Something huge happened today. The California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), an independent State board charged with funding “the purchase of land and waters suitable for recreation purposes and the preservation, protection and restoration of wildlife habitat” in California, voted to support the permanent protection of San Vicente Redwoods with a $10 million grant.
Together with a $2 million State Coastal Conservancy grant, this grant will enable Save the Redwoods League to buy the conservation easement on the property, ensuring its permanent protection. This funding, available from Prop 84 thanks to the support of California voters, is a critical piece of our ongoing effort to protect this amazing part of the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains.
San Vicente Redwoods (formerly CEMEX Redwoods) is a bit different from past conservation projects. In fact, it’s one of the first of a new breed of land deals — we’re entering the future of land conservation, with an innovative new way of doing things to achieve the best results.
You may have heard the message by now that the nature of land conservation is undergoing a fundamental shift. In the past, organizations like the League would buy land and set it aside, turning it into parks and preserves. In this way, natural resources like old-growth redwoods were protected, and people could enjoy them by visiting the park. This worked well for a long time.
But, we live in a different world today. Much of the land needing protection now has been degraded by poor logging practices or other past activities, and will need a lot of help to heal. The population has grown, and continues to grow, by leaps and bounds — meaning we have to find ways to use our natural resources sustainably, in ways that keep them healthy and intact. And, with California State Parks and other agencies operating at full capacity, nonprofits like the League are finding new ways to meet the open space needs of our communities and our forests.
San Vicente Redwoods is unique in many ways. At more than 8,500 acres, it’s the single largest parcel of redwood forestland between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. Its protection creates a contiguous 27,500 acres of open space, with tremendous potential for public recreation and incredible conservation value for wildlife, ancient redwoods and clean water.
San Vicente will be a “balanced use” property, meaning that different kinds of activities (e.g. preservation, restoration, sustainable harvest) will be allowed in different parts of the land, according to a science-based conservation plan. (Check out this fact sheet for more information.) This land will meet ecological, social and economic needs — the kind of creative conservation that has become imperative in today’s world. Here, we will advance shared goals on a single landscape, serving the entire community — people, land and wildlife — of the region.
WCB’s support for the San Vicente easement is crucial as we stand on the edge of a new frontier in conservation. Now, this special place will be safe from the threat of development forever, and we can get down to the work of judicious long-term management. We’re grateful for your support as we think carefully and work hard to provide the best of care for the redwood forest we all love. Learn more and pitch in today!
Read the press release.
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