Sempervirens Fund buys 267 acres of redwoods near Castle Rock and Butano State Parks

By on Mon, January 11, 2010

Two redwood forest properties totaling 267 acres have been sold for $2.1 million by Redtree Properties to Sempervirens Fund, a non-profit land trust, based in Mountain View, reports the Mercury News.

The first parcel, at 107 acres, is located at Waterman Gap, seven miles north of Boulder Creek near the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 236. First logged a century ago, the property sits adjacent to the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, a popular 35-mile hiking route that links Castle Rock State Park to the Pacific Ocean.

Last year, Redtree obtained state permits to cut about 35 percent of the redwood and Douglas fir trees on the property larger than 18 inches in diameter.

"The trees are marked with blue x’s. They have the logging permits. They have the landing sites. It was ready to go,’’ said Reed Holderman, executive director of Sempervirens Fund. "There are some pretty sizable trees, second-growth redwoods there, about 100 years old."

Sempervirens will sell the land to the sate for the price that it paid to be added to the surrounding Castle Rock State Park when it is able to pay the $1.4 million.

The other property in the sale, at 160 acres, sold for $760,000 and is located in San Mateo County between Butano State Park and Pescadero Creek County Park in La Honda. Redtree had not proposed logging it. At least 30 acres contain old-growth redwoods suitable for marbeled murrelets, a type of endangered sea bird that nests in ancient trees nearby, Holderman said.

Sempervirens Fund, named for the Latin word for redwood, was founded in 1900 by San Jose photographer Andrew P. Hill and his colleagues. Its efforts saved the first trees at Big Basin and began California’s state park system.

Timber companies have been more eager to sell to conservation groups in the current eocnomic environment. Redtree still owns 7,000 acres of forestland in the Santa Cruz Mountains.