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Año Nuevo State Park

Connecting Parks from Redwoods to Elephant Seals

Just 20 miles north of Santa Cruz, Año Nuevo State Park is best-known for witnessing one of the world’s largest populations of northern elephant seals. Since the park was first established along Highway 1 in 1985, it has grown to more than 4,000 acres stretching from the redwood forests of neighboring Butano and Big Basin Redwoods State Parks down to Año Nuevo Island just off the coast. Sempervirens Fund continues to protect and connect forests nearby for people and wildlife.

The diversity of habitat from old-growth redwood, knobcone pine, and red alder riparian forests to freshwater marshes, coastal terrace prairies, and sensitive native dunes support many types of wildlife. Elephant seals, Steller and California sea lions, otters, coyotes, and the rare and endangered San Francisco Garter Snake and California Red-legged Frog find shelter in the park. Año Nuevo Point is along a major bird migratory route fantastic for birding. And steeped in history, Año Nuevo State Park’s Marine Education Center has a natural history exhibit and cultural history presentations.

Protecting and Connecting the Park

To the northwest of Año Nuevo State Park, Sempervirens Fund has worked to protect redwood forests in the upper Whitehouse Creek watershed and extend the connection to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. More than 400 acres have been protected in the Whitehouse Creek watershed including the headwaters of Whitehouse Creek on the Lachenbruch property, the old-growth redwoods of Skylark Ranch Girl Scout Camp, and the both ecologically and culturally important land near Costanoa Lodge. Larger connections between protected lands vastly improve habitat and corridors for wildlife and recreation opportunities for people. Sempervirens Fund holds a conservation easement for Skylark Ranch Girl Scout Camp and will be forever involved in ensuring the forests there are preserved.

Skylark Ranch Camp

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