Jackass Creek, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

Jackass Creek, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

by | Aug 19, 2022

Jackass Creek starts from an elevation of about 1,400 feet (427 m) on the western flank of Jackass Ridge and flows generally west for 2.5 miles (4 km) to the Pacific Ocean draining a watershed of about 3,458 acres (1,400 ha), about 18 miles (30 km) north-northwest of Westport and 14 miles (22.5 km) southeast of Shelter Cove, California. The upper reaches of the watershed are owned by the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, and the lower parts of both the mainstem and north fork of Jackass Creek are in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. The abandoned town of Wheeler is 0.5 miles (0.9 km) upstream from the mouth of Jackass Creek. Historical land use in the watershed included logging accompanied by road building, which likely contributed to the demise of coho salmon in the creek. 

Prior to 1890, logging along the California north coast was accomplished with simple hand tools and therefore was a slow process, and production was generally limited to areas where the local topography allowed transport via waterways and ox teams. Jackass Creek is so remote that it is unlikely any logging occurred here until the early 20th century when lumber companies began to consolidate. In 1949, Wolf Creek Timber Company bought the land from Weyerhaeuser and built the town of Wheeler to support logging operations from 1948 to 1959. Wheeler was destroyed in a freak storm in 1960 and was never rebuilt. Georgia Pacific bought the property in 1973 and used cable yarding to extract trees from the rugged terrain. Sinkyone Wilderness State Park began the acquisition of the property in 1975.

The Sinkyone Wilderness State Park extends for approximately 19 miles (31 km) along the coastline. The area takes its name from the native Sinkyone tribe. The wilderness area borders the Pacific Ocean to the west and the King Range National Conservation Area to the north. The lack of major road and highway access has led to the Sinkyone Wilderness area being referred to as the Lost Coast. The park covers approximately 7,800 acres (3,157 ha) and is characterized by steep slopes that are heavily wooded with Douglas fir forest on the west side and tanbark oak woodland on the inland side. The park also contains several groves of old-growth coastal redwoods. Sandy beaches and steep rocky headlands form the western Pacific Ocean boundary. Recreational opportunities within the Park include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, limited mountain biking, camping, and beachcombing. Read more here and here. Explore more of Jackass Creek and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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