The Bay Area never ceases to amaze me. You can sit at a café in San Francisco, surrounded by people from all over the world, with endless culinary options and activities—all the spoils of urban life. Or, you can drive 30 miles away and in less than an hour be completely alone with nature. The options are endless there, too—bay, ocean, mountain and the most unique part of it all, our local redwood forests.
Originally from the Midwest, I recently moved from San Francisco to the Peninsula. Without the distractions of urban life, I find myself increasingly drawn to the open spaces and protected lands in Silicon Valley’s backyard. Nature has become my respite—the only thing that clears my head and makes me feel whole. I’m so thankful that I landed a job at POST, or else I might never have known how important nature and the outdoors is to me.
Since POST launched its Heart of the Redwoods Campaign a few months ago, I’m continually learning new things about these giant trees, which in turn fuels my curiosity and amazement. I never realized that only 5 percent of California’s old-growth redwoods remain standing, and that the Santa Cruz Mountains—which are now visible from my Peninsula apartment—harbor some of the last unprotected redwoods in the world. When my friends and family come to visit me, I always take them to see the redwoods. To see the look of awe that crosses each of their faces makes me proud of my new home and the decision I made to live in this unique part of our country.
For all of these reasons, I’ve made a challenge to myself: I want to hike every park in the Santa Cruz Mountains over the next six months that contains redwood forests! And, I’m going to write all about it here on POST’s blog. I plan to start with the following (in no particular order):
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park
- Little Basin (POST-protected, now part of Big Basin)
- Portola Redwoods State Park (POST provided funding to help keep this park open)
- Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve
- Butano State Park (POST has added land to this park)
- Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
- Fall Creek Unit, Henry Cowell
- Huddart County Park
- Sam McDonald County Park
- Pescadero Creek County Park
- Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
- Wilder Ranch State Park
- Castle Rock State Park
- Bear Creek Redwoods (POST-protected, currently owned by MROSD; open to the public by permit only)
When I made this decision, I had no idea there were so many parks with redwoods in our region. This is definitely going to be a challenge, but I’m excited to start exploring and sharing my experience via POST’s blog.
I’ll be posting regularly over the next six months. I hope you will follow my posts, share your own redwood experiences and photos, and enjoy this journey with me!