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Redwood Meadows Ranch

A Fresh Take on Protecting and Connecting Forests

Near Bonny Doon in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Redwood Meadows Ranch’s 151 acres of old-growth and second growth redwood trees were marked to be cut down. Redwood Meadows Ranch includes Mill Creek’s headwaters, a source of drinking water for the town of Davenport, and connects thousands of acres of protected land from San Vicente Redwoods to Coast Dairies. Connecting protected lands is critical for forests to thrive and wildlife to survive. Sempervirens Fund partnered with nearby residents to protect Redwood Meadows Ranch by purchasing the timber rights in 2013. Sempervirens Fund continues to hold the timber rights to Redwoods Meadows Ranch to protect the forest and creek from the impacts of logging for wildlife and future generations.

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 properties that has been affected. We are working to make the property safe, repair damaged infrastructure like roads and culverts, and restore habitat by addressing landslide threats, clearing sediment and debris from streams, removing invasive species, and helping redwoods and other native plants to regrow. You can read more about redwoods recovery and restoration here and throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains.

photo by I. Bornarth.

Protecting Forest and Mill Creek with Timber Rights

In 1984, Redwood Meadows Ranch was created as a planned unit development in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Bonny Doon by Bill Cunningham. Cunningham retained timber rights over the 151 acre Redwood Meadows Ranch property and filed a Timber Harvest Plan in the 2010’s over much of the redwood lands. The Timber Harvest Plan marked Redwood Meadows Ranch’s old-growth and second growth redwoods for logging. Its thousands of redwoods were at imminent risk of being harvested and lost forever. Local residents eager to protect the redwoods contacted Sempervirens Fund with a plan to purchase the timber rights.

Sempervirens Fund had already identified Redwood Meadows Ranch as a high priority for protection for its natural resources, including old-growth redwoods. Redwood Meadows Ranch includes the headwaters of Mill Creek which effects the entire watershed and serves as an alternate source of drinking water for the town of Davenport. Redwood Meadows Ranch connects the protected 8,500-acre San Vicente Redwoods and the 7,000-acre Coast Dairies National Monument.

In 2013, Sempervirens Fund purchased timber rights in Redwoods Meadows Ranch. It was the first time Sempervirens Fund had ever protected land by purchasing only its timber rights. Individual members of the Redwoods Meadows Ranch Homeowner’s Association contributed approximately half the funds to complete the $500,000 purchase. Working together, Sempervirens Fund, local residents, and the landowner were able to create a win-win solution in which redwoods would be protected for generations to come.

By protecting Redwood Meadows Ranch, Sempervirens Fund continues to reassemble the local redwood landscape and recreate a more vibrant and healthy redwood forest between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean.

You can read more in the article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Mill Creek by I. Bornarth
Mill Creek by I. Bornarth

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