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GCA Grant Helps Rebuild at California’s Oldest State Park

 

March 18, 2021

Restoration Initiative Funds go to Woodside-Atherton Garden Club

In 2020, wildfires destroyed 86,000 acres on the San Francisco Peninsula, including Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park. The highlight of this 18,000 acre preserve is the 4,300 acre grove of old-growth redwoods—by far the largest remaining continuous stand of Coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) in existence south of San Francisco. The fires burned through ninety-seven percent of the park, destroying trees, shrubs, undergrowth, wildlife, trails, bridges, and the park’s historic 102-year-old lodge, which had served as a welcome center for thousands of visitors every year.

In an effort to help reopen the park, The Garden Club of America has awarded a $10,000 Restoration Initiative grant to Woodside-Atherton Garden Club. Partnering with Save The Redwoods League, the club will use grant funds in conjunction with the current renovation of the Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center. The welcome center will serve as the only entrance into the old growth forest. 

At Big Basin, the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club will work with Save the Redwoods League (STRL) and the five fellow Bay Area GCA clubs to spearhead the replanting of natural areas around the welcome center. Additionally, they will create native plant informational beds. Both of these areas will help visitors understand the ecosystem of the old growth forest just before heading into the ancient grove.

The effort continues a collaboration with STRL that extends ninety years. In 1931, the GCA first forged a working partnership with STRL to purchase and permanently protect the 2,552-acre Garden Club of America Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Now covering more than 5,100 acres, the GCA Grove is the third-largest dedicated grove in the entire state park system. The “Bridge the Gap” campaign, completed in 2015, raised funds to complete trail and bridge repairs at the GCA Grove. In 2018, the GCA recognized STRL with the Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor Medal

The GCA established the Restoration Initiative in 2017 in response to the urgent needs caused by catastrophic storms, hurricanes, floods, fires, and mudslides to assist member clubs involved in public landscape restoration and conservation projects. Eleven grants, totaling $110,000, have been awarded to clubs in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas.

 

 

 

 

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