Creating the Great Park
The Great Park is Sempervirens Fund’s vision of a beautiful, healthy, accessible redwood forest between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. The Great Park protects remaining old-growth redwoods as well as second-growth redwood forests. The vision integrates both public and private land into a magnificent, resilient whole.
The Great Park encompasses 215 square miles of redwood forest and watersheds in the Santa Cruz Mountains (138,000 acres) stretching from Pescadero Creek to Wilder Ranch, from Skyline to the sea. That’s four San Franciscos or seven Big Basins, and larger than Lake Tahoe.
The Great Park will protect remaining old-growth redwoods, as well as second-growth redwoods that are only 50-150 years into their 2,000-year lifespan. Once protected and connected, the natural systems can reassert themselves, and the healthy forest can sustain itself – and us — for countless centuries to come. It will provide a safe home for wildlife — like mountain lions, marbled murrelet and salmon – and crucial refuge and recreation for us all.
About 2/3 of the Great Park area is already protected – hosting countless people and animals every day. But, 61 square miles (39,000 acres) of priority forest land are still vulnerable to subdivisions and development. This endangers all the animals and people who depend on the forest. A vast Sequoia sempervirens forest thrived here for at least 20 million years – and with our help may support people and wildlife for 20 million more.
In 1900, Sempervirens Fund led the way to permanently protect six square miles of old-growth redwoods which are now the heart of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We’ve added to the Great Park landscape for more than 100 years with the support of our donors and partners.
Sempervirens Fund is pioneering a new model by weaving together public parks, private land and sustainably managed forests into a beautiful, healthy redwood world – while we open up more ways for people to enjoy it. We are defining the priorities that can unite more than 25 local agencies and organizations that manage parts of the local redwood forest. We are bringing in new partners, new supporters and new ideas to create the Great Park.
The Great Park Map
Our goal is to ensure that the region’s most critical natural features such as watersheds and redwood forests remain intact and are well cared for, regardless of who owns the land. The Priority Conservation Zones on The Great Park Map show the general areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains that contain resources essential to the long-term health of the redwood forest ecosystem yet do not currently have permanent conservation protections. We consider these areas to be conservation priorities due to factors such as biodiversity, proximity to other protected lands (important for wildlife corridors), forest size and condition (such as old growth redwoods – only 5% still exist), watershed integrity, and recreational opportunities (people protect what they connect with). Sempervirens Fund purchases or accepts donations of land for conservation by working cooperatively with willing landowners. Along with public parks and open space, private landowners who loyally steward their land are crucial to the region’s long-term health.
Sempervirens Fund knows how people like you can play a crucial, positive role in creating the Great Park – an extraordinary redwood forest where wildlife thrives and people find joy and renewal. Your passion and your investment provide a permanent legacy of giant redwood trees, clear-running streams and a healthy forest in your own backyard.
Let’s come together here and right now, and take action at this crucial moment in redwood history – so we all can enjoy the local redwood forest with our families and friends and countless generations to come. Donate Now