Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Dave Van de Mark photograph collection,
Date (inclusive): 1964-2006,
Date (bulk): bulk 1964-1978
Collection Number: REDW 17722
Van de Mark, Dave
Number of items: Approx. 5000 .
Linear feet: 6.
Redwood National and State Parks (Calif.)
Cultural Resources Branch
Resources Management and Science Division
South Operations Center
P.O. Box 7
121200 Highway 101 South
Orick, CA 95555
Phone: (707) 465-7761
Fax: (707) 488-6485
Abstract: The Dave Van de Mark Photograph Collection is a visual documentation of many areas
that became Redwood National Park in 1968, and many of the areas that were included in the Park Expansion in
1978. The lower Redwood Creek watershed is the focus of this collection. The pre and post logging conditions are
explicitly shown in these images. Within the collection there are some photographs of the surrounding areas in
Humboldt and Del Norte counties which put the core part of the collection in a broader geographic context. Mr.
Van de Mark's purpose was to generate support for creating the park and later, with even more determination, to
heighten public awareness for the need to expand the park. Nearly all of the photos were taken by Dave Van de
Mark. The collection provides documentation of the disturbed landscapes whose rehabilitation was authorized by
Congress in the Redwood National Park Expansion Act (PL 95-250). Additionally, there are three taped interviews
with Mr. Van de Mark; one in 1999 and two in 2006. Transcripts for the 2006 interviews are included in this
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English.
Physical Location: Redwood National and State Parks, Cultural Resources Branch, Resource Management and Science Division, South Operations Center,
121200 Highway 101 South, Orick, CA 95555
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research by appointment only. Contact the Cultural Resources Branch of the Redwood
National and State Parks.
Copyright has been assigned to the Redwood National Park of the National Park Service. All requests for permission to publish
from manuscripts must be submitted to the Cultural Resources Branch. Copyright restrictions also apply to
digital representations of the original materials.
[Identification of item], Dave Van de Mark Photograph Collection, REDW 17722, Redwood National and State
Parks, National Park Service.
Alternate Forms Available
Digital reproductions of select images are available.
Redwood National Park - Watershed Rehabilitation Collection (1977- 2003)
Redwood National Park - Rudolph Becking Collection
Humboldt State University Library - Don H. Clausen Congressional Papers
Humboldt State University Library - Humboldt County Collection, Pamphlet: "Redwood National Park" (contains
information about Citizens for A Redwood National Park and about the Emerald Creek Committee)
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley - Sierra Club Collections:
- Sierra Club lecture slides of Redwood Creek, Calif., ca. 1970-ca. 1982 (BANC PIC 1982.072--PIC)
- Environmental damage along Redwood Creek in the Redwood National Park site, California, 1967-1973
(BANC PIC 1971.125--C)
- Photographs of California forests and logging operations, 196- (BANC PIC 1971.104--PIC)
Original and copy cassette tapes and DVD of oral history interviews conducted in 1999 and 2006 are stored
with other Redwood National Park audio/visual materials.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public
Redwood National and State Parks (Calif.)
United States. National Park Service
National parks and reserves
Humboldt County (Calif.)
Del Norte County (Calif.)
California conservation organizations
Citizens for a Redwood National Park
Industrial forest management
Old growth forest conservation
Simpson Timber Company
Arcata Redwood Company
Dave Van de Mark initiated communication with Redwood National Park about donating his collection in 1984.
Several park employees were already familiar with the collection and its informational value from having used
parts of it for planning and management purposes. Between 1984 and when the collection was officially donated
in 1988, Van de Mark worked on bringing related parts of the collection together and making notations about
dates and locations.
No additions are expected.
Drogheda (Dao) NiFaolain and Edith Butler, MA, CA final processing 2005-2006. Carolyn S. McClurkan
preliminary processing 1999.
Dave Van de Mark moved to Humboldt County as a young college student in early summer of 1963. He took a summer
job in one of the local sawmills and then enrolled in Humboldt State University (then Humboldt State College).
He soon became aware of the effort to build public support for creating a Redwood National Park and joined the
Sierra Club to work toward that end. Out of necessity, he became the photographer for the park proponents. He
was self-taught in both photography and the developing process.
He was an early member, board member (1966) and then president of the Citizens for a Redwood National Park
(CRNP), an Arcata based group whose goal was to be a clear voice of North Coast park proponents, to provide
substantive information on the park issue, and to promote park legislation that would benefit the local
communities. Sierra Club representatives assisted with the formation of the CNRP but the two organizations were
independent from one another, though there was some overlapping membership. (A card file containing member's
names and addresses was lost in the 2001 fire that destroyed the Northcoast Environmental Center.)
Once the Redwood National Park was created it became apparent to Mr. Van de Mark and many others that the
ongoing logging on Redwood Creek upstream and upslope of the new park was endangering the wellbeing of the park
areas, especially the Tall Trees Grove. Dave and many other activists then became involved in a long struggle to
expand the park by including more of the Redwood Creek watershed. Dave was employed by the Sierra Club as a
Conservation Department Assistant from June 1968 until mid 1970.
Dave was one of a handful of individuals who led educational excursions into the affected areas. A wide variety
of persons went on these excursions, including a significant number of public officials from all levels of
government. In the Oral History interviews included in this collection Dave shared memories conveying the energy,
urgency, and flavor of the park advocacy activities in that era. The photos he took during this time show the
extent of the logging and its impact on the watershed. Many of these photographs were used in materials
published by conservation organizations and by news publications. Van de Mark's photos were central to educating
legislators and the general public about conditions within and surrounding the park. He was certainly one of the
central figures in the effort.
Van de Mark's comments in a 1984 letter to the RNP Superintendent about the collection shed some light on the
level of effort and commitment the expansion proponents exerted:
"Literally thousands of miles of hiking (no trails mainly); dozens of boat trips down Redwood Creek;
perhaps three dozen or more aerial reconnaissance flights; and over 90,000 auto miles were logged in this
effort. Of course all the land was private and 'hostile' then. Almost all activities involved secrecy and
trespassing (Oh, are there some funny stories I can tell!)...."
"When a crisis needing documentation came up or the time allowed, you did it...."
In 1976 Mr. Van de Mark gave an impassioned statement before the Conservation, Energy, and Natural Conservation
Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations. In it he mentions the key issues that prompted him, and
thousands of other citizens, to push for an expansion of the Park. A copy of this testimony is attached (as a
PDF file) in Appendix A.
More biographical information about Dave Van de Mark and his advocacy activities can be found in the
transcripts of the two 2006 oral history interviews conducted in conjunction with the processing of this
collection. An additional interview, recorded in 1999, is available in audio format, only.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Dave Van de Mark Photograph Collection is a visual documentation of many areas that became Redwood National
Park in 1968, and many of the areas that were included in the Park Expansion in 1978. The lower Redwood Creek
watershed is the focus of this collection and the on-the-ground pre and post logging conditions are explicitly
shown. Additional photographs of the surrounding areas in Humboldt and Del Norte counties put the core of the
collection in a broader context. Mr. Van de Mark's purpose was to support the efforts to create the park and,
with even more determination, to heighten public awareness of the need for the expansion. Nearly all of the
photos were taken by Dave Van de Mark. The collection provides documentation of disturbed landscapes whose
rehabilitation was authorized by Congress in the 1978 Redwood National Park Expansion Act (PL 95-250).
The portions of Redwood Creek between the mouth at the Pacific Ocean and the upper boundary of the expanded
park comprise the majority of the collection. Other areas covered include Arcata, Humboldt Bay, Mad River, Maple
Creek, and some areas of Del Norte County.
Van de Mark, quoting his friend Maynard Munger, started using the phrase "Emerald Mile" to describe a
particularly beautiful stretch of Redwood Creek. Immediately it became a rallying cry during both park
campaigns. The "mile" is along Redwood Creek near the mouth of Harry Weir Creek and near the Tall Trees. Many
park expansion proponents called the Harry Weir Creek, Emerald Creek. An Emerald Creek Committee was formed,
made up largely but not exclusively of students from Humboldt State University, and environmentalists from the
community. (Dave worked in close alliance with the Emerald Creek Committee though he wasn't active in organizing
or maintaining the group.) Between 1968 and 1978 the park boundaries, when drawn on a map, made a thin curving
line along Redwood Creek; thus the area was called "the worm". These terms are found in notes relating to the
photographs in this collection.
Black and white photographic negatives (most are 35mm or 4x5); color negatives, slides, contact sheets,
original envelopes, and oral histories make up the collection.
Dave Van de Mark's date based numbering system is used. A roll with the number 651129 was taken November 29,
1965. Sometimes Mr. Van de Mark did not record the exact day, and on a few occasions the month was not noted
either. 00 is used in place of the day and/or month in these instances. A roll with the number 650900 was taken
sometime in September 1965. A roll with the number 650000 was taken sometime in 1965. Images with no number
whatsoever (about 320) are included after those with a date number. On most days more than one roll of film was
shot and comments are provided for each roll's contents.
Throughout the Container List the "Description", "Notes", and in the list of the original envelopes the "DVM's
remarks" sections convey a wide variety of detail about the location, the event going on, names of persons
present, and what Mr. Van de Mark was intending to document with the image. This information greatly enriches
the collection. There are distinctions between these terms: "Description" indicates information written on the
archival envelopes the negatives were in when the final processing got underway in 2005. "Notes" indicates
information supplied by the persons who processed the materials. "DVM's remarks" is used for the handwritten
information that is on the original envelopes.
Most images are black and white. For the small percentage of that are in color they are noted as "color" in the
Container List. All of the slides are in color.
Information in the Container List was compiled by Carolyn S. McClurkan and by Drogheda NiFaolain using notes by
Dave Van de Mark.
The container list provides:
- Date number
- Roll number
- Title for a roll or rolls
- Description (usually geographic location)
- Number of images for that roll
- Number of Negatives
- Contact Sheet
- Number of Photo Prints
- Notes relevant to that group of images