VOLCANOES AND WILDFLOWERS AND LAKES, OH MY!

In February 2020, National Park Trust assisted the National Park Service in securing property for Lassen Volcanic National Park, California.

Using the Park Trust’s newly established Treasure Forever Fund,  the National Park Service was finally able to purchase the land.  As a result, a small but important  .6 acre section of old-growth forest will now be accessible to the public and permanently protected in its natural state, preventing the land from being developed. This acquisition also helps to protect an additional segment of the historic Nobles Emigrant Trail, a western migration route pioneered by William H. Noble in the early 1850s.

Even with all of these natural wonders to explore, Lassen Volcanic National Park is still in need of more protection from climate change and private development. There are numerous privately-owned properties left in the park. National Park Trust continues to work with the National Park Service to protect and preserve these inholdings.

Located in the Southern Cascade Mountains of California, Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to shape the land. Lassen Volcanic offers opportunities to discover the wonders and mysteries of volcanoes and hydrothermal features for visitors willing to explore the undiscovered.

Established in 1916, the park protects an area that has been volcanically active for three million years. Today, hydrothermal features reveal this continuing activity. Mud pots, springs and boiling pools show how the park is bubbling away, proving a popular attraction among visitors.

The volcanic geology of Lassen provides important minerals for overlying soil. This supports an impressive diversity of plant species, with much of the vegetation being very similar to what existed before Euro-American settlement – more than 25,000 acres of the park is old-growth forest. In preserving a relatively pristine environment, the park’s vegetation provides various habitats for different species. Around 100 breeding birds call it their home, along with thousands of California Tortoise Shell butterflies. Other animals that benefit from the park’s protection include various bat species and the rare Sierra Nevada red fox.

With its varying terrain, the park boasts 150 miles of scenic hiking trails for exploring its ancient trees, crystal clear lakes, and wildflower-packed meadows. The views provided are unprecedented – shield, composite, cinder cone and plug dome volcanoes can all be spotted around the park. No matter where you are, Lassen Peak is always visible. Standing at 10,440 feet above sea level, it is the largest plug dome volcano on Earth… and also still active!

credit: James Noble