Save-the-Redwoods League announced today the acquisition of 80 acres of undeveloped forest land adjacent to Portola Redwoods State Park in San Mateo County. The League intends to transfer the property to the State Department of Parks and Recreation for inclusion in Portola Redwoods State Park, which has some of the tallest and most majestic ancient redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The acquisition was made possible by a $1,000,000 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The purchase will protect the redwood groves on the property, strengthen the protection of the spectacular Peters Creek redwood grove within the existing park, enhance steelhead and coho salmon habitat, buffer Portola Redwoods State Park from development to the east, and improve hiking and camping opportunities in the southeastern hills of San Mateo County.
“The proximity of the Bay Area’s seven million residents places our local parks under intense pressure from residential development on their boundaries. Such development disrupts the natural rhythm of the forest,” said Katherine Anderton, Executive Director of Save-the-Redwoods League. “This acquisition will enhance the viability of Portola Redwoods State Park by expanding its base of protected land. And it will offer numerous new recreational opportunities for local as well as international visitors seeking outdoor adventures in the Bay Area.”
The grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation reflects the Foundation’s commitment to land protection in the Bay Area. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has awarded more than $85 million in local land protection grants.
“The Foundation seeks to make an enduring impact on our Bay Area community through partnerships with organizations like Save-the-Redwoods League. Our program’s focus is to protect the unique and irreplaceable lands that make our region a special place,” said Helen Kim, Chief Program Officer for the Foundation’s San Francisco Bay Area Program. “With this grant, we are helping to assure that future generations will continue to enjoy these redwoods and other forest lands.”
The Santa Cruz District of California State Parks has identified this property as one of its top ten acquisition targets. The property has several important features:
- Preserving old-growth redwoods. A stretch of Bear Creek, flanked by majestic redwoods, runs through the property. Downstream, Bear Creek flows into and through the Peters Creek grove of ancient redwoods protected in Portola Redwood State Park—one of the most significant stands of ancient redwoods in the Bay Area. Acquisition of the property protects the redwoods on the property from the threat of residential development, and also protects the redwoods downstream from the impact of development on the watershed.
- Protecting salmonid habitat. Bear Creek is in the Pescadero Creek watershed, which supports populations of steelhead and coho salmon. Acquisition of the property now guarantees protection of the upper reaches of the watershed, enhancing water quality downstream.
- Buffering Portola State Park from residential development. Most of the property to the east and north of Portola State Park has been divided into tracts of 40 and 80 acres, many of which have been developed as residences that are occupied full time. Acquisition of this property now buffers the Park and the Peters Creek grove from residential development.
- Creating restoration and recreation opportunities. As part of the acquisition process, some structures and equipment will be removed from the property. As state funding becomes available, acquisition of the property will allow re-routing of a very steep park trail, improvement of an old fire road that crosses the property, and possible establishment of back-country environmental campsites.
Save-the-Redwoods League is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving ancient forests so that all generations can experience the inspiration and majesty of these towering giants. In 1850, there were nearly 2 million acres of ancient coast redwood forests in California. Today, less than five percent remain. Since its founding in 1918, the League has completed the purchase of more than 170,000 acres of land. More than six of every ten acres in California’s State redwood parks have been protected by the League’s leadership of its acquisition program. For more information, visit www.savetheredwoods.org.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a private grantmaking organization based in the Presidio of San Francisco, works locally through its San Francisco Bay Area Program. The Program seeks to make a lasting contribution to the quality of life in the Bay Area through targeted support in three areas: land protection, science and technology museums and the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative. Since its inception in September 2000, the Foundation has awarded more than $172 million in grants to programs in the Bay Area alone. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.moore.org.