Protecting a Crucial Landscape
Photography:
  • Sempervirens Fund

Protecting a Crucial Landscape

For the last decade, RLF has worked with foundations, public agencies, and conservation leaders to protect the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco. In 2011, we helped structure and fund a key conservation purchase of 8,532 acres in the area. This high-profile acquisition expands a core area of protected coast redwood forest, links more than 70,000 acres of protected lands and intact habitats, preserves critical watersheds and habitat for rare and endangered species, and supports the local economy.

The acquisition is a centerpiece project of the Living Landscapes Initiative, a collaboration of Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save the Redwoods League, Sempervirens Fund, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, and The Nature Conservancy, brought together by RLF, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. We worked with these organizations to advance their regional protection goals for the southern San Francisco Bay Area by providing communications, planning, and project support.

The acquired property boasts vast stands of redwoods and shady, rippling streams, providing habitat for southern steelhead coho salmon, marbled murrelets, California red-legged frogs, and regional mountain lions—all within a 45-minute drive of the Bay Area. As the largest expanse of unprotected redwoods and wildlife habitat in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the property is essential for connecting wildlife to previously protected lands in the region and will serve as an important refuge in the face of climate change. Continued sustainable harvest on portions of the property will support the local timber industry in a manner consistent with the region’s broader conservation needs.

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