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NEWS: Partners to Open First Phase of New Public Trails at San Vicente Redwoods

7.3 miles of multi-use trails open Saturday, December 3, with free registration pass required. Pre-registration period begins October 3.

Contact: Matt Shaffer, 415.609.2750, [email protected]

San Vicente Redwoods with location of first trails, opening December 3, 2022

DAVENPORT, Calif. (September 22, 2022)The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (LTSCC) and the three conservation partners who own and manage the nearly 9,000-acre San Vicente Redwoods property will open the first phase of an envisioned 38-mile multi-use trail system Saturday, December 3, 2022. The other partners are Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), Sempervirens Fund, and Save the Redwoods League.

The first phase, 7.3 miles of new trails, will be open during limited daytime hours (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) for use by hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Visitors will be required to register for a pass and carry it while on the property.

Online pre-registration for passes begins October 3 at the Land Trust’s website: https://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/svr

Passes are valid beginning December 3 and will not expire. Visitors who do not pre-register will be able to obtain a single-day-use pass from on-site kiosks, starting December 3. Parking at the site will be limited to 72 vehicles.

“We are excited to welcome everyone – walkers, hikers, bikers and equestrians – to explore these new trails starting December third,” said Sarah Newkirk, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County executive director. “When you’re out on the trails, you’ll be able to witness firsthand how nature is rebounding from the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire. Looking to the future, our trails will be doing double duty—serving as part of a new fuel break to protect the community in the event of future wildfires.”

“It is a rare treat for the public to gain new access to the redwood forests of our region, especially in such close proximity to a city,” added Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, which holds the conservation easement over all of San Vicente Redwoods. “In envisioning the trail system, the partners have worked to balance public access with our conservation objectives of restoring the forest and protecting the astonishing biodiversity on the property. Careful placement of the trails and limited hours of operation will ensure that both humans and wildlife can enjoy responsible, healthy access to this remarkable landscape.”

Commitment to Responsible Public Access in an Actively Managed Forest
The 8,852-acre San Vicente Redwoods property is a model of environmental conservation and collaboration. Most of the area was permanently protected by the conservation partners in 2011, after decades of intensive commercial logging in the last century left much of the forest unhealthy. Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Sempervirens Fund jointly own and actively manage the property. Save the Redwoods League holds a permanent conservation easement that ensures ecologically sensitive land management practices, as well as sustainable harvesting in the working forest areas of the property. LTSCC is developing and will manage the property’s public access trail system.

“These trails offer a rare opportunity for the public to witness a forest in active recovery from recent wildfire and decades of commercial logging,” said Walter T. Moore, president of POST. “While they are dramatic and exposed right now, the trails offer ocean views from a few places. To ensure visitor safety in a working forest, everyone should note and respect any temporary trail closures as we continue to actively manage its recovery.”

Public access was part of the original vision for San Vicente Redwoods. Wildlife behavior studies helped trail planners to balance recreation and conservation objectives. The partners employ motion-activated wildlife cameras and audio sensors – both near human activity and far from it – to track numerous animal species and to see how they respond to human presence. This ongoing research will inform trail management and future development to ensure that needs are met for all – humans and wildlife – who inhabit and use the lands.

In recognition of the people who inhabited and stewarded these lands for millennia, the new trails are named in the Awaswas language. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, who respect and wish to honor these people, collaborates with the partners at the property to ensure that indigenous methods are included in its management.

Plans for what is ultimately envisioned to be a 38-mile trail system at San Vicente Redwoods were created in 2019 and have been revised in response to impacts of the CZU wildfire. The next phase of trail construction may begin within three to five years, depending on monitoring results from visitor usage, wildlife behavior and available funding.

“Opening San Vicente Redwoods to the public is an honor and is a testament to the partnership working carefully over the last eleven years to orchestrate an ambitious conservation and public lands project,” said Sara Barth, executive director of Sempervirens Fund. “Come explore, discover, and appreciate this remarkable park—new to many, and very special to Sempervirens Fund and our great partners.”

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