Photo by Reed Holderman, 2014

Photo by Reed Holderman, 2014

Forest preservation efforts and outcomes in the Santa Cruz Mountains

by Betsy Herbert

published in Journal #7, "Redwood Logging and Conservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains: A Split History," Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 2014

There’s just something magical about redwood trees.”
— Lennie Roberts (1)

Any history of logging in the Santa Cruz Mountains would be incomplete without a complementary history of local forest preservation. Starting in the late 1800s, local forests were threatened with destruction by the clear-cutting of large tracts of land. Because many such logging operations were relatively close to expanding population centers in the Bay Area, logging was subject to public scrutiny.(2) As a tourist resort in the 1890s, Santa Cruz attracted hikers and photographers into areas that were being logged.(3) These early visitors experienced first hand the majesty of the forests and the destruction caused by logging.

Just as the Santa Cruz Mountains formed the “cradle of the redwood industry,”(4) the region was also the birth place of forest preservation. The initial and most famous success story for local preservationists also originated here—the organized effort by Sempervirens Club in the early 1900s to save the old-growth redwood forest of what is now Big Basin Redwoods State Park.(5) Logging has continued to this day in the Santa Cruz Mountains in what is now referred to as the “rural-urban interface,” where residents living in or near the forest scrutinize what they see and hear in the woods.(6) As a result, the local forest preservation movement has persisted in a perpetual tug-of-war with the timber industry.

Since Big Basin Redwoods was formed as a California state park in 1902,(7) many thousands of acres of forestland in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been rescued from both development and from the axe. These successes often resulted from the combined efforts of community groups, government agencies, private landowners, and land trusts including the Sempervirens Fund, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save the Redwoods League, and the Trust for Public Land. As a result, Santa Cruz County now has approximately 62,000 acres of protected forestland in- cluding Nisene Marks State Park,(8) Gray Whale Ranch (now part of Wilder Ranch State Park),(9) Castle Rock State Park,(10) Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park,(11) and approximately 6,000 acres of forested watershed that supplies drinking water to Santa Cruz and the San Lorenzo Valley.(12) Not every organized effort to preserve stands of old-growth forest and forest watershed has succeeded, however. In pre-European times, there were 198,000 acres of old-growth forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains; today only about five percent (less than 10,000 acres) remains unlogged.

Yet, much of the dramatic history of the wide network of actors driving forest preservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains is fragmented and largely untold. With a few exceptions, the story rests in the memories of aging forest advocates and in cardboard boxes full of newspaper articles, public hearing notes, legal rulings, and correspondence. Maps of protected lands reveal a clear picture of where and how much forest land has been protected.(13) The one hundred year history documenting the accomplishments of the Sempervirens Fund(14) tells a piece of the story, and Santa Cruz Mountains forest preservation is mentioned sporadically in books and other histories of the entire redwood region.(15) An entire book would be needed to do justice to the accomplishments of all the organizations and individuals who dedicated their passion, time, and sometimes their lives, to the work of saving native forests. This short chapter identifies some of the issues motivating local preservation, and gives a few examples of how people organized and worked together to save forests, piece by piece. My research is drawn from personal notes, regional history books, newspaper articles, meeting minutes, legal summaries, and interviews with some of the major actors in local forest preservation in the last thirty years.

What is forest preservation?
I use the term forest preservation to define human actions whose the primary purpose is to maintain and enhance the ecological integrity of the forest ecosystem. To accomplish forest preservation, typically, a piece of forest land is purchased from a willing seller by a land trust and then turned over to a governmental agency (such as State Parks or the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District) to be protected from development and commercial logging. But the term forest preservation has also been applied to citizen efforts to improve logging practices. “Fight Back! A citizen’s guide to forest preservation in Santa Cruz County,”(16) a popular handbook published by the Santa Cruz Group of the Sierra Club, was written to help concerned citizens and residents of Santa Cruz County participate in the state’s regulatory review of timber harvest plans on private lands. It was designed to “show you how and when to get involved in the process, so that you can have a say in the logging operations that affect you.”(17) An updated and revised version is now available online.(18)

Forest advocates in the Santa Cruz Mountains have worked over the years to encourage land trusts and government agencies to purchase and preserve the forest land most vulnerable to disturbance from resource extraction. These same forest advocates have also worked to advance a more ecosystem-oriented model of commercial logging. They have educated themselves about the science and policy of forest management; they have organized, lobbied, and engaged the media; and they have litigated to improve logging practices on private forest lands.

Historical context: Forest management in the West
To understand the issues motivating forest preservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one must under- stand something about how forests have been managed historically in the West.(19) In the late 1800s, the federal government gave away millions of acres of public land to encourage settlement of the West.(20) While the Homestead Act of 1862 and the Timber and Stone Act of 1878 were ostensibly intended to benefit small landowners, the primary beneficiaries were the railroads and lumber barons. Sandy Lydon describes the resulting “land grab” as large-scale fraud. (21) The giveaway also promoted rampant exploitation of natural resources and enabled their monopolization by large corporations.(22)

To abate the resulting abuses, Congress enacted the 1891 Revision Act, establishing vast public forest reserves. Growing concerns about protecting water- sheds drove the passage of the Organic Act of 1897, authorizing the federal government to manage these forest reserves.(23) President Teddy Roosevelt appoint- ed forester Gifford Pinchot to the job as the first Chief of the United States Forest Service. Pinchot was a proponent of “utilitarian forestry,” meaning that forests should be managed towards producing goods for human use. Pinchot adopted a model of efficient commodity production to manage the public forest reserves.(24) Naturalist John Muir completely dis- agreed with this model. He believed that preservation of watershed and wildlife habitat, as well as aesthetic and recreational values should drive forest management, not timber production. John Muir co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892. This date marked the beginning of forest preservation efforts in the West.

Twentieth century developments in forest management
By the 1960s, Pinchot’s commodity production model had evolved into the concept of multiple-use sustained-yield (MUSY), which became the modus operandi of the U.S. Forest Service. Paul Hirt described how adherence to this model required practicing foresters to develop complete faith in the notion of sustained, intensive, resource extraction “despite biological fail- ure, scientific skepticism, and financial inadequacies.”(25) Nevertheless, commodity production and MUSY became the model of forest management for California private timber lands throughout the state, just as it did for U. S. Forest Service land.

In the 1990s, a new model of forest management, known as ecosystem management, reflected the rise of the field of conservation biology, which promotes an increasing understanding of the biodiversity crisis and the need to sustain biological and ecological processes.(26) Ecosystem management began to address the inadequacies of the MUSY model of forestry:
The continued production of wood, forage, and fisheries depends on the functions of healthy ecosystems such as nutrient cycling, water flow regulation, and seed dispersal. Yet our harvest of these goods fundamentally affects vital ecosystem services by disturbing vegetation regeneration, soil fertility, and river flow.(27)

Ecosystem management requires forest managers to focus on what they need to leave in the forest so that it can function ecologically, rather than focus on how much product they can extract from it. This new approach to forest management was adopted by the 1993 Federal Ecological Management Assessment Team(28) and implemented by the USDA (Department of Agriculture) on Forest Service lands of the Pacific Northwest and California.

In the 1990s as the timber industry clung to its model of maximum sustained yield of timber, and as environmentalists demanded a more ecological approach, the timber wars in California came to a head. Environmentalists wanted protection of old-growth trees, endangered species, and watersheds. The struggle to save Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County from rampant clear-cutting by Maxxam was concurrent with other logging reform efforts throughout the state, including efforts in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Regional forest preservation issues and actions
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, three issues have driven local forest preservation:

  • Lack of local control of logging; state dismissal of community concerns; poor enforcement of logging requirements.
  • Impacts to watersheds and water quality from logging and logging roads.
  • Threats to irreplaceable resources, including endangered species and old-growth forests.

The following sections further explore these issues by providing examples of local forest preservation efforts, identifying the actors and the solutions they sought, the mechanisms they used, and the outcomes of their efforts.

An 80-year tug-of-war: San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties vs. the state
Until 1937, when San Mateo County adopted the first timber harvest ordinance in the state, logging on private land was unregulated in California.(29) In 1945 California enacted the first Forest Practice Act to regulate timber operations on private lands in the state. California amended this law in 1956 to give sole regulatory authority to the State Board of Forestry and the California Department of Forestry (CalFire).(30) The State Board of Forestry is the policy-making branch of CalFire. The State Board of Forestry develops the Forest Practice Rules, based on the Forest Practice Act. These rules are then administered by CalFire. While there are different sets of Forest Practice Rules that apply to different regions of the state, all the rule sets are instruments of the Forest Practice Act. According to Noss, this California Forest Practice Act was designed for the purpose of maximizing timber harvests, while fulfilling only minimal requirements for other public-trust resources, including fish, wildlife, and water quality.(31) San Mateo County demanded local control to address long festering grievances of residents about fire, erosion, and stream pol- lution, and the impact on recreation and scenic assets, caused by logging.

In 1968, the U.S. Congress restricted log exports from federally owned forest land, forcing the Japanese government to seek logs from private and state-owned forests in the U.S. “Observers say that nearly every large landowner in the Santa Cruz Mountains has been contacted by Japan’s export agents, and their success has been alarming.”(32)

In 1969, San Mateo County residents already active in environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Committee for Green Foothills, formed a group named TREES. Their purpose was to oppose a logging permit to cut 2.8 million board feet of timber by Bayside Timber that threatened the watershed lands of the Sky Londa Water Company. Bayside was a major supplier to the Japanese log market.(33) When San Mateo County put twenty-eight tough restrictions on Bayside’s logging permit, Bayside filed a lawsuit (Bay- side v. San Mateo County) challenging the county’s right to require stricter logging regulations than the state Forest Practice Act. (34)

In 1971, Bayside v. San Mateo County was heard by the State Supreme Court, which made the unexpected ruling that the Forest Practice Act was unconstitutional because the make-up of the state Board of Forestry had created a situation of self-regulation by the timber industry.35 This ruling suspended state regulation of logging, so that both San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties adopted county ordinances to regulate logging that addressed public concerns and required bonds.

In 1973, the state enacted a new law, the Z’Berg- Nejedly Forest Practice Act, which re-established state regulation of logging, but did not pre-empt existing county rules.36 Under the new law, counties could continue regulating timber harvesting operations, as long as the regulations were stricter than the state law. However, in 1983, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 856, which pre-empted the counties’ authority to regulate timber harvest.37 Counties henceforth were required to seek approval from the Board of Forestry for special rules to apply within their jurisdictions, but these rules could be enforced only by CalFire.

In 1984, the State Board of Forestry introduced a new type of timber operation called the “three-acre exemption,” which allowed logging on small parcels with no environmental review and no advance no- tice to neighbors. Logging under this and other exemptions would later result in widespread conflicts throughout the state. In 1994, the three-acre exemption rule was struck down after a lawsuit established that it was illegal for the Board of Forestry to exempt logging on parcels smaller than three acres from the requirement of a timber harvest plan (THP).38

In the 1990s, due to a booming timber market, timber companies north of San Francisco began to log lo- cal properties throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains that they had previously purchased.39 Clear-cut logging along the northern coast of California had depleted many commercial timber lands there, making forest land in the Santa Cruz Mountains an attractive alternative.

In 1991, the State Board of Forestry enacted “conversion exemptions,” (FPR 1104.1) which allowed clear cutting (even in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties) of three acres on any sized parcel, for the purpose of converting the land to another use. No environmental review or advance notice to neighbors was required. Exemption logging increased dramatically through- out the state, including the residential areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains, where conflicts proliferated.40

In 1992, at the urging of the Committee for Green Foothills, the Loma Prieta chapter of the Sierra Club and others, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors amended the county zoning ordinance to prohibit commercial logging in rural areas not zoned for timber production within 1,000 feet of a legal dwelling. The ordinance was intended to reduce conflicts with existing residential uses. Shortly thereafter, Big Creek Lumber filed suit against the county, challenging its authority to regulate the conduct of timber operations.

By 1995, Big Creek Lumber v. County of San Mateo had worked its way to the Fourth District Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of the county, finding that the county’s zoning authority could legally limit the location of timber operations outside timber production (TP) zones.41

In 1993 and 1994, as exemption logging skyrocketed throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Santa Cruz Sierra Club Forestry Task Force, the non-profit Citizens for Responsible Forest Management (CRFM), and 2,000 citizens petitioned the County of Santa Cruz to address problems due to proliferating exemptions, inadequate THP enforcement, and threats to public health and safety.(42)

In 1997, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors appointed a Timber Technical Advisory Committee, composed of forest advocates and timber industry representatives to discuss changing logging rules to address ongoing concerns and conflicts. During 1997 and 1998, the Santa Cruz County Planning Department documented environmental damage and examples of inadequate enforcement by CalFire.(43)

In 1998, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisor Jeff Almquist, presented the county’s proposed rule changes to the Board of Forestry in Sacramento. The rules proposed protection of old-growth trees, no-cut zones around streams, and restrictions on helicopter logging.

In 1999, all but a few technical rule changes were rejected by the Board of Forestry, after the local timber industry lobbied against them.(44) Frustrated, the Sierra Club, CRFM, and many rural residents lobbied the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to reduce the conflicts by prohibiting logging in most areas outside of land zoned for timber production (TP). The Board of Supervisors responded by amending the county zoning ordinance to restrict timber harvesting almost exclusively to lands zoned TP. Big Creek Lumber promptly filed suit against Santa Cruz County (Big Creek Lumber v. Santa Cruz County) challenging the county’s authority to regulate the conduct of timber operations.

In 2004, after the Third District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Big Creek Lumber, Santa Cruz County appealed to the State Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to resolve the fact that two different appeals courts had conflicting rulings with regards to the use of the county’s zoning authority to determine the location of logging operations.

In 2006, the State Supreme Court heard Big Creek Lumber v. Santa Cruz County, and ruled in favor of the county, thus preserving the zoning authority of counties to determine the location of timber operations outside lands zoned as TP. As a result, approximately 18,000 acres of forested land could no longer be commercially logged in Santa Cruz County; in San Mateo County, the 1,000 foot buffer zone remained in effect. Some rezoning to TP is allowed in Santa Cruz County, but the county also increased the minimum parcel size for TP from five to forty acres. According to Jodi Frediani, former chair of the Santa Cruz County Sierra Club Forestry Task Force, the county’s zoning restrictions on logging have greatly reduced the neighborhood conflicts in rural residential areas. At the same time, Frediani notes that there is now much less public scrutiny of timber operations, which are now conducted in more remote areas, further from public view. (45)

Santa Cruz County efforts to protect public water supplies from logging
Public concerns about stream damage, erosion, and impacts on water quality due to logging are well documented in the local history of logging.(46) Below are a few examples of the many community efforts in Santa Cruz County to protect public drinking water supplies from the impacts of logging. These examples show how one preservation effort can build on another through community involvement.

In 1994, the City of Watsonville filed a 120-acre timber harvest plan (THP #1-94-298 SCR) at Grizzly Flat, an older second growth forest in the Corralitos Creek watershed. Grizzly Flat contains a deep wetland formed by the San Andreas Fault and is critical to the city’s water supply. The timber harvest plan peaked the interest of neighbor Harold Short, who brought it to the Sierra Club Forestry Task Force and the local non-profit Citizens for Responsible Forest Management (CRFM). These groups formed the Coalition to Save Grizzly Flat, led by Betsy Herbert, who organized a major media campaign that explained the importance of leaving the forest undisturbed to protect the water supply. The group videotaped Dr. Bob Curry, a well-known watershed scientist, on site at Grizzly Flat to explain the issues.(47) The video was played repeatedly on community TV, and the media campaign increased public awareness of the value of old forests to water quality and supply.(48) The Watsonville City Council was not willing to scale back the logging plan.(49) One Watsonville city official stated that he didn’t understand why Watsonville was being “singled out” when the City of Santa Cruz also logged its watershed properties.(50)

When CalFire approved the Grizzly Flat logging plan, Santa Cruz County appealed to the State Board of Forestry, but the state rejected the appeal. (51) CRFM then filed suit against CalFire in 1995 (CRFM v. Cal- Fire), claiming that the agency abused its discretion by approving the logging plan without ensuring that the late successional forest stands would be maintained.(52) The Superior Court ruled in favor of CalFire later that year.(53) The Open Space Alliance of Santa Cruz County attempted to buy the logging rights to Grizzly Flat from the city of Watsonville, but the city was not interested.(54) CRFM appealed the lawsuit to the Third District Court of Appeals, but to no avail. Grizzly Flat was logged in 1996.(55)

Logging challenged on the City of Santa Cruz watershed lands
While forest advocates were disappointed that Grizzly Flat was logged, they realized that their media campaign had been very effective in drawing attention to the value of preserving old forests for public water supplies. In 1999, some fifty citizens petitioned the Santa Cruz City Council to review its longstanding policy of logging the city-owned 3,885 acre watershed land that supplied the city’s drinking water.(56) As a result, the City Council placed a moratorium on logging its lands, established a community advisory group, and invested $250,000 in a science-based management plan to determine how to best man- age the watershed.(57)

In 2002, the management plan documented the failing logging roads on the city’s property, with resulting erosion and sediment.(58) The plan recommended fixing the roads and ending logging because of the impacts to water quality. The city council unanimously adopted the plan’s recommendation and approved a motion to end commercial logging on city watershed lands.(59)

Another example concerns the 425-acre Lompico Headwaters Forest that lies at the top of Lompico Creek, the primary water supply for the small mountain community of Lompico. Redwood Empire, a lumber company, bought the land in 1995 and in 2001 filed a timber harvest plan (THP # 1-01-170 SCR) with CalFire. Shortly after- wards, Lompico residents Kevin Collins and Mary Jo Walker formed the Lompico Watershed Conservancy and began working with the local Sierra Club Forestry Task Force and the San Lorenzo Valley Women’s Club to review the THP.(60) As part of the required THP review process, CalFire called a public hearing at the Zayante fire house. The “huge noisy public hearing” drew more than 225 citizens who showed up to express their objections to the plan concerning the steepness, inaccessibility, and geologic fragility of the site.(61) The most frequent objection voiced was that the community of Lompico relies on the creek for its water supply, which is severely limited. During the period of public comment, the Lompico Watershed Conservancy hired legal and geologic experts to review the THP. Because Lompico Creek harbors steelhead listed in the Endangered Species Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service recommended extensive changes to the THP to protect the threatened fish. The Regional Water Quality Control Board requested water quality monitoring be added to THP. Hundreds of letters from local residents and the Lompico County Water District were submitted in opposition to the THP.

Because of the volume of comments received, and the extent of the legal and scientific issues present- ed, CalFire did not approve the THP until October 2003. Santa Cruz County immediately appealed the approval to the Board of Forestry. Tom Lippe, attorney for the Lompico Watershed Conservancy, presented geologic evidence and argued that the cumulative impacts of the proposed logging would have a significant adverse impact on Lompico Creek, which was listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. CalFire’s approval of the THP had concluded that the logging would not adversely affect the creek.

In April 2004, the state Board of Forestry upheld Santa Cruz County’s appeal, finding that CalFire “applied an incorrect legal standard in addressing cumulative impacts,” and disapproved the THP.(62)

Yet, after all of that time, effort and expense, the Lompico Headwaters forest was still open to logging. Redwood Empire could simply file another THP and start the process all over again, which they did in 2005. As the Lompico community doggedly prepared to fight the new THP, the Sempervirens Fund announced that it had secured an option to purchase Lompico Headwaters Forest from Redwood Empire. In June 2006, Sempervirens Fund completed the purchase, thus protecting the property forever from logging and development.(63)

Efforts to save old-growth forests and the species that depend on them
Local land trusts and citizen groups are rightfully proud of the major forest preservation victories they have had over the years. But they have also suffered tragic outcomes. One was the loss of a vast primeval forest between what is now Butano State Park and the northern boundary of Big Basin. A San Mateo Times article described it the way it was in 1930:

“In full primeval grandeur, a forest of 10,000 acres dotted with 4,500 acres of virgin redwoods, Se- quoia sempervirens, reputedly the most beautiful in the state and the finest such specimen extant . . . 11 times larger than Muir Woods...redwoods, many of whose spired trunks rose to dizzying heights of 350 feet with diameters between eight and 28 feet, were up to 4,000 years old.”

— Michael Svanevik and Shirley Burgett, 1991 (64)

Privately owned, and surrounded with no-trespassing signs, the Butano was rarely experienced by people. Frederic Law Omsted surveyed the forest in 1928 and recommended that 5,000 acres of the Butano be added to Big Basin to save it from being logged.(65) By 1939, citizens from San Mateo, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Francisco counties joined scores of civic, fraternal, and service organizations to support the purchase. But no action was taken. In 1945, Pacific Lumber Company of Scotia purchased the 4,700 acre heart of the Butano intending to log it. As logging around the Butano increased, every Peninsula chamber of commerce pleaded with the state to act. Logging companies had agreed to wait, but in 1955, when the state legislature finally passed a bill to purchase the Butano along with seventeen other park projects, Governor Goodwin J. Knight vetoed it.(66)

Within hours of Governor Knight’s veto, loggers moved into the Butano with bulldozers and chainsaws, felling ancient trees. As the state legislature again deliberated, the trees continued to fall.(67) In 1961, the state finally acted, creating a new park, but with 1,500 acres of cutover forest, and only three hundred and fifteen acres of ancient redwoods.(68) Sempervirens Fund added another eight hundred and twenty acres to Butano State Park in 1997, but it was second-growth forest.(69)

A different type of tragic loss occurred years later in a remote area known as Ramsay Gulch, not far as the crow flies, from Grizzly Flat. The following account of this tragedy comes from an interview with an Earth First! Santa Cruz member.(70)

In 2001, Redwood Empire started logging in Ramsay Gulch under a 158-acre THP, known as “Ramsay I.” Earth First! Santa Cruz (EF!), which had formed in 1982, was interested in protecting the remaining old- growth trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains through direct action. Some local members had participated in tree-sits in old-growth trees in Oregon. They decided to start a tree-sit in some of the old growth trees marked for cut on Ramsay I.

Experienced tree-climbers were coming to Santa Cruz from northern California to train more local tree-sitters and to do support work for those in the trees. As the Ramsay I tree-sit proceeded, loggers avoided cutting the trees with tree-sitters. When Redwood Empire started the second THP, known as “Ramsay II,” EF! members started two tree-sits in old-growth trees there, one at the bottom of the canyon on Ramsay Creek and one on the ridgetop near a logging haul road. The creek tree-sit was a good one for the tree-sitters because it was remote. Accessible mainly by helicopter, the loggers avoided it. But the loggers drove right by the tree-sit on the ridge, and those sitters felt exposed and stressed out.

There were usually one or two people at a time up in a tree. After the loggers left in the evening, the tree-sitters would climb down and hike out, and other sitters would hike in. One newly recruited tree climber on the ridgetop site was Robert Bryan, whose EF! name was “Naya.” An experienced rock climber, he had no actual tree-sitting experience. But he knew how to use a harness, ropes, and tree climbing equipment. He went up the tree with a trainer, and the trainer, satisfied that Naya knew what he was doing, came down from the tree and hiked out, leaving Naya in the tree alone for the night. The next morning, EF! organizers were having a meeting in town when a newspaper reporter called to question them about the tree-sitter who fell to his death at Ramsay Gulch. Shocked and devastated, the EF! organizers rushed to the scene to find out what had happened. According to the police report, right after sunset one of the loggers heard someone moaning and found Naya at the base of the tree. Naya was still alive, but he died in the rescue helicopter en route to the hospital. The next day, Redwood Empire cut the tree down.

EF! Santa Cruz immediately called a halt to all tree-sits, and began a long series of internal discussions to try to figure out what had gone wrong and what to do next. Some suspected foul play, since timber companies had been known to hire tree-climbers to go up trees and pull down tree-sitters. But nobody would ever know what happened because Naya didn’t live to tell about it. And so EF! Santa Cruz disbanded.(71)

Despite the tragic failure in Ramsay Gulch, there were some continuing successes. In 2004, a 35-acre San Mateo THP known as Lagomarsino was submitted to the California Department of Forestry. Small timber harvest plans like this don’t ordinarily send up a red flag to experienced THP reviewers like Jodi Frediani, a director of the Central Coast Forest Watch. But the Lagomarsino property was highly unusual in that it had ten acres of virgin old-growth redwoods, as well as scattered residual old-growth trees. There is no law against cutting the very few old-growth trees that remain on private land in the Santa Cruz Mountains. But these large, old trees are required for nesting by the rare and endangered marbled murrelet, a Pacific seabird that is barely managing to survive in the Santa Cruz Mountains. So, the THP was put on hold for two years while biologists conducted surveys to determine if the rare bird was nesting there. When no marbled murrelets were found, the THP was re-submitted in 2008, proposing to cut more than 30 percent of the old-growth trees. The Department of Fish and Game requested that no old-growth be cut on the property, based on their ecological value, and in 2010, filed a letter of non-concurrence when CalFire recommended approval of the THP as written.(72)

In 2009, Frediani began alerting an entire forest advocate network through her monthly, on-line “Forestry Update” about the Lagomarsino old-growth trees slated to be cut. She included links to the Department of Fish and Game reports that pointed out many shortcomings in the THP and the ecological need to protect the old forest stands. Central Coast Forest Watch, Committee for Green Foothills, and the local Sierra Club submitted comments to CDF and requested changes to the THP. A national environmental group, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) also weighed in. One of the requirements of a THP is that it state alternatives to the proposed logging plan. One of the alternatives requested by CDFG was the potential for public ownership.

Also in 2009, Frediani informed a board member of Sempervirens Fund that old-growth trees on the Lagomarsino property were threatened by logging. The Lagomarsino property is adjacent to the El Corte Madera preserve held by Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (Mid-Pen). With old- growth redwoods, and with Mid-Pen as a potential land manager for the property, Sempervirens Fund was extremely interested. When a group of Sempervirens Fund board members toured the property, they were awed by the majestic forest stand and impressed by the accessibility of the site. They immediately set about negotiating with the landowners to purchase the property. In 2012, the transaction was completed, and the Lagomarsino property and its two hundred and forty old-growth redwoods became part of Mid- Pen’s El Corte Madera Open Space Preserve.
The future of forest preservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Since the economic downturn and falling property values that started in 2005, land trusts have found increased opportunities to purchase forest land; they are also finding more willing sellers, and are partnering to protect larger properties. In 2011, five land trusts joined forces to purchase the largest expanse of unprotected redwoods and wildlife habitat in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The 8,532-acre property, purchased from Cemex Corporation, is the largest private landholding in Santa Cruz County.

Conservation of the Cemex forest will link 26,000 acres of contiguous protected lands and provide a critical wildlife linkage in the face of growing impacts on habitat from climate change. The thirty million dollar purchase is the first major project of the Living Landscape Initiative, a collaboration of POST, Sempervirens Fund, the Nature Conservancy, Save- the-Redwoods League, and Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, aiming to protect 80,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains vicinity in the next 20 years. The Living Landscape Initiative will protect some of this land as forest reserves, while some lands will continue to be used for limited timber harvest.

Land trusts and forest advocates will continue to play their own separate roles and advance their own visions for forest protection, but they will continue to rely on each other as well. Scientific research continues to shed light on the invaluable role of redwood forests in combating climate change by demonstrating that ancient redwood forests store at least three times more carbon above ground than any other forests on earth.(73) Forests are, at the same time, themselves threatened by climate change. The best way to help them adapt is to build their resilience through better management and by protecting critical areas from human disturbance.(74) Improved forest management and land stewardship will undoubtedly be a major focus of future forest preservation efforts in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
1 Lennie Roberts, legislative analyst, Committee for Green Foothills, personal communication with author, 2012.
2 Carolyn de Vries, Grand and Ancient Forest: The Story of Andrew P. Hill and Big Basin State Park (Fresno, California: Valley Publishers, 1978), 13; Sandy Lydon, “The History of Redwood Forest Preservation,” Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History, Evarts and Popper, eds. (Los Olivos, California: Cachuma Press, 2001), 94.
3 Sandy Lydon, “The History of Redwood Forest Preservation,”128.
4 Ibid, 92.
5 Ibid; de Vries, Carolyn, Grand and Ancient Forest, 129; William Yaryan, “Saving the Redwoods: The Ideology and Political Economy of Nature Preservation” (PhD diss, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2002); William Yaryan and Denzil and Jennie Verardo, The Sempervirens Story: A Century of Preserving California’s Ancient Redwood Forest 1900-2000 (Los Altos, 1989),396-397. California: The Sempervirens Fund, 2000).
6 FRRAP (Forest and Rangeland Resources Assessment Program), Growing Conflict Over Changing Uses on California’s Forests and Rangelands (Sacramento: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 1988), 7.
7 Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove, now a national park, was established as California’s first state park in 1864. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest state park.
8 Daniel J. Miller, History and Ecology of the Mangels Ranch Area of
the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park (Unpublished manuscript, 2005).
9 Celia and Peter Scott, “Wilder Ranch and Gray Whale Ranch archives 1995-1997,” The Ventana, Newsletter of the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club, wilder.htm.
10 Randall C. Brown, The San Lorenzo Valley Water District: A History (Boulder Creek, California: San Lorenzo Valley Water District, 2011).
11 Lydon, “The History of Redwood Forest Preservation,” 127
12 San Lorenzo Valley Water District. Watershed Management Plan, Part I: Existing Conditions Report, 2009, http://www.; Brown, The San Lorenzo Valley Water District: A History; “Watershed Resources Management Plan, Planning Analysis and Recommendations Report” (Santa Cruz: Swanson Hydrology & Geomorphology for the City of Santa Cruz, 2002).
13 “A Conservation Blueprint: An assessment and recommendations from the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County,” 2011,
14 Yaryan and Verardo, The Sempervirens Story.
15 Reed F. Noss, ed. The Redwood Forest—History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods, Save the Redwoods League (Covelo, California: Island Press, 2000); Evarts and Popper, eds. Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History; Brown, The San Lorenzo Valley Water District: A History; Miller, History and Ecology of the Mangels Ranch; Lydon, “The History of Redwood Forest Preservation”; Scott, “Wilder Ranch and Gray Whale Ranch archives 1995-1997”.
16 Elizabeth Herbert, Fight Back! A Citizen’s Guide to Forest Preservation in Santa Cruz County (Santa Cruz: Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club, 1994).
17 Ibid.
18 Jodi Frediani, Fight Back! Forest Defenders Handbook: A Citizen’s Guide to Timber Harvest Regulation (Santa Cruz: Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club, 2009),
The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920 (New York: Atheneum, 1975), 4.
19 Elizabeth Herbert, Forest Management by West Coast Water Utilities: Influences and Consequences (PhD diss, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2004), 18-35.
20 Michael Williams, Americans and Their Forests, a Historical Geography (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press)
21 Lydon, “The History of Redwood Forest Preservation,” 126.
22 Richard N. L. Andrews, Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves: A History of American Environmental Policy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 396.
23 U.S. Congress, “Water in the West: Challenge for the Next Century” (Washington, D. C.: Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission, 1998).
24 Samuel P. Hays, Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency—The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920 (New York: Atheneum, 1975.

25 Paul Hirt, Conspiracy of Optimism: Management of the National Forests since World War II (Omaha: University of Nebraska, 1994).
26 Noss, The Redwood Forest—History, Ecology, and Conservation, 204.
27 Deborah B. Jensen, Margaret S. Torn, and John Harte, In Our Own Hands: A Strategy For Conserving California’s Biological Diversity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 123, http://ark.
28 FEMAT (Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team), Forest Ecosystem Management: An Ecological, Economic, and Social Assessment (Washington, D. C.: GPO Publication 1996- 793-01, 1993), FEMAT-1993/1993_%20FEMAT-ExecSum.pdf.
29 T. F. Arvola, “Regulation of Logging in California 1945- 1975” (Sacramento: State of California, Resources Agency, Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry, 1976), 5.
30 CalFire is now the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
31 Noss, The Redwood Forest—History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods, 256.
32    “First Peninsula logs to Japan,” The Black Mountain Gazette, Sierra Club Peninsula Regional Group newsletter, November- December, 1968.
33 Pat Barrentine, “New Groups To Protect Forests,” The Black Mountain Gazette, Sierra Club Peninsula Regional Group newsletter, May-June, 1969.
34 Arvola, “Regulation of Logging in California 1945-1975,” 66.
35 Public Law Research Institute, “Legal Analysis of the Conflicts between the California Environmental Quality Act and the Forest Practice Act: An Analysis of Case Law” (University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2006), 2, http://www.
36 Sharon Duggan and Tara Mueller, “Guide to the California Forest Practice Act and Related Laws” (Point Arena, California: Solano Press, 2005).
37 Bob Berlage, “Observations about the Effectiveness of Utilizing Single Tree Selection Silviculture in Redwood Forestlands,” Proceedings of the Coast Redwood Forests in a Changing California: A Symposium for Scientists and Managers, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, General Technical Report PSW-GTR-238, (2012), 588.
38 EPIC v. CDF. Environmental Protection Information Center v. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (1994), documentation/1990s/epic-v-cdf-3-acre-exemptions/.
39 Bob Johnson, “Timber Harvest,” Santa Cruz Magazine, March 1993, 14.
40 George Snyder, “Big Profits Seen in Logging Small Parcels,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 1994; Scott Thurm, “Landowners Cash in on Logging; Lure of Big Money puts Neighbors at War in Santa Cruz Mountains,” San Jose Mercury News, November 14, 1994, 1:1; “In California, Logging Dispute Hits Home for Some,” New York Times, August 15, 1993, 11:1, http://www. hits-home-for-some.html.
41 A TP zone is a special zone created by the state to recognize timber production as the best and highest use of the land within the zone.
42 May Wong, “Logging Boom Hits County; Neighbors Form Groups as Watchdogs,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 21, 1993, 1:1.
43 “Proposed Rulemaking – Santa Cruz County rules,” Letter proposing revisions to the Forest Practice Rules for Santa Cruz County with supporting documentation, Santa Cruz County Planning Department, October 23, 1998.
44 Herbert, “Forest Management by West Coast Water Utilities,” 186.
45 Jodi Frediani, personal communication to author, 2012.
46 Arvola, “ Regulation of Logging in California 1945-1975,” 47.
47 “A Walk through Grizzly Flat Watershed with Dr. Bob Curry” (Boulder Creek, California: In Reach Productions, 1996).
48 Emilio Alvarado, “Opposition Grows To City Timber- Harvest Plan,” Register Pajaronian, Watsonville, August 30, 1994, 1:1; Chuck Hildebrand, “Grizzly Logging Foes Gird For Fight,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 31, 1994; Shelly D’Amour, “Before the Fall. County Seeks to Stop Gray Whale Ranch Owner and Watsonville Water Department from Logging Grizzly Flats Watershed,” Metro Santa Cruz, February 2, 1995, 5:1.
49 Debra Brinson, “City Officials Defend Timber Harvest Plan,” Register-Pajaronian, Watsonville, July 30, 1994, 1:1.
50 Debra Brinson, “Logging Foes Appeal to Council to Stop or Scale Back Grizzly Flats Timber Harvest,” Register-Pajaronian, Watsonville, February 17, 1995, 1:1.
51 “County Will Challenge Grizzly Flats Logging,” Register- Pajaronian, December 12, 1994; Brinson, “Logging Foes Appeal to Council to Stop or Scale Back Grizzly Flats Timber Harvest,”1:1.
52 Terri Morgan, “Group Sues to Halt Logging on Watsonville Property,” San Jose Mercury News, March 16, 1995, 1:1.
53 Faith Raider, “Timber Harvest Foes Dealt Blow by Court Ruling,” Register-Pajaronian, September 19, 1996, 1:1.
54 Tracy L. Barnett, “Grizzly Flat Fund Drive Starts,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 4, 1996, 2:1.
55 Tracy L. Barnett, “Logging Begins at Grizzly Flat: City says controversial project will bring in needed money,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 12, 1996, 1:1.
56 Ed Tunheim and Steve Butler, Forest Management Plan, (Santa Cruz; City of Santa Cruz Water Department, 1994).
57 Herbert, “Forest Management by West Coast Water Utilities,” 190.
58 “Watershed Resources Management Plan, Planning Analysis and Recommendations Report,” prepared by Swanson Hydrology & Geomorphology for the City of Santa Cruz, 2002.
59 Santa Cruz City Council minutes, City of Santa Cruz, November 12, 2002.
60 Kevin Collins, personal communication with the author, 2001.
61 A Short History of the Lompico Headwaters Logging Plans, Lompico Watershed Conservancy, 2004,
62 “Appeal Upheld: Lompico Headwaters Logging Denied,” The Ventana, Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club, 2004, http://
63 Aleta George, “Sempervirens Fund Purchase,” Bay Nature, April 1, 2006, fund-purchase/.
64 Michael Svanevik and Shirley Burgett, “Other Times: Hidden Forest Lost after Ineffective Struggle,” San Mateo Times, March 8, 1991.
65 Ibid.
66 Lydon, “The History of Redwood Forest Preservation.”; According to Governor Knight’s office, he vetoed all eighteen projects of the 1955 Omnibus Parks Bill because “he objected to the lack of a priority system and abandonment of the principle of matching the state funds with either private donations or local allocations;” San Bernardino County, Sunday, July 10, 1955, 2:3.
67 Svanevik and Burgett, “Other Times: Hidden Forest Lost after Ineffective Struggle.”
68 Lydon, “The History of Redwood Forest Preservation,” 144.
69 Paul Rogers, “820 Acres Will be Added to Butano State Park,” San Jose Mercury News, June 18, 1997, 2B:1.
70 Dennis Davie, Personal communication with the author, 2012. 71 Dan White, “After the Fall: Tree-sitter’s Death Prompts Debate
on Earth First! Tactics,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 27, 2002.
72    Non-concurrence    with    Review    Team    Chairperson’s Recommendation for Approval of Timber Harvesting Plan 1-08-063 SMO “Lagomarsino,” California Department of Fish and Game, 2010, http:/ public_lands/forests/pdfs/DFG_Memo_Non-Concurrence.pdf.
73 The Redwoods & Climate Change Initiative, a research project funded by Save-the-Redwoods League and the Sempervirens Fund,, accessed February 8, 2014.
74 Noss, The Redwood Forest—History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods, 255.