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Front St.Trails Section - Clovis Free PressBack St.
Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press
September 26, 2000

By Amy Williams


Waterman Gap at Boulder Creek

   SANTA CRUZ -- Today, the Sempervirens Fund signed a $10,900,000 contract to purchase the 1,340-acre San Lorenzo River Redwoods.The Fund will spend $200,000 to open escrow next Monday and will incur the biggest debt in its long history. Sempervirens Fund Executive Director Brian Steen announced, "We could wait no longer. We have worked to buy and protect this forest for over 20 years.
   The Fund looks forward to the beginning of a major campaign to complete this acquisition contract." Located eight miles north of Boulder Creek this property, also known as Waterman Gap, was approved for sale last night by the San Lorenzo Valley Water District in a 5-0 vote.
   The District has owned the land since 1946 when it was donated as a potential site for a reservoir. Since it was heavily logged 100 years ago, this forest has recovered without interference to now contain more than 50 million board feet of redwood. Logging companies have pressured the District for years to let them cut and remove this redwood resource. Big Creek Lumber submitted a proposal for $19 million yesterday, only three hours before the Board's vote.
R   edwood Empire, a San Jose based logging company with sawmill facilities in Cloverdale, offered $12.5 million a week earlier. Both proposals had specified the condition that the District be responsible to obtain an approved Timber Harvest Permit.
   The Water District rejected both offers Thursday stating the District would not consider any proposal that specified their securing a THP. Instead, the District chose sell to Sempervirens and to follow the mandate of it's Citizens' Advisory Committee which concluded the property should be "restored and protected for all generations as an irreplaceable water catchment basin with ecological processes that are characteristic of an old-growth forest."
   The Sempervirens Fund intends to convey this redwood forest to the State Park system as an addition to Castle Rock State Park. According to State Parks Santa Cruz District Superintendent Dave Vincent, "Protecting this land has long been a high priority for State Parks." Following this conveyance, the State will initiate a public planning process to prepare for the long-term protection and appropriate use of what local residents call "the jewel of the San Lorenzo River Valley". Sempervirens Fund has a 30-year history of acquiring land to add to the 3,611 acre Castle Rock State Park.
    Varian, a Sempervirens Fund Board Member, led the original efforts to establish this park. Each acquisition and fundraising campaign was guided by her vision of the park to encourage "the simpler, more primitive forms of use, with the least disturbance to the scenic pristine beauty of the overall natural setting." Sempervirens Fund is aggressively seeking to obtain half of the purchase cost from the State funding of Proposition 12, a conservation funding initiative approved by voters on March 12, 2000.
   However, no commitments are expected from the State until July 2001 when the next budget is approved.

   [Editor's Note: For more information, contact Brian Steen, 650-968-4509 Click to go to the Web site sempervirens.org ].

Letter to the Editor

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