Bay Nature magazineApril-June 2006


Sempervirens Fund Purchase

April 1, 2006

The Bay Area has a rich history of women speaking out to protect lands we know and love. At the turn of the last century, when a forest fire broke out in the Santa Cruz Mountains, writer Josephine Clifford McCrackin helped start a campaign that led to the formation of the Sempervirens Club, which has been preserving redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains ever since.

The group, now called the Sempervirens Fund, is poised to purchase two parcels of redwood forest: 425 acres at Lompico Headwaters (once called Islandia and a storied source of inspiration for rockers Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin) and 200 acres at Malosky Creek, where eight raptor species—including Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks—soar over redwood-covered sandstone ravines. Sempervirens Fund has paid $100,000 to secure an option to buy the properties, but the remaining funds for the $5.5 million purchase price must be raised by June 30.

Since 1998, the volunteer-run Lompico Watershed Conservancy has been fighting the timber harvest plans of landowner Roger Burch’s Redwood Empire lumber company. “Without a fight, this land would have been logged a long time ago,” says Lompico Watershed Conservancy volunteer Kevin Collins, who has been involved in the campaign since the beginning.

The purchase of the properties will protect in perpetuity the mixed forests of redwood, oaks, madrones, and maples that help stabilize the rapidly incising sandstone canyons. Without the forest to slow erosion, sediment loads would muddy Lompico and Malosky Creeks, two vital drinking water sources for the Lompico and Boulder Creek communities. The protection of the watershed will also safeguard spawning habitat for steelhead trout.

To find out more about these properties, visit

About the Author

Writer Aleta George trained as a Jepson Prairie docent in 2009. In addition to writing Bay Nature's Ear to the Ground column, she has written for Smithsonian, High Country News, and the Los Angeles Times.