Conservation Success in the Santa Cruz Mountains

The Van Kempen property is home to lush old-growth forest. Photo by Paolo Vescia.
The Van Kempen property is home to lush old-growth forest. Photo by Paolo Vescia.

Today, I’m pleased to announce another redwoods conservation success in the Santa Cruz Mountains! Save the Redwoods League and our Living Landscape Initiative (LLI) partner, Sempervirens Fund, have protected an old-growth gem with tremendous potential for public access.

The Van Kempen property is 33 acres of ancient redwood forestland adjacent to the gorgeous Peters Creek Old-Growth Forest in San Mateo County and near Portola Redwoods State Park. This was a high-priority acquisition according to the League’s science-based Master Plan for the Redwoods, because of this property’s significant old-growth redwoods, high potential for recreational opportunities, and proximity to other protected areas.

With less than 5 percent of the original old-growth redwood forest remaining, the opportunities to protect these last groves are rare and prized. With the addition of Van Kempen, the LLI partners have protected a total of 9,000 acres of redwood forest and surrounding land in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

These projects are exciting for many reasons, but what especially hits home for me is that they will allow so many people to enjoy the redwoods in their own “backyard.” All of the projects are less than an hour’s drive away for millions of people. These special places are where we’ll go to find inspiration and fun, where we can bring our kids to play and learn, and where future generations will enjoy nature’s wonders for a very long time.

That network is a wonderful thing for other local residents as well: our native wildlife. The Van Kempen property buffers Pescadero Creek, where coho salmon and steelhead trout swim, and its redwoods are home to endangered marbled murrelets. We’re thrilled to have protected this valuable wildlife habitat that connects protected lands, helping the forest community to thrive.

The Van Kempen property — so close to Silicon Valley — could have been developed, and its redwood forest lost forever. But former owner Patricia Van Kempen wanted to protect it — and support from people like you made this possible. Thank you!

There’s still more to do before we can open up this land to the public. Learn more about the Van Kempen acquisition and the League’s work in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Let’s keep in touch on Twitter! Follow me at @SamH4Redwoods for news and insights about redwoods and conservation.

About the author

President and Chief Enthusiast for the Outdoors (CEO) of Save the Redwoods League, Sam brings more than 25 years of experience in overseeing land conservation programs from the remote wilderness to the inner city.

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