April 21, 2014

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration Water System Improvements Project

Armstrong Woods flora ~ Darris B. Nelson

We have until May 2, 2014, to send our comments about this project to Patricia DuMont, Environmental Coordinator for State Parks. If you care at all about this park I urge you to read the project proposal and respond. In my opinion, this project could have permanent negative consequences to the old growth redwoods within Armstrong Woods. Below is a link to an article in the Sonoma County Gazette by Linda Lucey that outlines the proposal:

Sonoma County Gazette article regarding the Armstrong Woods proposed water improvement project.

Below is my letter sent to Patricia DuMont addressing my concerns. I've included two email addresses where you can send your letters. Keep in mind your letter does not have to be lengthy it can be a short comment of concern. Thank you so much for taking the time to move on something you care about. YOU DO make a difference! 

 'The Touch' by John Cushman ~ Armstrong Redwoods SNR

April 21, 2014

Patricia DuMont, Environmental Coordinator                           

DPR - Northern Service Center

One Capitol Mall, Suite 410

Sacramento, CA 95814



RE: Armstrong Redwoods SNR: MND Water System Improvement Project

Dear Ms. DuMont,

Thank you for the extended time in which to comment on the proposed Armstrong Water System project.

As the wife of a Certified Arborist (35 years in Sonoma County), I have grave concerns about the impact this project will have on the redwoods within the park.  While I understand that the existing water system is in dire straits and must be addressed to meet health and safety standards, I believe the health of the trees must be the first consideration before moving ahead with this project.

For 21 years I owned a 5 1/2 acre property with hundreds of redwoods, oaks, bays and fir trees.  Although we carefully chose our homesite to lessen the impact our footprint would have on the surrounding area, the careful digging and narrow trenches for water, waste and power had dire consequences on the trees even 100 feet from the building site.

It’s evident by the top die off of the redwoods in Armstrong Woods that the trees are stressed by drought conditions.  In 21 years of living in a forest I witnessed what drought conditions could do to thriving trees. Old growth trees can withstand years of drought but add to that the stress of current high rates of acidic conditions then damage their root systems from trenching, fill their canopies with toxic fumes, fuel and oil from heavy equipment, chemical drilling compounds, and the soil compaction this equipment will create, and it’s a very real possibility these ancient trees will succumb. 

During construction our home building site was a wildlife ‘dead zone’. The birds and other typically abundant wildlife left the area. What consideration has been given to the nesting birds and other wildlife that will be dislocated during this proposed project?

Our family have been regular visitors of the park for over 50 years. As farmers and arborists we’ve always noticed and appreciated the vibrant health of the magnificent redwoods within Armstrong Woods. During a recent visit with 70 other members of a Sonoma County photography group, I watched and listened to hundreds of visitors from around the world marvel at the site of our majestic old growth redwoods. First and foremost we have a responsibility to care for these trees and the wildlife that exists within them. I urge State Parks to consider all possibilities before moving ahead with any plan that could ultimately destroy the very trees that draw people to the park in the first place.

I understand this is a difficult dilemma for State Parks and I appreciate you taking the time to consider all comments and questions about this project.

Darris B. Nelson

Armstrong woods ~ Darris B. Nelson


  1. Walking among those redwoods, you just feel so small. (I know, how deep, right?) But it just does remind me that there is some higher power out there, working to make things beautiful like they are.

  2. There is good solid science to back up your thoughts and feelings about walking in the woods Terri : )

    Thanks for your comment!


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!