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Coastal Voices: Why the bird festival is over

The time has come for the California Redwoods Bird and Nature Festival, formerly the Aleutian Goose Festival, to say goodbye.

We faced unexpected challenges this year that led to this hard decision:

We lost our festival organizer due to medical issues and a couple of major sponsors had to withdraw their support. The festival has always depended on local donations as well as the revenue generated by registrant fees.

Registration had declined with the global economic downturn, which has impacted many other small town festivals causing them to die away. All of these challenges in combination proved too much.

We wish to thank all of you for the support you have given to help us create the only bird and nature festival ever held in Del Norte County. In doing so, we were able to showcase our county’s world-class natural beauty and cultural treasures — for thousands of new visitors from throughout this nation.

Travelers from distant states were lured by our menu of 70 field trips and workshops that spread over five days. In spite of rain and cold, these folks returned to the Cultural Center glowing and enthusing about their walk in old growth redwoods, their Lake Earl kayak trip or Smith River drift with professional fishing guides.

Klamath River boat trips and off shore ocean excursions were very popular. Green Diamond spotted owl trips always sold out. Yurok and Tolowa tribal heritage programs were reported as life-changing.

Our community and the festival earned the reputation among nature festival-goers of gracious hospitality and warmth. As well we always had free events for the community during the weekend, including speakers, vendors, exhibits, rehabilitated wild animals and children’s activities. 

The festival was successful for 11 years thanks to a cadre of 100-plus volunteers and trip leaders, big-hearted donors and participating local businesses, state and federal agencies, too many to name. We really appreciate each and every one of you! 

We’d especially like to recognize for their vision and years of support: City of Crescent City; Lucky 7 Casino; Crescent City/Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce; The Daily Triplicate; Redwood National & State Parks; Sutter Coast Hospital; KPOD/

KCRE Bicoastal Media; KHSU/

KHSR Public Radio; Yurok Tribe, and the Smith River Rancheria.

We’ll hold onto all our mailing lists, though. Who knows, maybe another organization with the capacity to present these types of excursions throughout the year will yet emerge. Something like the Yellowstone Institute or Yosemite Institute. Certainly the treasures of our special place merit this.

With regrets and great memories from the 2011 Festival Steering Committee.

The committee includes Susan Calla, Rick Hiser, Sandra Jerabek, Tedd Ward, John and Linda Ging, Susan Strong, Donna Thompson, Joyce Christian, Mary Beth Sampson, Craig Strong, Alan Barron, Eileen Cooper, Chris Burdg and Jeff Russell.

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