Press release from the National Parks Service

Recently, approximately 800 square feet of historic, old-growth redwood lumber was stolen from the hay mow of the Elk Camp Sheep Shed, located off the Bald Hills Road in Redwood National and State Parks. The Elk Camp Sheep Shed was constructed sometime between 1900 and 1914. The stolen flooring planks were old-growth redwood, some nearly 3 inches thick. It will be extremely costly to replace this old growth flooring to maintain the barn’s historic character.

This important historic structure is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in association with Lyons Ranch Historic District. In 1868, Johnathon Lyons along with his wife Amelia who was of Hupa and/or Karuk descent, established their homestead near Schoolhouse Peak. The Lyonses were the first to introduce Merino wool sheep into northern Humboldt, and were one of the largest ranching operations in the county. They grew to prominence beyond the local area because they were at the forefront of innovations and change in sheep ranching. They were known not only for the volume, but for the quality of their wool. In 1901, Jonathan Lyons was awarded a gold medal from the Paris Exposition.

Today this ranch represents a rare, intact historic property that retains both the natural features (such as prairie grasslands) that contributed to its suitability for sheep ranching as well as for Native American cultural practices, and the key manmade features (such as roads, barns, and sheep sheds) essential to the sheep ranching operations. This ranch’s remaining historic structures reflect nearly a century of consistent land use and ownership that was integral to the late nineteenth to mid twentieth century economic and social development of Humboldt County.

Because the structure is over 100 years old, such thefts may be prosecutable under the Archeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA), which carries a maximum penalty of approximately $20,000, imprisonment of two years, or both when damage is greater than $500.00. The government may also seek compensation for the cost of replacing, restoring, or for acquiring equivalent resources.

If you have any information that could assist park rangers in finding this stolen historic lumber, or need any additional information, please contact Park Ranger Kate Andrews at 707-498-4362.