Campground on river image

California’s Russian River is a hot spot for adventure and eco-tourism. But for some locals, it’s also a front-row seat to global warming.

Chris Rowe owns the Schoolhouse Canyon Campground, a property his family has had plenty of time to observe.

Rowe: “The land has been in my family since 1852, so my son is actually seventh generation of the family that’s been on the dirt here.”

Scientists say climate change is leading to more unpredictable weather. And Rowe has seen first-hand what that means.

Rowe: “It seems like we might have periods of beautiful summer weather in the middle of what should be winter. December or even November should be raining pretty well, and last year it was beautiful. The year before it was nice.”

Beyond unusual weather, warmer temperatures and drought conditions have brought another problem – algal blooms, which thrive in warm, slow-moving water.

”California Click To Tweet

While many algal blooms are harmless, some create toxins that can be deadly, so Rowe says tourists and locals question the safety of the water.

Rowe says his campground has many other attractions, and he believes campers will continue to visit. But nature is at the core of his business, so he’s paying close attention to the changes happening here and now.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy. Photos courtesy of Schoolhouse Canyon Campground.

Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...