History of Ownership
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Ohlone Indians inhabited the area. In the mid‑1800's, the title to the 32,000‑acre Shoquel Augmentation Rancho was awarded to Martina Castro de Depeaux viuda de Lodge viuda de Cota, the daughter of a Spanish Colonial soldier. SDSF was contained within the rancho, and Martina gave this portion to her daughter, Antonia Lodge de Peck. Frederick A. Hihn, a German-born entrepreneur, was able to acquire portions of the Shoquel Augmentation through a discrepancy in legal title. He was particularly interested in Lodge de Peck's parcel and purchased it in 1863.
In the 1880's, Hihn established the Valencia‑Hihn Company and began selectively logging the old‑growth redwood on his lands to produce shingles, posts, and rails. Upon his death in 1913, Hihn's heirs assumed management of his lands and continued to harvest the area. In 1924, the Valencia-Hihn Company sold their land to the Monterey Bay Redwood Company (MBRC). The MBRC owned the State Forest property for 37 years and performed extensive harvesting in the 1920s and 1930s. They sold their property to the Glenco Forest Products Company of Sacramento in 1961, which later changed its name to the CHY Company. Eighteen years later, in 1979, CHY sold the State Forest portion of their land to the Pelican Timber Company. Additional details about the history of the Forest can be found in Archaeological and Historical Survey of Soquel Demonstration State Forest (Dillon, 1992).
In 1988, Pelican was involved in a debt-for-nature land swap with the State of California and the Bank of America (see the Administration Chapter for more details). A result of this land swap was the creation of SDSF as authorized by former Assemblyman Sam Farr's Assembly Bill 1965. The Nature Conservancy acted as the interim managers of the Forest until its transfer to CAL FIRE in 1990.