Traditional Land Management
Yurok life centered around the Klamath River; at one point between fifty and sixty villages were spread out along the river, which provided food and transportation for Yurok people.
The Yurok culture is deeply connected to the forests in their indigenous lands. The methods the Yurok people use for forest management seamlessly accomodate material and spiritual needs.
Wooded areas were often burned in the autumn to inhibit pests, encourage new growth of berries and hazelnuts, and reduce unwanted conifer growth. Fires also cleared the undergrowth to aid in acorn gathering, which were a major source of food.
Burning was also widespread in the redwood forests to promote growth of basketry materials such as hazel and bear grass, and to facilitate travel and hunting.
Recent decades of fire suppression have resulted in more heavily and denser forested areas as well as hotter and more damaging wildfires. Many organizations are beginning to recognize the value of traditional practices as useful forestry tools. The Yurok tribe has been working in recent years to reclaim their indigenous land and preserve traditional management practices.
This picture of Requa or Rek'woi shows a lack of undergrowth and was taken during or shortly after the time when the land had been burned. Remnants of traditional plank homes can be seen just uphill from the largest barn.