"SANTA CRUZ - Plans for trails in a protected redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains got a big boost from donations.
Santa Cruz Bicycles, a local high-end mountain bike manufacturer, recently donated $500,000 to build 38 miles of multi-use trails with the goal of getting people out to the San Vicente Redwoods, a swath of protected land previously owned by Cemex located between Davenport and Bonny Doon. An anonymous donor also matched the gift, which went to the nonprofits that have managed the land since 2011.
And since 2013, they’ve been working on a public access plan, which involved about 100 meetings with the community at large and small groups, agencies and neighborhoods. “What we’re really trying to do here is provide a great opportunity for people to get outside and connect with nature in a way that’s sensitive to the environment and has the highest standards for sustainability,” said Bryan Largay, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County’s conservation director, who’s spearheading the public access plan. He said the trails will be open to hikers and their dogs, horseback riders and mountain bikers hopefully by 2018. To avoid conflict in the forest, there will be separate trails for bikers and horses.
The plan also includes trails that lead to vista points and a “skyline-to-the-sea”-like trail that would connect to the adjacent Coast Dairies property, which the Bureau of Land Management says it plans to open to the public. And because a major community concern was wildfires, camping or other nighttime activities won’t be allowed in the San Vicente Redwoods. In addition, the trail plan steers clear of sensitive streams and places where mountain lions are known to den.
“We were careful to leave big chunks of the property open,” Largay said. The Land Trust is currently campaigning to raise $20 million for various projects such as the public access trails, including a wildlife tunnel under Highway 17 and a trail alongside the countywide railroad that hugs the coast. About $7 million of that money is intended for trails at the San Vicente Redwoods, Watsonville Slough Farm and Glenwood Open Space Preserve in Scotts Valley. Largay said the nonprofit has already raised about $3.5 million, which is half of the goal.
To see the original article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper, CLICK HERE.