Historic Partnership Protects Critical Link in Santa Cruz Mountains
Celebrate What We’ve Achieved Together!
Save the Redwoods League in fiscal year 2016-17 led the planning for the first forest restoration project at San Vicente Redwoods forest, a critical part of the Santa Cruz Mountains’ ecosystem. The restoration is to include strategic thinning of dense young stands. Restoration projects including thinning and prescribed fires will accelerate old-growth characteristics in the forest, benefitting a number of imperiled wildlife species. With Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, we planned public recreation. Our goal is to construct and open hiking, biking and horseback riding trails to the public by 2018.
This work brings us closer to conserving this precious landscape for all its uses: protection of old-growth redwood trees and drinking water, wildlife habitat restoration, ecologically sustainable timber harvesting and public recreation.
In 2014, on behalf of our conservation partner organizations, Save the Redwoods League secured $10 million from the State of California Wildlife Conservation Board to help permanently protect San Vicente Redwoods.
The grant is a tremendous boost toward funding this $30 million project, historic because five conservation organizations worked together to conserve the forest for multiple uses: protection of old-growth redwood forest, habitat restoration, sustainable timber harvesting and public recreation.
The grant will help the League fund the now-official legal agreement, aka conservation easement, that permanently protects from development the San Francisco Bay Area project’s 8,500 acres of redwood forestlands, waterways and imperiled wildlife. The state’s Coastal Conservancy also granted $1.9 million toward the project in October 2013, in addition to donations from our generous members like you.
An Essential Part of the Region’s Forests
San Vicente Redwoods is the keystone property in the Santa Cruz Mountains, partly because of its 90 ancient redwoods, but mostly because of its sheer size. It covers 8,500 acres — a sprawling forest 6 miles long and 2.5 miles wide that connects 27,500 acres of contiguous protected woodland
San Vicente Redwoods is home to a variety of rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals, including the California red-legged frog, Shreve and Oracle oaks and Anderson’s manzanita. Endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout inhabit local creeks. Many of California’s signature mammals live here, including black-tailed deer, bobcats and coyotes. The property is so vast that wide-ranging mountain lions have established several nurseries here.
Further, the property provides drinking water for Davenport and Santa Cruz and clean flows for streams supporting imperiled fish. And with 70 miles of unpaved roads and trails, San Vicente offers outstanding recreation potential. Plans are underway to provide public trail access.
A Historic, Multiyear Project
The San Vicente Redwoods conservation effort has started through the Living Landscape Initiative (LLI) (external link), launched in 2011 by Save the Redwoods League, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (external link), Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) (external link), Sempervirens Fund (external link) and The Nature Conservancy (external link). We are working together to protect this vast property that none of us could protect alone.
Threatened with development and subdivision, San Vicente Redwoods received a reprieve in 2011 when our partners in the Living Landscape Initiative, POST and Sempervirens Fund, purchased the property for $30 million. However, neither POST nor Sempervirens Fund had the financial resources to hold the property long term. They planned to sell or trade San Vicente Redwoods to a permanent steward after securing a conservation easement that would protect the land forever.
Our Living Landscape Initiative partners will apply strict guidelines for sustainable wood harvesting on the property while permanently protecting the features we all value: old redwoods, homes for endangered wildlife, clean waterways and access to recreation. You can see a map of the land uses at San Vicente Redwoods. Habitat restoration in the Restoration Reserve parts of the property may be funded partially through our partners’ sustainable harvesting of young redwoods and other trees in the Working Forest part of the property. Restoration will speed the creation of old-growth forest characteristics, such as giant redwoods, which store huge amounts of carbon and help mitigate global warming.
If you have questions, or you would like to learn more about the San Vicente Redwoods (formerly CEMEX Redwoods) project, please contact Membership at (415) 820-5800 or membership@SaveTheRedwoods.org.
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A cave was recently discovered in San Vicente Redwoods (formerly CEMEX Redwoods). See the video below from KQED about this fascinating discovery.