Serpentines of the Salmon Creek-Mattole River Divide

Original Publication DATE: 1/19/2013

On the divide between the South Fork of the Eel River and Mattole River exists a place I had repeatedly mapped while creating the images for for Conifer Country. I knew there was a small patch of serpentine in this isolated location because of the occurrence of two tree species that are uncommmon on the North Coast outside of the Klamath Mountains proper. In the past I had asked regional ecologists about this location and the common response was “its is somewhere out near the Mattole River.” I knew that already, but how could I find the exact location?

The mystery was solved when Kyle and Dana Keegan, offered a “visit to the Salmon Creek watershed which is a tributary of the South Fork Eel. We have an especially unique diversity of plants and trees here due to a complex melange of geologic features with what we believe to be the largest, most westerly stand of Jeffrey Pine in the state, as well as vast stands of Incense Cedar. Kinda like an isolated westerly chunk of the Klamath Siskiyous–with it comes a whole host of serpentine endemics.”

Yes please…

Kyle and Dana Keegan looking across the headwaters of the Mattole River.

The destination, circled in red on three maps–(L) serpentine (M) incense-cedar (R) Jeffrey pine (click for a larger view)
Looking west  through the western-most Jeffrey pine forest in Humboldt County toward the Mattole River and Kings Peak.
A small forest of Jeffrey pine and incense-cedar near the headwaters of the Mattole River.
A small forest of Jeffrey pine and incense-cedar near the headwaters of the Mattole River.

Dana and Kyle offer a yearly tour through Sanctuary Forest that focuses on land stewardship, ecology, restoration, and permaculture design. Watch for news in the spring.

DATE: 1/20/2013 8:40:03 AM
Couple corrections: from that site you’d be looking west towards the Mattole and King Range, not east. And you’d be looking east to South Fork Mt., not west. Also, that’s not really the headwaters of the Mattole River, it’s the headwaters to some mid-river tributaries. But it is definitely a beautiful site, and unique to the area.
DATE: 1/22/2013 3:46:15 AM
Cam is correct. The area where we were standing and looking west was in between the headwaters of two major forks of Mattole Canyon Creek, which is a tributary to the Mattole; not the headwaters of the Mattole.