I’m standing on a stump deep in the forest of POST-protected San Vicente Redwoods (SVR). As I stare at my feet I can’t help but begin to count the rings of the tree supporting me and think of all that this forest has experienced. Redwoods have thrived here for millennia, and you can feel the significance of that when standing near some of the property’s biggest trees – some of which can live to be more than 2,000 years old.
POST has played an important role in protecting this nearly 9,000-acre property, but the landscape has a long and complex history. In the early 20th century, the San Vicente Lumber Company got to work cutting nearly every tree in the forest (before people understood how devastating such a practice was). And the impacts of early logging in this forest are still reverberating to this day.
In 2011, POST partnered with Sempervirens Fund, Save the Redwoods League, The Nature Conservancy and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to acquire 8,532 acres of the forest — in 2019, we protected an additional 320 acres. When we stepped in, we took on the responsibility of healing this damaged forest. Throughout the years, we’ve been busy working to restore this landscape to its former health. And there’s still a lot of work to do.
As one of the largest continuous areas of protected redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the management of San Vicente Redwoods has a significant impact on the health of our entire region. Our work there is as much about the ecological resilience of the entire mountain range as it is about the restoration of that forest. We are restoring a key piece of the puzzle.
Close to the stump I’m standing on, a big, healthy redwood stretches skyward. Its thick bark reminds me of its resilience to fire and to all the changes it will see in its long life. Its presence fills me with a deep sense of hope, for the recovery underway and for the next chapter in this landscape’s history.
If all goes according to plan, soon you will be able to experience the beauty of San Vicente Redwoods for yourself. Our partners at the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County are working diligently to make the land accessible to the public while respecting and preserving its delicate natural resources. Ten miles of a 38-mile trail plan should be open for you to explore in fall 2020!
Learn more about our work at San Vicente Redwoods in the stories below:
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more