Explore the Redwood Coast at the Aleutian Goose Festival

The Aleutian Canada Goose, once thought to be extinct, is one of the rare success stories of the federal Endangered Species Act. Recognized as an endangered species in 1967, they numbered fewer than 500, so few that they went unseen for nearly 25 years and were presumed extinct. They were "rediscovered" by an intrepid lone biologist and researcher called Bob "Sea Otter" Jones, who rowed out in a wooden dory to the rocky, wave-tossed remote island in the western Aleutians where he suspected -- and found -- a small remnant population hidden away. Today, they number more than 60,000, and are one of only about a dozen species ever recovered enough to be taken off the endangered species list.

Eight years ago, the small town of Crescent City, in rural northwestern California, established an annual festival to showcase the spring staging spectacle of these remarkable little geese. The centerpiece of the five-day festival is the dawn spectacle, viewed from coastal headlands, as tens of thousands of geese rise from their offshore island's rest and fill the sky overhead with voice and wing. The sight of so many birds darkening the sky is an experience that has almost been lost from the American landscape, yet in Del Norte County it's still growing.

The eighth annual Aleutian Goose Festival, March 30 to April 3, offers much more than the dawn spectacle. In fact, this birding, nature, and heritage celebration offers 80 events in and around the spectacular Redwood National and State Parks, Smith River National Recreation Area, Castle Rock Wildlife Refuge, Tolowa Dunes State Park, and Lake Earl Wildlife Area and Coastal Lagoon. Designed to tempt everyone from the most avid birder or botanist to the generalist nature-lover or history buff, the wide range of activities includes hikes and forest walks, boating and kayaking trips, lighthouse tours, workshops and lectures, and of course, bird-watching outings (last year's festival bird list reached 184 species).

Discover the rugged beauty of California's wild redwood coast, and find out why our Klamath-Siskiyou region is often called "the Galapagos of North America."

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If You Go 

Stay at the Redwood Hostel, a charming pioneer homestead and the only lodging available within the Redwood National Forest. Only a 10-minute drive from Crescent City.