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Mill Creek had been blocked since early in the last century by a 12-foot-tall, 25-foot-wide dam a quarter mile upstream from its confluence with the main aquatic thoroughfare, San Vicente Creek. In September 2021, that dam was removed, giving Mill Creek another half mile of free flow. The story of removing Mill Creek’s dam is a story about the pieces that fit together to bring life and vitality to an ecosystem.

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San Vicente Creek Flow By Ian Bornarth

An old dam has denied endangered Coho salmon their critical spawning ground and redwood forests their nutrients for over a century in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is the story of bringing down a dam to restore the southernmost habitat for Coho and coast redwoods.

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The CZU fire transformed Big Basin Redwoods State Park in a matter of hours. Its effects will linger for hundreds of years. The forest is expected to rebound, eventually, more or less—but when? How long until the forest looks, feels, sounds, and smells like the place we knew?

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On August 16, 2020 a climate-fueled-weather event sparked the most catastrophic fire ever recorded in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Over the next month, fire raged through the region impacting lives, communities, parks, and some of the most ancient and beloved remaining coast redwood forests in the world. A year later, we look back at the CZU Fire.

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If you love Big Basin, please consider this: reimagining Big Basin can pioneer a new model for California’s state parks, just as Big Basin was more than a century ago. We believe that in this moment of transformation, Big Basin can lead the way for the State Parks to enter into a new era of public parks–one that is desperately needed. 

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Work at Big Basin and throughout the region to recover from the devastation of the wildfires is underway. We need your help. Learn about the Santa Cruz Redwoods Restoration Fund and Big Basin’s Future Fund to support regional recovery and the planning, designing, and rebuilding efforts that will shape the Big Basin’s future.

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Invasive Plant Science helps us to properly remove invasive plants so native plants can thrive and support wildlife.

At Sempervirens Fund, we take great joy in spending time among the redwoods throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. And we take our roles in conservation and stewardship very seriously. Science has always guided our work, helping us determine the best lands to protect and restore and to steward lands in our care. Here are 8 ways science helps us protect redwoods.

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Visit Camping And Backpacking Skyline To The Sea

Sleeping among the towering California redwood trees is an unforgettable treat. Local parks offer a variety of options for family and group camping. Whether you want the comfort of coming back to campground at night after an inspiring day hike or the solitude of backcountry camping, the local redwood parks have just what you need. Here are resources to help you plan a trip to camp in these beautiful forests.

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