50 Acres Commemorating 50 Years of Protecting and Growing Castle Rock State Park
Clear-cut logged in the early 1900’s, Castle Rock West was 50-acres of unprotected large, second-growth redwoods right next to Castle Rock State Park until Sempervirens Fund supporters preserved it in 2018—the 50th anniversary of Castle Rock State Park which Sempervirens Fund has helped create and expand. Now safe from development, Castle Rock West’s redwoods and creek headwaters for the San Lorenzo River will help protect and connect wildlands for wildlife and people to enjoy.
Having intact redwood forests is critically important for healthy wildlife and watersheds. Castle Rock West’s redwood forest habitat supports many plants and wildlife including rare species such as the San Francisco Dusky-footed woodrat, pileated woodpecker, and Santa Cruz black salamander. Mountain lions have also been documented near the property by the UCSC Puma Project. Due to its north-facing slopes and riparian areas with cooler microclimates, Castle Rock West will likely experience less climate change than the surrounding landscape and therefore could provide a future “climate change refugia” for many species.
Castle Rock West is just north of Castle Rock State Park’s Waterman Gap campground, an important stopover for backpackers along the 30-mile Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. Since Castle Rock West lies within the natural watershed boundary of Castle Rock State Park and contains this important trail it is likely to become part of the Park in the future. It could even provide some additional camping or picnicking sites, but a feasibility study needs to be done first. Sempervirens Fund will continue to protect and care for this property and others to help connect wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities near Castle Rock State Park.