Jackass Creek, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

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Jackass Creek is located in Mendocino County, 14 air miles (22.5 km) southeast of Shelter Cove, 15 miles (24 km) south-southwest of Garberville, and 18 miles (30 km) north-northwest of Westport, California. 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 elimination of coho salmon from the creek. 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.

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 twentieth 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 acquisition of the property in 1975.

The Sinkyone Wilderness State Park now 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 (3157 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 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 here:


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