Big Basin Redwoods State Park
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Big Basin’s new era, Sandy Skees on a new age of branding, and a rumination on aging

Good morning, fellow Santa Cruzans.

Correspondent Max Chun here taking the reins this morning. I hope you’re off to a great start to your week and have not already resigned to begging for the weekend to come.

It’s Tuesday, July 25, and that warm summer weather is poised to stick around. The forecast says we’re in for clear skies and sunshine and a high of 78F in the late afternoon.

Without further ado, let’s hop into the news.

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This past weekend marked the one-year anniversary of Big Basin’s reopening following its 2020 CZU fire devastation. Although California State Parks has made significant strides in restoring the wooded sanctuary, much is left to be done, including the construction of new permanent facilities. I talked to Big Basin Senior Project Planner Will Fourt, who gave me some insight into the long road ahead.

On deck is Wallace Baine, who sat down with Soquel-based branding consultant Sandy Skees to discuss her new book “Purposeful Brands,” in which she asserts that brands can no longer ignore consumer demands that they focus on more than just profits. Instead they must address how they will contribute to tackling important issues, such as sustainability and diversity. Skees will make an appearance at Bookshop Santa Cruz later this week.

Our regular columnist Claudia Sternbach is back, and she has the “recipe for longevity.” Well, maybe. Her 93-year-old mother-in-law, Rozzy, is coming to California next week, and she’s still full of energy. That has caused Sternbach herself to think differently about aging.

Plus, don’t forget to join Wallace Baine at Lookout’s trivia night tonight at Abbott Square starting at 6:30 p.m. RSVP for it here.

Now, let’s head dig into those headlines.

A year after reopening, how far has Big Basin come — and how far does it still need to go?

State Parks District Superintendent Chris Spohrer speaks at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary since Big Basin Redwoods State Park welcomed visitors back into the beloved, sprawling redwood forest following the devastation of the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex. The park in its current state is ‘almost unrecognizable’ from its pre-2020 iteration, parks officials say, even after nearly three years of intensive restoration work. While the park has made big strides, with more trails and campgrounds reopened to the public now than over the last two years, California State Parks is just beginning the process of studying what kinds of new permanent facilities will be built in the park, and where. Read the whole story here.

MORE ON BIG BASIN: State Parks studies new amenities for Big Basin visitor center lost to CZU fire.

A brave new world: Sandy Skees shares how businesses can succeed with a new generation of consumers

Soquel-based branding consultant Sandy Skees helps businesses and brand managers negotiate this complex new world where consumers expect companies to care about more than just turning a profit. Today’s brands need to show they are paying attention to their environmental and social footprints. She shares her insights in a new book and she’ll be speaking at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Thursday. Read her interview with Wallace Baine here.

BARBIE: Wallace Baine and two high schoolers on how the iconic American doll resonates across generations

I think my mother-in-law has discovered the Fountain of Youth

The author's mother-in-law, Roz, had a Santa Cruz skating party for her 60th birthday.
The author’s mother-in-law, Roz, had a Santa Cruz skating party for her 60th birthday.
(Via Claudia Sternbach)

Juan Ponce de León never found the Fountain of Youth. In fact, he never even looked for it; that is just a weird rumor. But Lookout columnist Claudia Sternbach, who often writes about life in her 70s, believes her 93-year-old mother-in-law, Rozzy, holds the secret many of us crave — the recipe for longevity. Rozzy is coming to California next week and is still wave jumping and making airport runs and hard to tire out, even in her ninth decade. She is also making Sternbach rethink her attitude about aging. Read Claudia Sternbach’s piece here.

MORE FROM CLAUDIA STERNBACH: How did I get old enough to have dead former boyfriends and a dead ex?


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And that’s all from me on this fine Tuesday morning. Keep your eyes peeled for the Lily’s newsletter, “Lily Belli on Food,” publishing this afternoon. She’ll give you her latest rundown on all the good eats here in Santa Cruz County.

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Hope everyone has a good Tuesday! Catch y’all later.

Max Chun
Lookout Santa Cruz