautiful trees. And The Lorax, who is the guardian of the forest, ran across, in the days of old, a fellow who was a really nice guy, the Once-ler. But he was a - and very enterprising. And he saw the colors of the trees and thought this is the most magnificent thing he's ever seen in his life. And he had an idea for a product, which is a Thneed, which is a kind of a sweatery kind of thing that people can put around their heads or around their arms, or whatever. So he set off to start manufacturing these Thneeds. The thing that he missed, the Once-ler, was the fact that if you take from the Earth you have to give back. Because in Dr. Seuss' story, the Once-ler cut down the very last tree and there was nothing left.”
DeVito, who lives in California, also points to what most environmentalists already know; that back in 1850, old-growth Redwood forest trees covered more than 2,000,000 of the California coast.
Today, it’s down to just 133,000 acres of protected Redwood forest that’s been called a “national treasure,” and free to explore; with Spring Break being a perfect time to visit these Sequoias, says The Lorax and others.
Image source of a tourist being dwarfed by the Redwood Forest near Klamath, California, on March 25. In recognition of the rare ecosystem and cultural history found in the Redwood Forest parks of Northern California, the United Nations designated them a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. Photo by Dave Masko