Help a Legendary Photographer Complete His Dream

by Ally Gran and Ted Humphrey

Dave Van de Mark is a living legend at Redwood National & State Parks. He arrived in Northern California in 1963 as acres and acres of old-growth redwood forest, the tallest trees in the world, were falling to the axe and chainsaw.  He immediately recognized the importance and beauty of the forest and dedicated his life to their protection.  Between 1965 and 1978, he trespassed on private timber land, chartered airplanes to fly over clear cuts, slept on streambanks, and walked over a thousand miles to capture over 5,000 photographs.  These photos of forest destruction were sent all over the country and world, raising awareness that the old-growth redwood forest was rapidly disappearing.  From TVs and newspapers to the state and national governments, Dave Van de Mark’s photos ignited a revolution leading to the establishment of Redwood National Park. 

Dave Van de Mark in his element. Dave’s dedication to photography and conservation helped save what is now Redwood National Park from destructive logging. Photo by Ally Gran.

Without his dedication to photography and conservation, our favorite places at Redwood National and State Parks might not exist.  Dave has committed his life to the redwoods, but conservation doesn’t pay.  Almost 50 years after Dave helped protect a national park, he wants to complete his life’s work by photographing places he visited 50 years ago. However, he is struggling to find the resources to make it happen. Now it is time for us to give back and thank Dave for his conservation and protection of the redwood forest. It is time for us to help him complete his life’s work. 

This project is a one-in-a-lifetime chance to show, through the eyes of the photographer that helped protect it, what 50 years of conservation can do at Redwood National and State Parks.

Between 1965 and 1978, Dave trespassed on private timber land, chartered airplanes to fly over clear cuts, slept on stream banks, and walked over a thousand miles to capture over 5,000 photographs. His work was vital in bringing old-growth logging into the public consciousness. Photo by Ally Gran.

Dave’s Lifelong Project

At 78 years old, the next couple years remain his best opportunity to extensively take to the field again. These new photos, when compared to his originals from over a half century ago, will show the drastic physical & biological changes within the park. An excellent photographer with an inspiring memory, Dave will go back to his original photograph locations to document the positive changes from conservation. These new photos will not only show the beauty of this area but its healing after destructive clearcutting in the 60s and 70s. This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate what 50 years of restoration and preservation has done to a devastated ecosystem.

To support this project, visit Dave’s gofundme page