Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

A group of redwood trees that fell and clogged Howland Hill Road last week have been cleared faster than expected and the road is open.

Redwood National and State Parks Superintendent Brett Silver originally estimated that it would take until about March 11 to get a crew in to clear the large trees. Silver said Tuesday the trees has been cleared using a large excavator.

The roadway was fully blocked by a dense mix of shattered redwood, loose branches and wet soil 7 feet deep and about 30 feet across.

Silver said a Roads and Trails crew worked on the area for about a day and a half, and was able to push the debris to one side to reopen the road.

Although redwood debris remains, one cannot legally collect or transport it out of a state park.

“It’s highly visited and highly protected,” Silver said. “You can’t just help yourself to it.”

He explained when a tree blocks a roadway inside state park land, only the part blocking the roadway is removed. Sometimes the removed wood is used for signage in other state park facilities, and may also be used for cultural purposes. In some cases, it may be used in stream restoration and along bridges and trails, he said.

“We never go in and harvest or cut down trees,” Silver said.

It’s not known what brought the trees down last Wednesday, as winds were reportedly calm.