The Sempervirens Fund made a quick push in mid-January to raise $2.86 million. On Tuesday, they announced that they met their goal with the help of 1,133 donors and successfully purchased 153 acres of redwood forest in Boulder Creek.
The land borders Big Basin State Park, which the Sempervirens helped establish in 1902. The fund plans for the gateway property to eventually become part of the state park.
“The Gateway is a conservation gem,” said Laura McLendon, director of conservation for the Sempervirens Fund, in a press release on Tuesday.
Loggers clear-cut the property at the beginning of the 20th century. But more than 100 years later, it contains healthy second-growth forests of redwoods, Douglas firs, coast live oaks, tanoaks and madrones, as well as streams and waterfalls that make up part of the headwaters of the Boulder Creek watershed and San Lorenzo River.
“We also see this as part of a larger contribution to the restoration and protection of that broader watershed,” said Sara Barth, executive director of the Sempervirens Fund, in an interview last month.
The Sempervirens Fund purchased the land from Verve Coffee Roasters co-owner Colby Barr, who bought the land in receivership in 2020 after the previous owner, Roy Kaylor, used it as a junkyard.
After a couple of years of cleanups, the property now has healthy soil and water. The CZU Fire burned through it, but not as intensely as in neighboring Big Basin.
The Sempervirens Fund plans to open the area to the public after a bit of trail development. They hope it will help people experience the feeling of the forest while most of the park remains closed for fire recovery.