Situated in the Petaluma Wind Gap, which carries cooler, wetter air from the coast inland and creates an ideal climate for redwoods, is the Grove of Old Trees park. The Grove is a 33-acre “island” of ancient redwoods surrounded by vineyards and homes in Sonoma County. And, with the help of Save the Redwoods League and LandPaths, this protected island just got 50 percent larger.
Historically, owners of land in this area were loggers, and they harvested most of the old-growth trees in the surrounding landscape. This little pocket of old-growth redwoods was spared and used as a gathering place for families. In the 1990s, the new owners did not follow the historical tradition and began formulating a timber harvest plan for the property. The neighbors of the Grove did not want to see it harvested, and they worked with League and LandPaths (external link), a Sonoma County-based nonprofit, to permanently protect the property and turn it into a park — the only privately-owned preserve in Sonoma that is accessible to the public for free.
In August of 2000, Save the Redwoods League assisted LandPaths in the purchase of this property to ensure these gorgeous old-growth trees remain standing. LandPaths currently owns and manages the Grove and a group of neighbors, called the Friends of the Grove, helps with its stewardship.
In early 2017, the League was approached by LandPaths and the Friends of the Grove to assist them again in the purchase of a 15-acre addition to the already protected Grove of Old Trees park. The addition was identified by League staff as a high priority, providing crucial habitat and a buffer to the Grove. The addition is mainly forested by oaks and young redwoods with some large redwoods on the southern end, adjacent to the Grove of Old Trees.
The League contributed to the purchase of this property and worked to transfer ownership from the original landowner to LandPaths. Eventually, LandPaths hopes to build trails through the addition and take school groups out to teach them how California’s habitat types transition from open grasslands to oak woodlands and into redwoods forests.
Want to visit the Grove of Old Trees? Learn more about this lovely Sonoma County park and the recent expansion. Want to volunteer? Join LandPaths and Friends of the first Saturday of every month to help with trail building and understory cleaning.