Lindsay Dillon - POST
By Lindsay Dillon,
GIS Manager

There are over three trillion trees living on planet Earth. All of these trees play an important role in cleaning our air, providing habitat for wildlife and inspiring a sense of awe as we move through a forested trail. But some of these trees (our redwoods in particular) have been doing these things for a bit longer than others.

Our big redwood trees are among the oldest living organisms. These trees can live upwards of 2,000 years – and have graced the planet for more than 240 million years. Many of the trees in our local mountains, however, are relatively young as we’ve lost most of our ancient redwoods in the last two centuries to industrial logging – it’s how we built our railways, homes and cities.

But not all of our big redwoods have disappeared. There are still a few of these impressive redwoods for you to visit in the Santa Cruz Mountains that have stood the test of time. We made this map so you can go see for yourself some of the biggest and oldest trees standing right in our own backyard (and, in fact, the world):

There’s something special about these trees.

These giants have withstood severe droughts, forest fire, storms, infestations and other hardships. Their survival through the ages can be attributed, in part, to good genes. As we work to restore our redwood forests, it’s important for us to understand and preserve this genetic lineage –  some of these trees could hold the keys to the future health and resilience of our local forests.

But it wasn’t just good genes that allowed these giants to get so old. It took a bit of luck, too. Many of these trees have an unusual structure that’s made their lumber not economically viable, so lucky for them they were spared from the mill.

And, I guess, lucky for us too.

                                

Visit our Field Guides Library to find more great outdoor adventures in our local open spaces.

 

  • Susie Vosky

    Lindsay,
    Thank you for putting these legends on the map. As I frequent visitor to many local open spaces and state parks, I am in constant awe of our Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods. I appreciate you sharing the locations and estimated ages of these magnificent, inspirational trees!

  • Tom Williams

    Your Google Maps showing of where the ten large redwoods are located isn’t very helpful and, in the case of the Methusula Tree, is inaccurately located. (Google Maps, despite everyone seeming to think is God, often inaccurately locates things.) This is actually located over a mile south of the Kings Mountain Road and Highway 35 junction and NOT north of that junction.

    • Hi Tom – Good catch on the Methuselah Tree! Thanks for letting us know. The map has been updated and the tree locations are accurate.

  • Zachary Nelson

    Great story, tread lightly in these magical areas!

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Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

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