North Coast Journal



Return to the Lost Coast

by Judy Hodgson

WE THOUGHT READERS would enjoy comparing the photo -- looking north along the King Range on a clear day -- with this month's stunning cover photo taken by Bob Wick of the Bureau of Land Management. The photos tell a great deal of the story of the Lost Coast, its raw beauty and the tremendous forces of nature at work. (Those mountains are moving up at a pretty fast pace, in geologic times.)

This isn't the first time we've featured the King Range in the Journal. In early 1991, free-lancer Bonnie Glantz wrote about the completion of the Lost Coast Trail, a 52-mile path that created the longest continuous coastal trail in the United States. The BLM joined the California Department of Parks and Recreation to make the historic inter-park trail system a reality with a seven-day, trail-building marathon in late 1990.

Staff writer Marie Gravelle returned to the King Range in September 1992 several months after a series of major earthquakes struck the North Coast. One of the results of the quakes was the uplifting of a 15-mile stretch of coastline north of Petrolia. That major movement of earth created a fantastic outdoor laboratory for marine biologists to study for years to come, along with more frightening data about the seismic instability of this coastal region. That cover story, "Death in the tidal zone," continues to be one of our most requested Journal reprints and has been used in many Humboldt County classrooms over the years.

This month's cover story is about a celebration -- the 25th birthday party for the King Range National Conservation Area, the nation's first. This is a time to celebrate not only the awesome beauty of the King Range, but a successful quarter century of multiple-use management.

Last month in this space I asked readers to write in and tell us about people we inadvertently left out of the September cover story, "Fund-raising top guns." Several of you did and we appreciate it (See letters).

But another article in that edition provoked even more response. It was a column written by Maka MacKenna ("Heritage is as heritage does") on the hotel proposed for Woodley Island.

For readers who missed the column, MacKenna wrote a satirical piece proposing to change the seal of the City of Eureka to one with a motel on it, poking fun at the motel strip of south Broadway.

Needless to say, the letters and calls received were not as friendly in nature as those on the fund-raising story.

One reader wrote, "If I were Ted Loring, Jr. (agent for Janet and Neil Prince who are proposing the hotel), you would be talking to your lawyer right now.

"It is painfully ironic that you chose to libel him in the same issue in which you lionize the goodhearts of our community, for he is certainly one of them."

First of all, libel is an accusation of malfeasance or immorality. As Maka points out, "I think OJ did it" is an opinion protected by the 1st Amendment. "OJ is a child molester" is potentially libelous, depending, of course, on if he really is.

Second, although I may not agree with her, I thought the column was hilarious.

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