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NEWS: Sempervirens Fund Launches Trails Prescription Program for the Santa Cruz Mountains

New Trails Prescription Program aligns with regional Parks Rx efforts and offers curated trail guides and health insights to enhance outdoor experiences and well-being in the region.

Santa Cruz, Calif. (June 27, 2024) — Sempervirens Fund, California’s first land trust, dedicated to protecting, restoring, and caring for redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains, is announcing the launch of its Trails Prescription Program, also known as Trails Rx. This guide encourages people to explore the outdoors by promoting the health and wellness benefits associated with spending time in nature. Trails Rx gives clinicians and patients new options to turn a recommendation for time in nature into a specific ‘prescription’ for where best to go outdoors and benefit from a specific place, or trail.

Trails Rx Summary for Big Basin State Parks' Redwood Loop Trail.

This Trails Rx Summary for Big Basin State Parks’ Redwood Loop Trail has an overview of the trail, how to get there, and key benefits.

Trails Rx offers a curated guide to five trails in California State Parks in the Santa Cruz Mountains, providing detailed insights into the health benefits of each recommended trail. Every trail featured in the Trails Prescription Program is carefully chosen to introduce visitors to new park destinations and are suitable for a range of health and wellness goals. The guide provides essential information like location, length, elevation, and accessibility of the trails.

“By inspiring people to get outside and experience the wonderful trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we seek to strengthen the connection between our communities and these redwood forests,” said Sara Barth, the Executive Director of Sempervirens Fund. “Trails Rx not only promotes health but helps illustrate the deep connection between the well-being of these forests and the well-being of our communities.”

Trails Rx goes beyond traditional trail guides by also providing advanced invitations and prompts for visitors to engage with nature using all their senses. It encourages participants to fully immerse themselves in the natural environment to connect more deeply with the outdoors.

“Nature has the ability to heal and rejuvenate both the body and soul. Countless studies have shown that spending time outdoors not only improves physical health but mental well-being as well,” said Dr. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, Sempervirens Fund’s wellness advisor, who supported the development of the program features, data, and forest-bathing invitations. “From reducing stress levels to boosting immune function, the benefits of nature on health are undeniable. I’m excited to be involved in a program that has the potential to change lives and promote lasting wellness.”

Beyond promoting health and wellness, Trails Rx aims to improve visitation to the region’s state parks by featuring easy-rated trails at accessible park destinations. The program also highlights the need for accessibility, emphasizing the importance of equitable access to parks and trails.

Screenshot from Sempervirens Fund's Trails Rx webpage feature five destination trails and background on the Parks Rx movement.

Trails Rx features five trails and is closely aligned with regional ParksRx programs.

Sempervirens Fund has aligned with Parks Rx programs in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties, along with the Mountain Parks Foundation’s Redwoods Rx program. California State Parks provided vital information and reference data for the Trails Rx program and will be promoting and supporting the program.

Sempervirens Fund’s first five Trails Rx destinations are:
– Atkinson Bluff Trail, Año Nuevo State Park
– Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin Redwoods State Park
– Six Bridges Trail, Butano State Park
– Castle Rock Waterfall Trail, Castle Rock State Park
– Redwood Grove Loop Trail, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

For more information about Trails Rx and to start exploring the Santa Cruz Mountains, please visit

Here is what people are saying about Trails Rx:

Mariah Roberts, Executive Director of County Park Friends, Santa Cruz County said, “By prescribing time in nature for therapeutic purposes, we’re not only treating symptoms but addressing the root causes of many health issues. Trails Rx is a perfect complement for our local ParkRx Santa Cruz County system of care, offering a unique opportunity for individuals to take control of their health journey while creating a deeper connection with the natural world.”

Chris Spohrer, Santa Cruz District Superintendent, California State Parks, said, “By promoting the region’s diverse trails and the health benefits of spending time in nature, Trails Rx not only enhances visitor experiences but also showcases the importance of preserving our natural landscapes for future generations. We’re excited to work with Sempervirens Fund and other partners to promote wellness and conservation through this exciting program.”

Brenda Holmes, Executive Director of Mountain Parks Foundation said, “As advocates for the preservation and appreciation of our redwood state parks, Mountain Parks Foundation is thrilled that Sempervirens Fund is launching a Trails Rx program in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Trails Rx aligns with the goals of our own Redwood Rx program which aims to connect people with the healing properties and natural wonders of Big Basin and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Parks.”

Dr. Rachel Borovina with the San Mateo County ParksRx program said, “Encouraging my patients and families to spend time in nature through a nature prescription program provides a tangible intervention that empowers patients to reap the benefits of nature therapy. Patients consistently report that they feel less stressed and connect more with their families and community when in natural spaces. Innovative programs such as the Trails Prescription Program enables healthcare providers to improve the health and well being of their patients and ensure access to nature for all community members. Trail Rx guides enhance the clinic to nature connection by prioritizing equitable access to local parks and empowering a healthier community for all. I greatly appreciate Sempervirens Fund’s commitment to caring for our local natural spaces as well as for the people who visit them. ”


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