Despite its location in Ferndale, between California's Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Redwood National Forest, Russ Park is a mature Sitka Spruce forest, which is more rare than Redwoods. Sitka spruce - grand fir forest dominates much of the park, with Douglas fir on south facing slopes and red alder on ravine slopes. A few redwoods were planted about 1930. Zipporah's pond, on an upper ridge, was excavated; it usually holds water except in late summer.
History of the Park:
On October 31, 1920, Mrs. Zipporah Patrick Russ donated this 105-acre tract to the City of Ferndale. The deed states: "That the property be used forever as a park and recreation grounds... as a refuge and breeding place for birds."
The park was originally fully wooded with Sitka Spruce and Grand Fir, much as it is today. These two dominant trees would have been interspersed with scattered Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, and Redwood, which was never a dominant species in the park.
The hillside was evidently cleared in the mid-1850s and used for cattle or sheep grazing. No structural remains have been found in the park, except for scattered fences materials and the remains of a dump south of the Eucalyptus grove. The large Sitka Spruce immediately up from the main parking lot was cored in 1989 by a biologist from Redwood National Park and was documented to date from the early 1870s.
By the time Zipporah Russ donated the land to the City, the trees were well on their way to creating a closed-canopy forest once again.
Russ Park Trail System:
There are four trails through the park:
Lytel Ridge - Eucalyptus Trail 1.5 miles 1 hour 350 ft.
Francis Creek - Daddy Bush Trail 1 mile 45 mins. 450 ft.
Village Trail to Zipporah's Pond 1 mile 35 mins. 500 ft.
Skunk Cabbage Exit Trail 1/5 mile 10 mins. 100ft.
Directions: Russ Park can be reached by turning left at the south end of Main Street onto Ocean Street and traveling 3/4 mile to the gravel parking area on the right. Russ Park is located on Bluff Street, three blocks east of Main Street. It is open from sunrise to sunset. There are no facilities in the park. You may pick up a guide to Russ Park from many of the local merchants. See Map Link at top of page.