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Big Basin Redwoods State Park

The Original California State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park spans more than 22,500 acres of high chaparral slopes, waterfalls, canyons, and marshes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and is home to the largest stand of old-growth redwoods south of San Francisco. In 1902 it became California’s first State Park.

At the turn of the century, in response to frantic redwood logging, a group of concerned citizens met at Slippery Rock, along the banks of Sempervirens Creek to form the Sempervirens Club. The Club raised money to advocate for the State of California to purchase the park’s original 3,800 acres in 1900, and a movement was born.

In August and September 2020, the CZU Lightening Fire Complex burned more than 86,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is one of the many parks that has been affected. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is currently closed due to damage caused by the CZU Lightning Complex Fires until further notice. Sempervirens Fund is working with California State Parks to help support the immediate and long-term needs of the Park. You can read more about redwoods recovery and restoration here and throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. Until the park can open safely again, you can share your Big Basin Memories with us and park visitors from around the globe who experienced the majesty of its redwoods.

Big Basin is the Heart of the Region’s Parks

Sempervirens Fund’s legacy is rooted in Big Basin, and extends to many nearby parks and destinations. Sempervirens Fund has expanded Big Basin State Park since 1900, purchasing an additional 75 properties and protecting an additional 17,000 acres. As the park has grown, so has the movement to preserve the region’s magnificent natural habitats.

Over the years, nearby parks have been established, and through careful conservation planning and partnerships, are now linked to Big Basin. Nearby parks include Año Nuevo State Park and Castle Rock State Park, which is connected to Big Basin by the magnificent Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. When natural lands are protected and connected, they increase recreational opportunities, improve wildlife habitat and corridors, and increase the entire landscape's resilience to climate change. Here are some of the key lands Sempervirens Fund supporters have preserved forever in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park area:

Camp Hammer

Camp Hammer’s nearly 100 acres of redwood forests next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park were protected with a conservation easement in 1991 so it’s biological resources and recreation opportunities can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Last Chance

Almost 300 acres of redwood forests in the region of the Santa Cruz Mountains known as Last Chance for its namesake creek, road, and a one time community near Davenport have been protected to expand Big Basin Redwoods State Park since 1978.

Little Basin

Little Basin’s 535 acres of coast redwoods and scenic woodlands right next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park were purchased by Sempervirens Fund and Peninsula Open Space Trust from Hewlett Packard in 2007. Today, Little Basin is officially part of the state park providing campgrounds, picnic areas, and miles of hiking trails that connect to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. It also hosts The Web of Life Field (WOLF) School, which provides environmental education programs to youth.

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