Steve Chittock

Redwood Hostel invites public to anniversary celebration Sunday

In 1909, a German schoolteacher was leading a group of students into the countryside when he had an idea. Why not have a system of simple lodging, each a day's walk from the next, where students can reconnect with nature, while escaping the rapidly industrializing cities?

Today travelers from all over the world can stay at hostels like the one here in Redwood National Park, in the old DeMartin House down at Wilson Creek. Redwood Hostel has been around for over 22 years, but in honor of the modern hostelling movement, started 100 years ago by that schoolteacher, Richard Schirrman, we are having a party.

In fact, this year we also celebrate the 75th anniversary of hostelling here in the United States. While leading a group of students in Europe, Isabel and Monroe Smith witnessed the growing system of hostels. They returned to the U.S. and opened the first American hostel in Northfield, Mass., in 1934, the same year they founded the American Youth Hostels organization.

Because we've never discriminated based on age, we've since dropped the "youth" and today are known as Hostelling International USA, an association of over 70 hostels throughout the country. HI-USA is a non-profit with the mission, "To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling."

In honor of our two anniversaries, we would like to invite the community to a celebration party and open house on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Festivities will include live music, travel-themed games, hostel tours, and the opportunity to contribute stories to Hostelling International's anniversary video archive.andensp;Pastries, crepes, lavender lemonade and non-alcoholic mimosas will be served.andensp;And it's all free.

We will also be holding several other activities throughout the week following, including a "World Travel 101" workshop at the Del Norte County Library and a night of hostel-related documentaries. For more information, visit

We'll hope to see you Sunday!

Ryan Forsythe and Kaci Elder