By: Jasmyn Pearl
Since becoming a conservation area in 1970, King Range National Conservation Area has become an attraction of many to the state of California. Nicknamed “the lost coast” many bikers and hikers looking for a challenge visit the 68,000 acre wilderness to hike parts of the 80 mile trail. Being surrounded in beautiful isolation allows for frequent whale spotting and intimacy with aspects of nature that cannot be found in other parts of the country. This vast space has a lot to offer.
Basic research on travel to the King Range National Conservation Area shows that many visitors enjoy being away from highways and crowded parking lots. Some nights the Milky Way can be seen, providing some sort of comfort after hiking the rough trails. Cultural ecosystem services such as this are proven to have positive effects on one’s emotional and physical health. Days nor even hours are required here to reap health benefits like more energy and a stronger immune system (California ReLeaf 2014) (The Health Benefits of Parks 2015). King Range National Conservation Area provides cultural ecosystem services throughout the entire space, from the ridge top to the black sand beaches.
The trees that sit up on the ridges provide a regulating service that allow the sandy beaches to exist but sometimes allow for mud slides. In 1973 King Mountain Range averaged 60 inches of rain per year which caused extreme erosion. The act stating that this land would become a conservation focuses on allowing nature to take back over in places people had damaged the grounds to prevent further extreme erosion. (Morgan, Cannon, 2014). The allowance of vegetation to grow without human hindrances regulates the soil’s ability to move freely and prevents flooding of streams.
While many people visit King Range National Conservation Area for the cultural ecosystem service they may fail to realize the other ecosystem services that they are viewing first hand, even the regulating services that allow them to be there in the first place.
Become a CaliforniaReLeaf.org Member. (2014). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://californiareleaf.org/whytrees/
How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. (2014, June 25). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing
Morgan, A., & Cannon, D. (2004, January 9). King Range National Conservation Area Case Study. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://scholar.law.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=books_reports_studies
Recreation Opportunities. (2015, October 2). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/nlcs/King_Range_NCA/recreation.html
The Health Benefits of Parks. (2015). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://www.tpl.org/health-benefits-parks