Quick Take:

Join Sempervirens Fund for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to permanently protect 153 acres of redwood forests and preserve a scenic approach into Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Together, we have the opportunity to preserve the Gateway to Big Basin.

big basin aerial gif
Credit: Jordan Plotsky

Sempervirens Fund believes that preserving the Gateway to Big Basin permanently protects critical redwood forests and watershed lands, improving the resiliency and health of regional habitats in the Santa Cruz mountains.

What’s at stake

big basin
Credit: Hasain Rasheed

Once clear-cut and later heaped with debris, the Gateway to Big Basin’s 153-acres of second-growth forest is healthy, laced with creeks, canyons, meadows, and a spring. It is also the scenic setting leading into Big Basin Redwoods State Park along Highway 236. The Gateway’s proximity to the state’s oldest park makes its precious resources all the more paramount to protect.

Just as redwoods are stronger together—shielding, anchoring, and nurturing one another—so too are the forests, waterways, and habitats. By protecting connected lands the collective health and resilience of the forests, watersheds, and wildlife can better withstand challenges ahead, like drought, fires, and higher temperatures.

With so much at stake and under unprecedented circumstances, what can we do to make sure that the Gateway’s precious resources are protected and can help the forests of the Santa Cruz mountains endure the climate challenges ahead? The Sempervirens Fund Land Team shares with us five key reasons the Gateway to Big Basin is worth preserving, for Big Basin, for wildlife, for all, forever.

1. Protecting Waterways

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Credit: Hasain Rasheed

From the Gateway’s three forested ridges, water flows down through the Gateway into waterfalls and creeks, and through canyons. Here, headwaters merge with waterways from Big Basin to form the Boulder Creek watershed and the San Lorenzo River, the largest waterway in the Santa Cruz mountains.

2. Preserving Redwoods

big basin
Credit: Hasain Rasheed

From roots to leaf tips, healthy coast redwoods are natural guardians for habitats in their understory. At the Gateway to Big Basin, redwoods—which burned less severely in the 2020 CZU fire than in the neighboring park—will recover more quickly and continue to support the plants and wildlife that rely on them so they won’t disappear from the area.

3. Supporting Wildlife

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Credit: Colby Barr

Protecting the Gateway to Big Basin’s 153-acres will preserve an important wildlife corridor for animals, like mountain lions and grey foxes, to access thousands of acres of protected habitat from the mountains to the sea.

4. Conserving a Seedbank

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Credit: Hasain Rasheed

Douglas firs stand at the Gateway to Big Basin, which survived the fire in a pocket that burned less severely than surrounding areas, provides an opportunity to harvest healthy seeds to grow into seedlings for reforesting areas in Big Basin State Park if needed.

5. Reimagining Big Basin

big basin
Credit: Hasain Rasheed

Imagine hiking and camping experiences for all among the Gateway’s forests, creeks, and meadows. California State Parks have indicated that this property aligns with their expectations for the future of the adjacent Big Basin Redwoods State Park, as they plan for its recovery from fire, reopening the park to the public, and management of both the park’s natural resources and recreational and interpretive experiences.

    Putting the pieces together

    Big Basin aerial view
    Credit: D. Mulvaney

    In 1900, Sempervirens Fund launched the redwoods conservation movement with the initial campaign that established Big Basin Redwoods State Park and launched the California State Park system in 1902. Over many decades they have protected most of the parks’ more than 18,000 acres. In the 1980s, the Road to the Redwoods campaign culminated in protecting land which expanded the southern entrance to the park.

    Now with the Campaign to Preserve the Gateway to Big Basin, they continue their commitment to protecting redwood forests, for Big Basin, and in the Santa Cruz mountains. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of critical forests and waterways—home to countless species—and connect to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, for generations more to enjoy.

    Jessica M. Pasko has been writing professionally for almost two decades.She cut her teeth in journalism as a reporter for the Associated Press in her native Albany, NY, where she covered everything from...