After his first and only visit to America in 1886, renowned scientist and Englishman Alfred Russel Wallace wrote this about Calaveras Big Trees. “Of all the natural wonders I saw in America, nothing impressed me so much as these glorious trees.”
In 1891, decades before our grove of giant sequoias finally became a state park, Wallace wrote again about the big trees saying that, “neither the thundering waters of Niagara, nor the sublime precipices and cascades of Yosemite, nor the vast expanse of prairies, nor the exquisite delight of the alpine flora of the Rocky Mountains – none of these seem to me so unique in their grandeur, so impressive in their display of the organic forces of nature, as the… magnificent ‘big trees’ of California. Unfortunately, these are within the power of man to totally destroy, as they have been already partially destroyed. Let us hope that the progress of true education will so develop the love and admiration of nature, that the possession of these altogether unequalled trees will be looked upon as a trust for all future generations, and that care will be taken, before it is too late, to preserve not only one or two small patches, but some more extensive tracts of forest, in which they may continue to flourish, in their fullest perfection and beauty, for thousands of years to come.”
Thank you Salvatore John Manna for today’s wonderful seminar on Alfred Russel Wallace and for sharing these quotes and lots more information from your book, “Glorious Trees: Alfred Russel Wallace in California.” The book is available in the Calaveras Big Trees Visitor Center.