California State Parks and the Sempervirens Fund have unveiled a significant expansion of Castle Rock State Park in Los Gatos, Calif. The park has acquired six properties totaling 222 acres with a value of $4.21 million. This marks the first acquisition by the state agency in the Santa Cruz Park District since 2011 and the first in the entire state since 2021.
The expansion includes the Robert C. Kirkwood entrance, which was established by the Sempervirens Fund on land it procured from a private landowner and opened to the public in 2019. The increased accessibility led to a rise in park visitation.
“We are delighted to collaborate with the Sempervirens Fund to enhance this already exceptional park and make the stunning redwood forest more accessible to Californians,” stated Armando Quintero, Director of California State Parks. “Our commitment is to preserve and protect these extraordinary landscapes for future generations and the health of our natural ecosystems.”
Sempervirens Fund Executive Director Sara Barth emphasized the significance of this expansion in maintaining the conservation vision in the Santa Cruz mountains. Barth noted the organization’s involvement in the park’s inception in 1968 and its ongoing commitment to its conservation.
The properties acquired encompass various sections of the park, including the Robert C. Kirkwood entrance, the Sempervirens 236 area, Castle Rock West, and the Saratoga Toll Road Properties. These acquisitions bolster the park’s ecological diversity and enrich the visitor experience.
In response to the acquisition, Wade Crowfoot, California’s Natural Resources Secretary, applauded the collaboration between conservation groups and government entities in preserving natural resources and expanding recreation opportunities.
Notably, the expansion effort is supported by individual donations and organizations like The Kirkwood Family, The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation, REI Co-op, Portola and Castle Rock Foundation, and many others.
The added properties, spanning over 222 acres, highlight a significant achievement in preserving and expanding Castle Rock State Park. The collaborative effort between government bodies and local nonprofits showcases a unified approach to maintaining and rejuvenating the park’s ecological and recreational significance.