The Forest Celebrates its 26th Anniversary
What is the Soquel Demonstration State Forest?
Published in the Mountain Network News, July, 2016.
Many long-time mountain residents will recall the dedication of SDSF on July 13, 1990. The Nature Conservancy hosted a wonderful picnic and former Assemblyman Sam Farr spoke to the guests regarding the goals of SDSF. Newer arrivals to our mountain community may know it as the “Demo Forest,” the name that mountain bikers use for SDSF. Still others may have no idea of what this nearly 2700-acre public timberland is about or even where it is located.
SDSF is a beautiful redwood forest managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to provide watershed protection, forestry education and research opportunities, and to demonstrate sustainable forest management. When driving east on Highland Way, it is the ridge area that you see when looking to the south across the “canyon.” SDSF is bounded by The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park to the south, the East Branch of Soquel Creek to the north and Amaya Ridge and the Olive Springs Quarry to the west and south. SDSF also includes the lower portions of Longridge and Amaya Basin.
This year marks the 26th anniversary of SDSF, and CAL FIRE and the Stewards of Soquel Forest (the non-profit support group for SDSF) are celebrating with a fun and educational Open House on Saturday, August 6, 2016 to give the mountain community and the general public a look at the many activities that occur there. From the main entrance on Highland Way, participants can hike, bike or take a shuttle 4.5 miles down to the Badger Springs picnic area to experience the beauty, view exhibits, wade in the cool creek, watch a tree-felling demonstration and partake in some good food and drink. This free, special event should not be missed by folks interested in fisheries, wildlife, Sudden Oak Death, archaeology and best management practices of forests and watersheds.
Please visit the Stewards of Soquel Forest website (www.soquelforest.com) for more information and to RSVP. Making a reservation by 7/31/16 will entitle you to a free food voucher and a “priority” shuttle seat, and will be extremely helpful for our planning purposes. Also see the side bar for additional information on the SDSF celebration. SDSF in collaboration with UC Berkeley is releasing an educational Android App called Nature Tour. The Nature Tour app will enable visitors to listen to information on their Android devices at 18 separate stops throughout the forest along Hihn's Mill Road on the way to Badger Spring Picnic Area. It is best to download the app prior to visiting the forest. Instructions for downloading are located on the Steward's website.
During the first years of SDSF, forest staff and many natural resource professionals collected information on most of the natural resources of the state forest area. Several inventories and surveys were completed including research on fisheries, wildlife, geology, archaeology, watershed, roads, trails, recreation use, forest history, vegetation and timber. This information was used to develop the first General Forest Management Plan (GFMP) which describes the history and current condition of the forest’s natural resources and sets the course of action including specific objectives that the forest staff is to accomplish in the coming years.
This plan was developed with the assistance of the SDSF Advisory Committee, a nine-member group including public members and local and state agency representatives. Mrs. Patricia Marland has faithfully served as your neighborhood representative and the Committee’s Secretary for all of these years. Members of Citizens for Responsible Forest Management worked hard to ensure that the goals of the SDSF enabling legislation were correctly embodied in the GFMP. Ultimately, the GFMP was approved by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) on March 4, 1998. In recent years the GFMP went through a detailed updating process and the current GFMP was approved by the SDSF Advisory Committee and the BOF in 2014.