The Bay Area’s coast redwood forests are rare, fascinating, precious and at risk.
Coast redwoods thrive only along the Pacific coast, from Big Sur to Oregon. In the southern Bay Area, they stretch across the Santa Cruz Mountains, from Silicon Valley to the Pacific Ocean. They’ve been here for at least 20 million years.
Redwoods provide critical habitat for a vast array of wildlife – like mountain lions, bobcat, coyotes, salmon and the endangered marbled murrelet. As the Earth’s climate changes, the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of only a handful of areas where certain plants and animals can survive, because the region has many microclimates, is cooled by coastal fog and is largely unpaved.
The redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains provide crucial recreation, refuge and reflection for the people who live in or visit the San Francisco Bay Area. There are so many parks in the area where we can get out and discover the redwoods and be transformed by the experience – whether we are walking, biking, riding horseback, rock climbing, creating art, camping or simply soaking up the beauty.
Coast redwoods play a major role in protecting the Earth’s climate – transforming more carbon dioxide into oxygen than any other tree on Earth. And, the local redwood forests provide clean water, clean air and vital wildlife habitat.
Coast redwoods are rare and precious – and they are at risk every day. Over the last 150 years, 95% of the old-growth redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains were cut down. Today, the remaining redwood forests face relentless threats of being carved up, paved over and built on. Amazing but true: magnificent coast redwoods are not protected by the state or federal government. It’s up to us to ensure that they survive for our children’s children to experience.
“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe…They are ambassadors from another time.”
— John Steinbeck