CEMEX Redwoods Starts New Life as San Vicente Redwoods

San Vicente Redwoods

The San Vicente Redwoods

The largest parcel of redwood forest in the San Francisco-San Jose area has a new name and a new future: protected wildlife habitat, recreation and sustainable timber harvesting

The 8,500-acre CEMEX Redwoods property today steps forward as San Vicente Redwoods, named after the creek that runs through the property and supplies water to the coastal town of Davenport, north of Santa Cruz, California. The largest parcel of redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains has a new name and a new future: protected for wildlife habitat, recreation and ecologically sustainable timber harvesting.

The new name was announced by the four land trusts who purchased the property, through the Living Landscape Initiative, in December, 2011 from CEMEX, a Mexico-based cement company. The partners are: Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), Sempervirens Fund, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and Save the Redwoods League.

“Naming this property for San Vicente Creek  recognizes the life spring that feeds this critical watershed and its vital connection to the surrounding forest,” said Walter T. Moore, POST President. “The San Vicente watershed runs from the creek’s headwaters along Skyline Ridge down to the Pacific Ocean, providing critical habitat for coho salmon, rainbow trout and a variety of birds. The waterway also provides an essential source of drinking water for the town of Davenport and for Santa Cruz. It nurtures and sustains both people and wildlife, and is a defining feature of the local landscape that we now honor and celebrate with this new name.”

“The new name signals a new era for this gorgeous and important redwood forest, the largest intact redwood parcel between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean, 13 square miles,” said Reed Holderman, Executive Director, Sempervirens Fund. “We’ve protected the forest and now we’re helping this critical forest regain its natural strength and beauty.”

The local community strongly supports the new name, which evokes the history and local identity of the land.

“The name ‘San Vicente Redwoods’ gives the land a local context,” said Noel Garin Bock, Chairperson, Davenport / North Coast Association. “San Vicente is the former name of our town (Davenport) and the name of our stream, our watershed and even our local church, which will celebrate its 100th birthday next year.”

Neal Coonerty, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, said “San Vicente Redwoods is a wonderful name for this majestic piece of property. I am pleased to hear that the land trusts who now own the property have chosen a name that reflects its location, environment and history.”

Terry Corwin, Executive Director, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, said, “A new name for what is really a new forest is an important step as we change management goals and open it up for public access.”

“For those of us who love to explore redwood forests, San Vicente Redwoods is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It connects 27,500 acres of contiguous protected territory, providing habitat for rare animals and plants. This land also shelters nearly 90 ancient redwoods that will be protected in special reserves, all within a few miles of millions of Bay Area residents,” Sam Hodder, President and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, said. “Save the Redwoods League looks forward to its role as easement holder in protecting these resources for future generations to make sure this magnificent forest survives, thrives and improves our lives forever. ”

Rick Cooper, Field Manager, U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Hollister Office (BLM), said, “San Vicente Redwoods is a keystone to the recovery of the once-vast redwood forest between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. It adjoins the former Coast Dairies property, which BLM now manages, and together they create a protected area from the ridge to the ocean.”

The new name, San Vicente Redwoods, will soon appear on maps, printed materials and legal documents. The future for San Vicente Redwoods includes:
•    Completing the public access and management plans for the property (by December 31, 2014);
•    Selling a conservation easement over the property to Save the Redwoods League;
•    Securing a California Wildlife Conservation Board grant;
•    Submitting a timber harvest plan application with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).

ABOUT SAN VICENTE REDWOODS

San Vicente Redwoods (formerly known as CEMEX Redwoods) is the largest redwood forest parcel in the Santa Cruz mountains and provides crucial refuge for mountain lions and for rare plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. It adjoins several protected areas, including Coast Dairies, which has recently transferred to federal ownership under the Bureau of Land Management. Here young redwood trees – akin to a 4-year-old human — can live 2,000 years or more and help re-create a vibrant forest.

In December 2011, four organizations purchased 8,532 acres north of Santa Cruz from the multinational corporation CEMEX. This purchase—the largest redwood parcel ever protected in the Santa Cruz Mountains—united more than 16,000 acres of protected land, from the ridge to the sea. It marked a huge step toward creating the Great Park: 195 square miles (125,000 acres) of redwood forest and watersheds between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. That’s four San Franciscos or seven Big Basins, and larger than Lake Tahoe.

To transition the property from CEMEX ownership, Sempervirens and POST developed the conservation plan that permanently protects two-thirds of the property for restoration, wildlife habitat, recreation and long-term recovery. Save the Redwoods League will be purchasing a conservation easement over the property. Sempervirens Fund is managing the property based on a visionary conservation plan, which fully protects all the old-growth redwoods and other natural treasures. The Land Trust of Santa  Cruz County is developing the public access plan, with numerous opportunities for local residents to contribute their suggestions.

The CEMEX acquisition project is the first major project to result from the Living Landscape Initiative, a collaboration of five conservation groups: Sempervirens Fund, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Save the Redwoods League. Acquisition funding came from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund and the State Coastal Conservancy. The Coastal Conservancy also provided funding for public access planning.

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