Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lompico Headwaters

From Santa Cruz Sentinal:

Lompico headwaters may be spared from loggers
By Brian Seals
Sentinel staff writer

LOMPICO — The ghost of Jerry Garcia, as well as those who get their water from Lompico Creek, may have reason to rest easier.

The Sempervirens Fund announced Wednesday it has secured an option to buy 425 forested acres, known as the Lompico Headwaters or Islandia, from Roger Burch, owner of San Jose timber company Redwood Empire.

The property, part of a watershed that provides water for 1,500 residents and once the stomping ground for the Grateful Dead's front man, was being considered for logging. Purchase by the Los Altos-based land trust would head off an environmental controversy; Redwood Empire filed plans late last year to log the land, just as it tried to do in 2001.

Part of the $5.6 million deal would include the purchase of about 200 acres known as the Malosky Creek Forest near Boulder Creek.

In 2001, Redwood Empire sought to log the Lompico Headwaters. Over a roar of community opposition, the plan garnered approval of state regulators but was later shot down by the California Board of Forestry after the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors appealed.
Residents were concerned logging on the steep terrain would potentially harm the creek, which provides water for the Lompico Water District.

"This is important because of the water that comes from this property," said Brian Steen, Sempervirens Fund executive director.

The land also fits with the organization's 106-year-old protection mission.

"It's redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains — saving this land has been our charter for over 100 years," Steen said.

Opponents of the logging plan were pleased with the announcement.

"I'm hoping it's a realization of the landowner that it's not an appropriate place for logging," said 5th District county Supervisor Mark Stone, who represents the area. "I'm just thrilled we're going to be able to protect this piece of land."

Burch was out of town and unavailable to comment.

Aside from providing water for the Lompico Water District and providing steelhead habitat, the land is said to have been frequented during the 1960s by people such as the late guitarist Garcia and singer Janis Joplin.

Groups like the Lompico Watershed Conservancy have for years tried to buy the land from logging companies.

"It was always the solution we sought for the predicament over that property," said Kevin Collins, president of the Lompico Watershed Conservancy. "The conservancy has spent years trying to hold off logging of this land, so we would certainly put all our efforts into helping Sempervirens raise those funds."

Time, however, could be a hurdle to the deal coming to fruition. The Sempervirens Fund has a June 30 deadline to raise the money. The first $100,000 will come from the group's Opportunity Fund.

"This will be the most aggressive fundraising campaign in the fund's history," Steen said.
Still, he called the goal "do-able."

The logging plan was still winding its way through the regulatory process, said forester Dave Van Lennep at Redwood Empire's Capitola office. The plan would have produced more than 14 million board feet of redwood and Douglas fir trees, according to the Sempervirens Fund.

The Malosky Creek property is also vital to the area's water supply. It sits between two parcels owned by the San Lorenzo Valley Water District.

The Sempervirens Fund has worked to preserve forests since 1900, when it bought what became Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

In more recent times, Sempervirens raised $10.8 million to add the San Lorenzo Redwoods forest to Castle Rock State Park.

While the group transfers the lands it has secured to public agencies, Steen said no determination has been made at this point as to who would oversee the property if the deal is completed.

For information about the fundraising campaign, log on to or call 650 968-4509.

Contact Brian Seals at

From Mercury News:

Watershed redwoods saved from logging
By Ken McLaughlin
Mercury News

The Sempervirens Fund, the venerable Los Altos-based conservancy, has apparently ended the most contentious logging dispute in recent Santa Cruz County history by securing an option to buy two redwood-studded properties in the Santa Cruz Mountains for $5.6 million.

The properties are the Lompico Headwaters and the Malosky Creek Forest. Once an inspiration to rock musicians Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin, who frequented the area in the '60s, the Lompico Headwaters is the primary water source to 1,500 residents of the tiny mountain community.

The fund's last-minute intervention prevented the logging of hundreds of redwood and Douglas fir trees on the 425-acre Lompico property. The logging plan was submitted by San Jose-based Redwood Empire, owned by Morgan Hill resident Roger Burch.

Brian Steen, executive director of the Sempervirens Fund, said Wednesday that Burch donated some of the land value to complete the transaction. Burch could not be reached for comment.
``It's an excellent development,'' said Jodi Frediani, director of Boulder Creek-based Citizens for Responsible Forest Management. ``It's about time we recognize the importance of protecting watersheds that provide drinking water to the communities.''

Kevin Collins, board president of the Lompico Watershed Conservancy, said members of the volunteer group were not aware of the negotiations until Saturday.

``We're very, very pleased,'' he said, noting that the group had unsuccessfully tried to buy the Lompico property, ``but we don't have the same resources or reputation as Sempervirens.''
The battle over the Lompico property began in 2001 after Redwood Empire submitted a timber-harvest plan, which was then approved by the California Department of Forestry. The county of Santa Cruz successfully appealed the decision to the Board of Forestry, but a newly submitted harvest plan was pending approval.

Logging opponents cited concerns about environmental impacts to fisheries, wildlife habitat and water quality. Redwood Empire said the plan was carefully designed to protect the drinking supply.

The Malosky Creek Forest is a redwood and Douglas fir forest near Boulder Creek. The 200-acre property supplies water to the mountain town and is in between parcels owned by the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, which serves 17,500 water customers.

Steen said the group will use $100,000 to secure the purchase. The deadline to raise the remaining $5.5 million is June 30.


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