News & Events
113th Anniversary Picnic | Castle Rock Open through 2016 | Girl Scouts Camps Protected
Tribal Land Trust | Partnership Protects Redwoods | CEMEX | Living Landscape Initiative | Campfire Center |
Redwoods & Climate Change Study | LTA News | Reviews
Sempervirens Fund and State Parks Sign Agreement to Keep Castle Rock open through 2016
Sempervirens Fund has signed an Agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to keep Castle Rock State Park open through June 30, 2016. The Agreement also keeps the 1,340-acre San Lorenzo River Redwoods area open to the public. This area, which contains the headwaters of the San Lorenzo Rivers and stunning redwood forests, increases the accessible area of Castle Rock by 35% and extends the park's trail system.
Castle Rock State Park encompasses 5,229 acres in Santa Cruz County. Though much of it is covered in redwood, Douglas-fir, and madrone forests, the park is best known for its unusual tafoni rock formations and stunning views. The park attracts rock climbers from around the world and contains over 32 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, as well as a campground and connections to other parks in the area.
Sempervirens Fund has played a large role in creating and expanding Castle Rock. Since the park's establishment in 1968, Sempervirens Fund has completed 36 land transactions which have added over 4,000 acres to the park's planning area, including 1,340-acre San Lorenzo River Redwoods.
Sempervirens Fund will now focus its efforts at Castle Rock toward creating a new entrance to the park which will provide safe parking with automatic pay stations, flush toilets, picnic sites, and other amenities to attract visitors and generate a reliable stream of income through user fees. Sempervirens Fund has submitted the plans to Santa Cruz County for approval, and hopes to break ground on the new entrance in 2014.
"Sempervirens Fund has always been there for Castle Rock State Park," said Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chet Bardo of California State Parks. "Castle Rock is an incredible destination for hikers, rock climbers, equestrians, and visitors of all interests. We look forward to partnering with Sempervirens Fund to make this outstanding park even better in the coming years."
For more on the story, check out these articles in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
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412 Acres of Redwood Forest, 1,400 Old‑Growth Trees,
and Two Girl Scouts Camps Protected!
In what is likely to become a more common model for land conservation across the U.S., Sempervirens Fund recently purchased conservation easements on two redwood properties in the Santa Cruz Mountains, both owned by the Girl Scouts of Northern California
. The purchase of these easements will both permanently protect the important natural resources on the properties and provide much needed income to the Girl Scouts to keep these two camps operating.
A conservation easement is a valuable tool for land conservation groups. It is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows landowners to maintain ownership and use of their land and to sell or pass it on to heirs if they choose to do so. Even if ownership of the land changes, however, the easement remains in place, assuring that the resources on the land are protected in perpetuity.
Camp Butano Creek (142 acres) and Skylark Ranch (270 acres) are Girl Scout camps in the Santa Cruz Mountains that are nestled among redwoods and used year round to provide outdoor learning opportunities for girls and young women from across the Bay Area and beyond (map
). The properties include cabins, fire circles, dining halls, and miles of hiking trails that weave through stunning coast redwood forests. The properties also include more than 1,400 old-growth trees, water resources, and critical habitat for the endangered central coast steelhead and marbled murrelet. But the camps, which have been in use since the 1950’s, are showing their age. In fact, the facilities on both properties are in need of immediate repairs and maintenance so costly that the Girl Scouts were considering shutting down the two camps and selling their properties, both of which are zoned for commercial timber harvest and residential development.
Sempervirens Fund provided the Girl Scouts with a better option: we purchased conservation easements that strip the properties of their development and timber harvest rights, ensuring permanent protection of their forests and other natural resources while allowing the Girl Scouts to retain ownership of the land, fund upgrades and maintenance of camp facilities, and continue camp operations. The purchase price of the easements, $2.86 million, will provide income needed to keep the camps operating well into the future. Partial funding for this project came from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and was provided through Resource Legacy Fund’s Living Landscape Initiative Challenge Grant Program.
Protection of the redwood forests on these properties also helps to further Sempervirens Fund’s efforts to connect protected landscapes and create one Great Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Camp Butano Creek borders Butano State Park and Skylark Ranch borders Año Nuevo State Reserve and is only one parcel away (500 feet) from Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
For more details about this project, read our press release
and the SFGate blog post
by Marina Park, CEO of Girls Scouts of Northern California.
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Sempervirens Fund Sponsors Local Tribal Land Trust
Sempervirens Fund will partner with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the First People of the northern Monterey Bay region, to sponsor a new Tribal Land Trust that will be able to purchase, accept, restore, protect and steward natural lands in the Santa Cruz Mountains and throughout the Tribe's larger ancestral territory. Sempervirens Fund’s sponsorship will include providing organizational support and technical assistance for up to three years to help the new land trust grow and develop before it fledges as a self-sufficient and separate nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable conservation organization.
The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Sempervirens Fund have already collaborated in several successful partnerships. The Tribe has been advising Sempervirens Fund during the development of the Great Park Conceptual Area Protection Plan that covers a 224,000-acre planning area across the Santa Cruz Mountains. The two groups have also jointly worked on conservation projects in Whitehouse Creek, which drains into the Pacific Ocean near the Costanoa Resort on Highway 1.
Check out the recent article in theSanta Cruz Sentinel
for more information.
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Another Successful Partnership to Protect Redwoods
In partnership with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Sempervirens Fund recently completed two land transactions that expand the District’s 2,817-acre El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve by 89 acres and save 240 old-growth redwood trees, some of which were slated for logging.
The newly protected properties are both adjacent to El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, located just west of the town of Woodside off Skyline Boulevard. The addition of the properties—the 31-acre Lagomarsino property and the 58-acre Gallaway property—to the Preserve protects some of the largest redwoods remaining in the Santa Cruz Mountains, expands a well-used public preserve, and provides the opportunity to further protect special status species including the marbled murrelet, California red-legged frog and steelhead.
This protection project also implements the conservation goals in the Redwood Heartland, one of four priority landscapes targeted for protection through the Living Landscape Initiative. Funding for the Gallaway property came from a $425,000 grant From The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Resources Legacy Fund’s Living Landscape Initiative Challenge Grant Program. In addition to aiding in the purchase of the Gallaway property, a portion of this grant will support the District’s initial stewardship of both properties.
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Land purchase protects over 8,500 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains!
We are very excited to announce that Sempervirens Fund, together with four local conservation organizations, has acquired the largest expanse of threatened redwood forestland in the Santa Cruz Mountains! We have joined forces with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Save the Redwoods League to preserve 8,532 acres located near the town of Davenport. Sempervirens Fund and its partners purchased the massive property from the multinational corporation CEMEX, which agreed to sell the property for $30,000,000 if the sale could be completed by the end of 2011. We closed escrow on December 16, 2011.
Because the CEMEX property adjoins a number of already protected properties, including Coast Dairies, this land deal results in a protected area of over 26,000 acres and provides a critical wildlife corridor in the face of growing impacts on habitat from climate change. This purchase—the largest in Sempervirens Fund’s history—also marks a huge step toward achieving our vision for a Great Park
in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The CEMEX acquisition project is the first major project to result from the Living Landscape Initiative, a collaboration of five conservation groups involved in the CEMEX deal that was launched earlier this year with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Sacramento-based Resources Legacy Fund. The goal of the Initiative is to protect 80,000 acres of land in and around Silicon Valley in the next 20 years.
The CEMEX project is a unique project that will have a lasting impact on the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. If you would like to support Sempervirens Fund’s efforts to protect the CEMEX property and other forestlands across the Santa Cruz Mountains, please make a secure and safe online donation
You can read more about this landmark acquisition in the Mercury News
or download a PDF of our press release
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Living Landscape Initiative
Local Land Trusts Collaborate to Protect 80,000 Acres Surrounding Silicon Valley
We are proud to announce that Sempervirens Fund is collaborating with The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), and Save the Redwoods League in an effort to create a vibrant and sustainable living landscape in the heart of coastal California. This effort, the Living Landscape Initiative, seeks to protect the area’s unique natural benefits and beauty, which are essential to nourishing the social and economic engine of Silicon Valley. Sacramento-based Resources Legacy Fund helped launch the effort using major support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The Initiative’s goal is to protect 80,000 acres over the next 20 years between Mount Hamilton and South San Francisco, focusing specifically on the Redwood Heartland, Coastal Lands, the Pajaro River Corridor, and Essential Linkages. Within the Redwood Heartland, the area in which Sempervirens Fund has been working for over 110 years, the Initiative seeks to protect 30,000 acres of working forests, old-growth, and forestlands valued for their natural resources and scenic beauty.
Collaboration is critical to an undertaking of this size and will allow partner organizations to leverage each other’s tremendous and varied expertise. The Initiative is supported by a generous $15 million 3-to-1 challenge grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Moore Foundation’s challenge, which must be met within the next three years, will help the five partner organizations raise an additional $45 million to support protection and stewardship of the vast open spaces, broad biodiversity, productive working lands, and dramatic natural beauty that make our region so unique. To learn more, visit www.livinglandscapeinitiative.org
. To support Sempervirens Fund’s Living Landscape Initiative conservation projects, you can donate securely online
. If you prefer to fax or mail your gift, please click here
to download a donation form as a PDF.
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Big Basin’s Campfire Center Restored
After years of work, Big Basin Redwoods State Park’s historic Campfire Center has been fully restored. The restoration project was funded with over $275,000 in funds allocated by Sempervirens Fund’s Board of Directors, including a $50,000 grant from the Jeangerard Foundation. The Campifire Center includes a covered stage, 139 redwood benches, and a huge fire ring that provides light fo the free and unforgettable nature and history shows put on by Big Basin staff. The restoration project involved replacing all of the damaged benches with new ones made from naturally downed redwood trees, milled on site at the park. To read the Mercury News
article about this restoration project, click here
. To get a schedule of upcoming State Park programs at the Campfire Center, please call (831)338-8883 or visit www.bigbasin.org/activitiesmain
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Sempervirens Fund Makes Another $100,000 Grant for Redwood Climate Change Study
Sempervirens Fund’s Board of Directors recently approved a $100,000 grant to support Save the Redwoods League’s Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative
. This is the second $100,000 grant that we have given in support of this important project. The Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative
is designed to help us to better understand the impacts of climate change on California’s redwoods and to plan adaptation and mitigation strategies. Click here
to learn more about this initiative.
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Sempervirens Fund Earns National Recognition
It's official! Sempervirens Fund has been awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance’s (LTA) Accreditation Commission! The Commission awards this accreditation to land trusts that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands. Accredited land trusts are able to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. Sempervirens Fund is one of only 130 land trusts nationwide and one of only 15 land trusts in California that are accredited. We are honored to be part of the select group of organizations that have received LTA recognition.
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Sempervirens Fund Receives
Sempervirens Fund has been receiving great reviews on two charity rating websites: GuideStar and GreatNonprofits. Both websites allow donors to discover and review charities worldwide. Organizations — like Sempervirens Fund — provide information about their goals, programs, and finances, and website users are given an opportunity to rate and share their thoughts about nonprofit organizations. Together, this information helps people learn more about the work of nonprofits and make informed decisions about their charitable giving. If you would like to see Sempervirens Fund’s ratings or if you'd like to share your thoughts about us, visit www.guidestar.org
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