Sunday's tree planting in Lobster Creek Park marked the beginning of what could be a 3,000-year life for 10 redwoods - themselves cloned from a stump in Northern California that was around before Jesus was born.
Two youths involved in the juvenile department, along with Juvenile Director Jay Trost and County Commissioners Susan Brown and David Brock Smith, helped plant the 3- and 4-foot-tall saplings in the county campground northeast of Gold Beach.
Some 30 more trees will be planted there later.
"I think it's an amazing project," Smith said. "It's little pieces like this that not only assist the biodiversity, but help with economic development because these things get local, state and national attention - and attention around the world. For it to start here, is a very good thing for us all."
The dreams of angels
The planting is part of arborist David Milarch's attempt to save the "champion" trees of the world in the face of climate change. The trees, primarily redwood and sequoia, migrate so slowly as climate changes and can't stay ahead of the warming, drying effects of global warming.
The trees have been able to do so in the past, but during what is being called the Anthropocene Era, weather patterns and global warming have never changed so rapidly in the history of the Earth, most scientists say.
Additionally, fog in Northern California is decreasing in the face of these warmer temperatures - and fog is critical to the giants' survival.
So Milarch, of Michigan, decided he'd help them along in an "assisted migration," moving them north and keeping them in the foggy climes they require.
The mission of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is to propagate the world's most important old growth trees before they are gone, archive the genetics of ancient trees in living libraries around the world for the future, and reforest the Earth with the offspring of these trees to provide the myriad of beneficial ecosystem services essential for all life forms to thrive.
Milarch ventured to California after having a dream in which he was told to save the trees - and he has since been on a mission to clone the oldest, hardiest, largest trees on Earth, relocate them to their historic native locales.
He was able to locate the Fieldbrook Stump, which was hewn by loggers more than a century ago. The rings indicated the tree was about 3,000 years old.
And from it were growing new branches.
Milarch took samples from the stump, transported them back to Michigan, nurtured them in a "top-secret" growth compound and crossed his fingers.
It worked, even though many said it probably wouldn't.
Trees from the first cloning were planted on ranchland owned by Port Orford developer Terry Mock, who envisions creating a neighborhood in which such giant trees are the norm. Several redwoods were planted behind the campus of Pacific High School in Port Orford where trees had been logged.
And Milarch has subsequently planted redwoods and sequoias in all their historic native lands - on every continent except Antarctica.
"This is awesome," Mock said. "We are working for our grandchildren!"