Eel River Canyon

Eel River Canyon

Eel River Canyon

Eel River Canyon

Eel River Canyon

The Eel River Canyon, part of the Eel River watershed in the northern coastal region of California, is home to several Indigenous communities, provides diverse recreational opportunities, and safeguards many threatened and endangered species. Protecting and restoring the Eel River Canyon and enhancing public access to nature in this region will help ensure the river continues to provide vital habitats, sustain cultural and recreational values, and make this key watershed more resilient to climate change.

Protection Status

For over 15 years, The Wildlands Conservancy has worked with local partners and public and private funders to acquire private lands along the Eel River. Over the next year, The Wildlands Conservancy, in partnership with local Tribes, will work to establish the Eel River Canyon Preserve as a nature preserve that protects the Eel’s forests, and fosters access to the area for hiking, biking, camping and swimming.

Protection Status

For over 15 years, The Wildlands Conservancy has worked with local partners and public and private funders to acquire private lands along the Eel River. Over the next year, The Wildlands Conservancy, in partnership with local Tribes, will work to establish the Eel River Canyon Preserve as a nature preserve that protects the Eel’s forests, and fosters access to the area for hiking, biking, camping and swimming.

Explore the Eel

Check out the beauty of Eel River Canyon from a bird’s eye view.

“Grand Canyon of the Eel” by Friends of the Eel and The Wildlands Conservancy

BIODIVERSITY

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The diverse forests of Eel River Canyon include buckeye, big leaf maple, ponderosa pine, Pacific yew, Oregon white oak, Douglas fir, and madrone, which sequester carbon dioxide and are habitat for wildlife like the Pacific Fisher and ringtail cat. The river also provides habitat for steelhead trout and salmon, and the eel-like Pacific Lamprey—one of the world’s oldest fish species–to which the river owes its name.

Protecting the Eel River Canyon would help restore the ecological health of the region to better protect wetlands and heal logged forests that are home to endangered wildlife.

CLIMATE RESILIENCE

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The Eel River Canyon is a critical wildlife corridor, linking landscapes for animals in the region. Protecting the canyon through ecological restoration and healthy forest management will increase species resilience and protect water resources under a changing climate.

ACCESS

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Preservation projects for the Eel River aim to improve community access to the river and surrounding lands. The Eel River Canyon is a key piece of the Great Redwood Trail, a project that will convert hundreds of miles of long-defunct railroad, part of which travels through the Eel River Canyon, into a 320-mile trail connecting California’s San Francisco and Humboldt Bays—one of the longest rail to trail routes in the country. The Great Redwood Trail will expand general public access to recreational opportunities in the area, taking hikers, cyclists and horseback riders on a scenic path through the area’s redwood forests.


Tribal Acknowledgement

Eel River Canyon is the ancestral homeland of the Round Valley Tribes and Eel River Athapaskan Tribes, which included the Lassik, Nongati, Northern Yukian, Sinkyone and Wailaki peoples. Today, some members of the Wailaki people are members of the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, who, along with the Round Valley Tribes, continue to advocate for the area’s protection and restoration through Tribal stewardship.


Alicia Hamman

The Eel is a river of opportunity. Forests grow on fish, so restoring wild fish runs to the entire watershed is a win for both public lands and waters.”

Alicia Hamman

Executive Director, Friends of the Eel River

Resources

NEWS

‘A spectacular landscape’ — California ranch of late finance giant Dean Witter to become park

SF Chronicle
HELP TODAY

Volunteer with Friends of Eel River

Visit here
Luke Farmer

The Eel River Canyon is among the most spectacular and rarely visited landscapes in California. Protecting this region is imperative, not only for the great diversity of species that thrive here, but also for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Luke Farmer

Eel River Canyon Regional Director at The Wildlands Conservancy

DID YOU KNOW?

The Eel River changes color throughout the year. With the first fall rains, autumn leaves and sediment runoff turn the river a dark, cloudy brown. Then, in winter, when the sediment flows out of the river, its water turns a clear, brilliant blue.

Eel River Canyon
Pine cone

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