Book Review by Mario D. Vaden
Update 2015: I added a group of pages on legendary explorers of the coast redwood forest including Steve Sillett, Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins. I am also adding Gerald Beranek, whose background predates those others, and he was was among the first to ascend into old growth redwood canopy. Beranek is all included in The Wild Trees book review
2014 to 2015, Gerald Beranek (Beranek Publications, Ft. Bragg, CA) published and released two more excellent books, Humboldt Redwoods Avenue of the Giants and Navarro Redwoods From the Ashes of Clear-Cut Logging.
Coast Redwood, Tree of Dreams and Fortune by G. F. Beranek, First Edition was released 2013. The hardback copy has 281 numbered pages and is one of the most photographically loaded books out there. Here is a photo of the cover ... scroll past it for more.
Note: I heard the Humboldt Redwoods visitor center near Avenue of the Giants will stock this book. Other northern visitor centers apparently chose not to carry it, possibly due one chapter that ruffled a few feathers.
Flipping through all 281 pages I racked-up only 23 pages worth of white page area. That means 90% of the book is photographs. Beranek carefully selected some of the giant full page photos to overlay text preserving the aesthetic beauty of the redwood photos while supplying narrative information. Shortly after receiving a copy, I visited Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park showing the book to several people in the area who know the redwood parks. They thought the book was outstanding and found answers to questions.
Coast Redwood Tree of Dreams and Fortune is divided into at least 8 sections ...
ENVIRONMENT AND REPRODUCTION
GENETIC, ADAPTIVE AND PHYSIOLOGICAL TRAITS
SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS
As you flip open the cover, a photo of author Gerald Beranek climbing up a huge Coast Redwood should be the first clue the book is going to get interesting somewhere.
Gerald, or "Big Jerry" (there is a "Little Jerry") used to specialize in felling giant redwoods. His other book The Fundamentals of Tree Work is widely known among arborist and tree climbers. I understand that even Dr. Steve Sillett, the well-known canopy scientist had a copy in his own collection.
Some of the climbing background and related photos show up more in the section on Recreational Climbing. But the Lion's share of this book is beautiful giant Coast Redwoods, old growth parks, native plants and interesting sights of the Redwood Coast.
Pages 1, 2 and 3 open up with three full pages of bronze plaques that Beranek photographed over the years. Pages 4 and 5 start out with Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, where several of the largest known Coast Redwoods were discovered. And the content moves right on into page after page of colorful images of the tallest forest area on Earth.
Image: Gerald Beranek was avid with a camera through his lifetime, enjoying and capturing beauty of redwood forests. See atreestory.com. Although his earlier old-growth climbs were not scientific, the 1970s and 1980s climbs are a historic piece of northern California culture and history.
As you move through the meat and potatoes of the book, nearing the end, content remains interesting and may even get a bit spicy as you enter the recreational climber part ... which is no less recreational for reading.
There is so much content photographically to this book, I paced myself and spread it over weeks.
Presently, the book has been available through Bailey's, a supplier of Arborist equipment. And I'm sure it will be available elsewhere too. Rather than add links to suppliers, I will just leave that one link here to Bailey's Online and let you search elswhere online for this title and author. It should be an easy search. The prices will probably range in the $39 to $49 ballpark.