Oct. 2, 2017 >> Construction is underway on the new Castle Rock Gateway at Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The first step in the construction process is demolition. For our project site, that mainly means removing a lot of Christmas trees from the previous agricultural operation. These non-native trees were planted on a 5-foot grid. For five years, as Sempervirens Fund navigated the approval and permit processes for the project, these trees grew into a woolly thicket of evergreen.
The first several weeks of construction primarily involved pulling and mulching these trees (it sure smelled like Christmas up there). Meanwhile, surveyors laid out the various features of the project site, including the amphitheater, restroom building, the parking lot, the picnic area and the trails. The surveyors required line of sight, which meant that the trees had to be pulled and mulched in accordance with their progress. A rhythm was established, a back-and-forth dance between the survey and tree crews.
As of last week, the site has been completely cleared. Now the construction crews have begun the grading process by working water into the silty soil.
Additional trees will be thinned from other areas of the site in the coming weeks, and some of the trees will remain in place to preserve soil stability on the hillside. In many areas surrounding the new improvements, Sempervirens Fund will be planting madrone, douglas fir, as well as black and live oaks, beginning a gradual transition towards the native flora of the region.
For those interested in bringing home a local tree come December, our neighbors at the Castle Rock Christmas Tree Ranch will still be selling trees this winter. Come up and enjoy a winter day’s hike.