A Rare Chance to Save Acres of Redwood Trees

I’ve always been fascinated by California’s redwoods. A tree that is 1,000 years old, 2,000 years old, means that it existed back in medieval, in ancient times. It is likely that a couple hundred acres of land containing some of the last remaining old-growth redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains in northern California will be preserved. The San Francisco-based Save the Redwoods League hopes to purchase what experts say is the third-largest old-growth redwoods grove in the area from a family who has owned the land for 38 years.

As the redwoods league underscores, it is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to save the 145 acres of Peters Creek Old-Growth Forest and the 214 acres of Boulder Creek Forest.

Money, unfortunately, is standing in the way of saving these trees. The Save the Redwoods League needs to make a $2 million down payment by the end of this year to seal the deal. The rest of the purchasing price of $8 million must then be paid by December of 2013.

The Peninsula Open Space Trust recently donated $1.125 million to the cause. This trust and the redwoods league are both part of the Living Landscape Initiative, which is working to preserve 20,000 acres of redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

If the deal goes through, this land with its majestic trees near Portola Redwoods State Park will be permanently protected and a conservation easement be established on some of the land. Conservationists also hope to increase public access by building more trails. Ultimately, the hope is that the California State Parks system can purchase the land, when the state’s finances are better.

Once groves of redwoods were widespread in California but today, as SFGate underscores, “it is a minor miracle that any redwoods still exist in what was once an enormous wilderness of giant trees, grizzly bears and shaded creeks teeming with coho salmon and steelhead trout.” The California Gold Rush brought a huge influx of homesteaders and, with them, the beginning of logging. Nonetheless, many old-growth trees survived because the real demand was for shingles, which require a particular grain of wood.

Ownership of the groves of redwoods has shifted hands a number of times. Some of the land was purchased in 1924 by the Islam Shrine of the Masonic Lodge; the Shriners built cabins and camp facilities and prohibited logging. The family of the current owner, Larry Holmes, bought the site in 1977.

Trails along Peters Creek lead into Portola Redwoods State Park, which is famous for its 200-foot and higher old-growth trees. SFGate points out that, currently, “the public can reach the redwoods inside the park only via a steep and circuitous 11-mile round trip route.” Adding the additional groves would make access far easier and enable more people to enjoy the beauty of the park and its trees.

Here in New Jersey, so many trees — certainly not as old or tall as the redwoods — were felled due to Hurricane Sandy. The sight of one huge trunk after another torn from its roots and lying flat on the ground has brought home how significant a part of the landscape trees are. Suburban streets look sadly barren and damaged without them.

Experts express confidence that the Peters Creek and Boulder Creek lands will eventually become part of the California state parks system and we have to hope they are right. I don’t care to think what the Santa Cruz Mountains would looks like without those groves of giant trees.

Related Care2 Coverage

California’s Smog Problem Putting Giant Sequoia Redwoods At Risk

Chopping Down Redwoods to Make Wine

California Will Close Up To 70 State Parks To Save Money

Photo by Nathan Jongewaard


Fiona T.
Past Member 4 years ago

We've got to join hands for the job

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Miranda Parkinson

a wonderful gesture!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Kristina, for Sharing this!

Raghunath Singh Ranawat


Kay Caldwell
Onita N4 years ago

Lisa, honey, one would think that someone who won the lottery woul want to do something worthwhile with part of their bounty, but unfortunately most people are either too greedy or too dumb to even think about something like this. Every time I hear about someone winning the lottery I can't help but think about the poor old redneck that, when ask how that were going to spend the money, he said that they were going to buy a double-wide trailer and move to AL. This is not a joke, it actually happened, right here in GA.

Lisa A.
Lisa A4 years ago

thanks Celia D. --bumping up the link so all can see: www.savetheredwoods.org

Lisa A.
Lisa A4 years ago

I want to donate some money -- collectively they may be able to raise enough if everyone chips in -- they just need to publicized this more as this is the first time I've actually even read they were doing this. Many more would donate if they get the word out. I've often wondered why the huge lottery winners don't contribute to things like this- instead of going hog-wild buying several homes and 28 luxury cars . Maybe the reason God opens the door for someone to receive a sudden financial windfall is not necessarily so they spend it all for themselves, but to help out in situations such as this. Giving our unexpected wealth to protect His threatened Creation , or helping people where urgent help is needed.

Vicky P.
Vicky P4 years ago


Kathy D.
Kathy D4 years ago

What about Oprah or any of the super rich movie stars that live there.Robert Redford or some of his buddies I am sure could easily buy it no problem. Really he constantly stands behind the environment?