The Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary celebration theme, “Forever Green,” now rings more true thanks to the purchase by Sempervirens Fund of conservation easements on two Girl Scout properties in the Santa Cruz Mountains that will protect redwood forests and habitat from subdivision, development, and commercial timber harvest while enabling Girl Scouts to continue camp operations.
On March 1, Sempervirens Fund purchased conservation easements in the amount of $2.86 million for two Girl Scout properties: the 270-acre Skylark Ranch near Ano Nuevo and the 142-acre Camp Butano Creek near Pescadero.
“Sempervirens, which is part of the Latin name for the coast redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens, means ‘always living,'” said Reed Holderman, Executive Director of Sempervirens Fund. “That’s what these conservation easements will do: permanently protect the magnificent coast redwoods today while allowing young people to learn an appreciation for nature for generations to come.”
Both properties have very high conservation resource values, including over 1,420 old-growth trees that will be permanently protected. The properties are located in high priority conservation areas that provide habitat for the marbled murrelet, an endangered sea bird, and the endangered central coast Steelhead trout.
The conservation easements will ensure permanent protection of the natural resources on the properties by stripping the properties of their development rights while allowing Girl Scouts to retain ownership of the land, fund the upgrades and maintenance of camp facilities, and continue camp operations.
“Girl Scouts have always been green, starting with our long-standing pledge to ‘use resources wisely,'” said Marina Park, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern California. “The conservation easements are win-win, helping us contribute to the conservation of our beautiful redwood forests while also providing funds to help conserve our properties and the camp experience for girls.”
A portion of the funding for this project, $750,000, came from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and was provided through Resource Legacy Fund’s Living Landscape Initiative Challenge Grant Program. Girl Scouts is investing proceeds in a newly established “property reserve” and will use the income generated to help off-set maintenance and repair costs. Almost 10,000 campers enjoy over 36,000 days of summer and school-year camp experiences on these properties each year.
The protection of the Camp Butano Creek and Skylark Ranch properties will add 412 acres onto an expansive network of connected protected lands that total 34,000 acres. Camp Butano Creek adjoins Butano State Park on two sides. Skylark Ranch shares its western border with Ano Nuevo State Reserve and nearly directly adjoins with Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
Sempervirens Fund is a nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Sempervirens is the oldest land trust in California and has saved over 33,500 acres of redwoods since 1900. Visit http://www.sempervirens.org to learn more.
Girl Scouts of Northern California serves a diverse membership of 47,000 girls and over 32,000 adult volunteers in a nineteen-county area from Gilroy to the Oregon border. To learn more about Girl Scouts NorCal, visit www.GirlScoutsNorCal.org.