Lyons Ranches, CA 2021
Lyons Ranches, CA 2021

Lyons Ranches, CA 2021

Lyons Ranches, CA 2021

Photo credit: RedwoodHikes.com

Just 17 miles from Highway 101, Redwood National Park holds the historic Lyons Ranches. This ranching operation was significant for its role in connecting Indigenous peoples and Euro-American immigrants in the late 1800s. Explore the past and leave the modern world behind (just for a while) on this project!

PROJECT PARTNER:  Redwood National Park

SESSION DATES:  June 13-18, June 20-25, June 27 – July 2, July 11-16

Project Site Description & History

Redwood National Park was not always the internationally-celebrated recluse for nature lovers that we know it as today. The Lyons Ranches Historic District is comprised of lands historically managed by the Lyons family. The extended Lyons family operated ranches in the Bald Hills for 89 years and donated the land in 1959. According to the National Park Service, this district is significant because of its contributions to Humbolt County’s sheep production economy, as well as for facilitating relationships between Indigenous peoples and Euro-American immigrants in the area. According to the NPS, the Lyons Ranches district is “a rare intact example of a large-scale sheep ranch that was active from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. It retains both the natural features (such as prairie grasslands) that contributed to its suitability for sheep ranching as well as for Native American cultural events, and the key manmade features (such as roads, barns, and sheep sheds) that were essential to the sheep ranching operations.”

HistoriCorps often works on individual historic buildings – rarely do we get to work on the buildings and structures that comprise an entire historic district! At the Lyons Ranches, we will work on two barns and a sheep shed which overlook Redwood Creek and Coyote Creek valleys in the park. The Home Place Barn, constructed in 1899, is the oldest remaining structure in the historic district. As one would expect, the barn was originally constructed of old-growth redwood and fir from the properties that were hand-split and hewn. The Long Ridge Sheep Shed was built sometime before 1914 as one of the shelters to protect sheep, and hay, over winter. The Coyote Creek Barn was built in the late 1930s to shelter sheep at the edge of another large meadow. All are ready for some HistoriCorps TLC!

Learn more about the history of Lyons Ranches from the National Park Service .

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER: Redwood National Park

SESSION DATES: June 13-18, June 20-25, June 27 – July 2, July 11-16

Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm on the first day of your session.

PROJECT DIFFICULTY:

SITE INFORMATION:    Tent camping only

Tent camping only; those with truck bed campers or similar can also access this site. There are RV sites in the vicinity but volunteers will need to make their own reservations.

LOCATION:

  • Map to Campground
  • Map from Campground to Lyons Ranches 
    • Note: The last mile into our jobsite is pretty rough; 4WD/AWD is recommended but not necessary. Volunteers can opt to carpool. All will need to walk the final 200 yards into the jobsite. Please ensure your physical fitness is adequate for this daily short hike!

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, and equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

The ranch is not occupied by livestock these days but it’s easy to imagine the sounds and scenery of shepherding work here in the late 1800s.
Photo credit: RedwoodHikes.com

The dramatic Long Ridge Barn, one of the structures we’ll be stabilizing on this project.

Prepare to feel awe, and perhaps a bit small, at Redwood National Park.

Scope of Work

SCOPE OF WORK DIFFICULTY:  

HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers and youth conservation corps members (across different work sessions) will learn the traditional skills necessary to stabilize these structures in Lyons Ranches Historic District:

  • Split and hew redwood and cedar logs (20%)
  • Repair wood sill beam (20%)
  • Repair wood flooring (20%)
  • Repair vertical plank siding (20%)
  • Repair corrugated aluminum and steel roofs (20%)

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact volunteer@historicorps.org for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • Review our COVID protocols, including mask requirements, here.
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email volunteer@historicorps.org for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.