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Underground Allies Mycelium illustration by Rebecca Zwanzig, High West Wild

Underground Allies: The Importance of Fungi in Redwood Conservation

Redwood trees are world famous, and each year, their allure draws millions of visitors from around the world. What most park visitors overlook, however, is a lesser-known group of organisms whose biology is vital to survival of the trees. These organisms are fungi, and we would be wise to pay attention to them.

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Family circles of coast redwood trees, their bark gray from the 2020 CZU fire but covered in the bright green fuzz of new growth, stand tall against a bright blue sky in Big Basin State Park in 2022

Big Basin Returns

In July 2022, Big Basin re-opened its gates, and as we see our way past the two-year anniversary of the CZU fire, people are visiting once more. We talked to staff and interns about their experiences and spoke with our director of conservation about our work at the park and at a newly acquired nearby property that may well have a role in the park’s future.

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Counselor leads youth hiking to the Valley of the Giants at Camp Jones Gulch. Boys look up toward gisant redwoods with awe and smiles on their faces.

Camp Jones Gulch: Childhood Connections Create Conservationists

Camp Jones Gulch has sparked a passion for the outdoors for thousands of young people. We talked with campers and the Y of San Francisco’s outdoor education leaders about how protecting Camp Jones Gulch protects critical, diverse habitats, and outdoor education and opportunities with exponential impact for the environmental movement.

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Climate And Redwoods Tree Rings With Increments By Ink Dwell

Redwoods and Climate Part 2

In the second part of a new series by Julia Busiek about the impacts of climate on redwoods, we explore emerging research into tree rings and tree morphology and what it may mean for redwoods—and us—in an increasingly volatile climate.

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End Of Rain DSC03767 By Scott Ordway

The End of Rain

As temperatures soar, droughts become more frequent, and fire seasons lengthen, does it change how we see the land? Scott Ordway, an award-winning composer and multimedia artist, explored those questions and shared his reflections through words, sounds, and images with the hope that art experiences like these can help strengthen connections with nature–the basis for action.

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Land Director Laura McLendon surveys Big Basin State Park with Rangers after the CZU Fire.

Reimagining Big Basin

In August 2021, a year after the CZU fire, California State Parks launched a visioning process for Reimagining Big Basin. A year later, they have a vision for the park’s future. Learn more, connect, and stay involved.

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Camp Jones Gulch Sign By YMCA San Francisco

Camp Jones Gulch: A Partnership for Youth and Nature

Some of the oldest redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains thrive at a YMCA camp with the oldest history of inclusion—Camp Jones Gulch. We sat down with Jamie Bruning-Miles, President and CEO for The Y of San Francisco, to talk about how, together, we are expanding youth access to nature.

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Birds and Birding in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Have you considered birding or birdwatching? Not sure how you start? We spoke to international expert birding guide Alvaro Jaramillo who shares his expertise with an introduction to birds and how to get started birding in the Santa Cruz mountains. Read on for beautiful birds, when and where to find them, and how to identify them.

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Accessibility Guide Bob Coomber 4 Wheel Bob By Ian Bornarth

Accessibility in the Santa Cruz Mountains

We are showcasing accessible trails in the Santa Cruz mountains, and we talked with Bob Coomber–the renowned hiker “4 Wheel Bob”, lifelong admirer of redwoods, and member of the State Parks Recreational Trails Commission–to discuss his experiences with accessibility and how he has overcome challenges to explore the outdoors far beyond where the paved trail ends.

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