|Wilder Ranch State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Santa Cruz County, California, United States|
|Nearest city||Santa Cruz, California|
|Area||7,000 acres (28 km2)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks & Recreation|
Wilder Ranch State Park is a California State Park on the Pacific Ocean coast north of Santa Cruz, California. The park was formerly a dairy ranch, and many of the ranch buildings have been restored for use as a museum. There are no campgrounds; a day-use parking lot provides access to the museum. Dogs are prohibited on the trails, but many trails allow bikes and/or horses. The long trails and ocean views make the area a favorite of hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. Public beaches continue to the north in Coast Dairies State Park.
The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolà expedition, followed the coast in this area on its way north, camping at today's Majors Creek (now the northern park boundary) on October 18, 1769. On its way through today's Santa Cruz County, the explorers bestowed a few important names which survive today: Pajaro River, San Lorenzo River and Santa Cruz. On the return journey to San Diego, the party camped at the same spot on November 21. Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi noted in his diary the difficulty of moving along this part of the coast: "The road on this march was very troublesome, on account of the frequent gulches [arroyos] along the way."
When Mission Santa Cruz was established in 1791, the area became part of the mission pasture lands. Secularization of the missions in 1834 divided the mission lands into large land grants called "ranchos". Wilder Ranch was part of Rancho Refugio, a Mexican land grant of 1839. Historic buildings include part of the adobe rancho house built around that time by rancho grantee Jose Bolcoff.
Dairyman Delos D. Wilder, in partnership with L. K. Baldwin, acquired part of the former rancho in 1871. In 1885, the partners split the holdings into separate ranches. Most of both ranches are now contained within the park. Among the historic ranch buildings, the older farmhouse predate the Wilders. The oldest part of it was built in the 1850s. Wilder's elegant 1897 Victorian home also survives. The Wilder family continued to operate the dairy until 1969, and the state acquired the land in 1974. Since then, the Bolcoff adobe, two Wilder houses and several other ranch structures have been restored for use as a museum.
In 1996 the state acquired the adjacent "Gray Whale Ranch". The 2,305 acres (9.33 km2) parcel contains many long trails, extending from the northern boundary of Wilder Ranch to the University of California at Santa Cruz campus. The addition of "Gray Whale Ranch", plus more recent additions, results in a park totaling 7,000 acres (28 km2) that extends 7.5 mi (12.1 km) up-slope from the coast and creates a swath of publicly owned land from the shore all the way to the town of Felton. The main ranch road (dirt) extends through Wilder Ranch to the Pacific Ocean coast, and in the other direction connects to a fire road on the U.C.S.C. campus.
The former "Gray Whale Ranch" also contains the ruins of a lime manufacturing operation, including a quarry and lime kilns built by early lime manufacturer Samuel Adams in the mid-19th century.The ranch and lime works were later acquired by industrialist Henry Cowell.
Spelunking is one popular activity on "Gray Whale Ranch", although most cavers try to prevent the location of the caves from becoming widely known. The main cave frequented by spelunkers is known as "Hell Hole"; the main destination inside is the "Hall of Faces", a clay room where people leave sculptures and sign a book. Getting to the Hall of Faces is no easy task, and requires descending the 90 foot (27 m) vertical called "The Pit". Barricades are periodically placed in the caves to prevent entry, but these barriers are typically removed fairly quickly.[ citation needed ]
The "Gray Whale Ranch" had been zoned only for logging but was considered for further development before the Save the Redwoods League, a private conservation group, bought the land in 1996 for $13.4 million and transferred it to the State Parks Department. The California Coastal Conservancy and the state California Wildlife Conservation Board (California Department of Fish and Wildlife), each contributed to help State Parks acquire the property for just over $1 million.[ citation needed ]
Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve is a marine protected area along the coast of Wilder Ranch State Park and part of the adjacent Natural Bridges State Beach. The long, narrow Reserve area is bounded by the mean high tide line and a distance of 200 feet seaward of mean lower low water. This protected area helps conserve ocean tidal-zone wildlife and marine ecosystems.
Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California. As of 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Santa Cruz's population at 64,608.
Seacliff State Beach is a state beach park on Monterey Bay, in the town of Aptos, Santa Cruz County, California. It is located off Highway 1 on State Park Drive, about 5 miles (8 km) south of Santa Cruz,. The beach is most known for the concrete ship SS Palo Alto lying in the water. North of Seacliff State Beach is New Brighton State Beach.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a state park of California, United States, preserving mainly forest and riparian areas in the watershed of the San Lorenzo River, including a grove of old-growth coast redwood. It is located in Santa Cruz County, primarily in the area between the cities of Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley, near the community of Felton and the University of California at Santa Cruz. The park includes a non-contiguous extension in the Fall Creek area north of Felton. The 4,623-acre (1,871 ha) park was established in 1954.
Half Moon Bay State Beach is a 4-mile (6 km) stretch of protected beaches in the state park system of California, United States, on Half Moon Bay. From north to south it comprises Roosevelt, Dunes, Venice, and Francis Beaches. The 181-acre (73 ha) park was established in 1956.
Natural Bridges State Beach is a 65-acre (26 ha) California state park in Santa Cruz, California, in the United States. The park features a natural bridge across a section of the beach. It is also well known as a hotspot to see monarch butterfly migrations. The Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve is home to up to 150,000 monarch butterflies from October through early February.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a United States national recreation area containing many individual parks and open space preserves, located primarily in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. The SMMNRA is in the greater Los Angeles region, with two thirds of the parklands in northwest Los Angeles County, and the remaining third, including a Simi Hills extension, in southeastern Ventura County.
Sempervirens Fund, originally established in 1900 as Sempervirens Club, is California's oldest land trust. Founder Andrew P. Hill’s goal was to preserve the old-growth forest that became Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the first California state park in 1902. Sempervirens Fund's mission is to protect and permanently preserve coast redwood forests, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and other important natural features of California's Santa Cruz Mountains, and to encourage people to appreciate and enjoy this environment. Sempervirens Fund does this by purchasing land for protection and transferring it to state or local agencies. Sempervirens Fund has also worked to establish conservation easements and trail linkages between parks and coastal marine preserves. As of 2013, Sempervirens Fund has saved more than 34,000 acres of redwood lands.
Black Mountain is a summit on Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains of west Santa Clara County, California, south of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, and west of Cupertino; it is within the Palo Alto city limits though not near the developed part of the city. It is located on the border between Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve and Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, with the summit located in the former. Early Spanish explorers commonly named tree- or chaparral-covered summits which look black in the distance Loma Prieta, from the Spanish . The Spanish also called the middle portion of the Santa Cruz Mountains the Sierra Morena meaning, extending from Half Moon Bay Road south to a gap at Lexington Reservoir, and which includes a summit called Sierra Morena. There are over 100 "Black Mountains" in California.
Montaña de Oro is a state park in California, United States. The park is located six miles southwest of Morro Bay and 2 miles south of Los Osos. The name "Mountain of Gold" comes from the golden wildflowers found in the park.
The Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio was a 26,529-acre (107.36 km2) Spanish land grant to José Francisco Ortega in 1794 and is the only land grant made under Spanish rule in what is today Santa Barbara County, California. A Mexican title was granted to Antonio Maria Ortega in 1834 by Mexican Governor José Figueroa. The grant extended along the Pacific coast from Cojo Canyon east of Point Conception, past Arroyo Hondo and Tajiguas Canyon, to Refugio Canyon, including what is now Gaviota.
Montara State Beach is a beach located in the coastal region of California eight miles north of Half Moon Bay on State Route 1 in California, USA. It is operated by the California State Department of Parks and Recreation under the San Mateo Coast Sector Office. It is one of the cleanest beaches in the state and is known for surfing and fishing.
Sonoma Coast State Park is a State of California property in Sonoma County consisting of public access use on lands adjoining the Pacific Ocean. This extent of beach runs from a coastal point about 4 miles (6 km) north of Jenner and continues for approximately 17 miles (27 km) to the south to terminate at Bodega Head. The property lies along State Route 1 and consists of a number of named beaches including Arched Rock Beach, Gleason Beach and Goat Rock Beach. The ecosystem consists of alternating sandy beaches and rocky shoreline, with a marine terrace extending above the entire extent with an upland California coastal prairie habitat.
The Redwood Grove of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, which is located in Santa Cruz County in Northern California, is a grove of Coast Redwoods with member trees extending into the 1400- to 1800-year-old range. This grove is notable because it allows for the use of self-guided tours of the flat, 0.8-mile (1.3 km) loop trail which is easily accessible. Dozens of large, old Redwood trees are located within a few feet of the walking trail.
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The Cowell Lime Works, in Santa Cruz, California, was a manufacturing complex that quarried limestone, produced lime and other limestone products, and manufactured wood barrels for transporting the finished lime. Part of its area is preserved as the Cowell Lime Works Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. In addition to the four lime kilns, cooperage and other features relating to lime manufacture, the Historic District also includes other structures associated with the Cowell Ranch, including barns, a blacksmith shop, ranch house, cook house and workers' cabins. The 32-acre Historic District is located within the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, to either side of the main campus entrance.
Rancho Guadalasca was a 30,594-acre (123.81 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Ventura County, California given in 1836 by Governor Mariano Chico to Ysabel Yorba. The grant was in the southern part of the county, bordering on Los Angeles County. The grant extended along the Pacific coast near Point Mugu for about eight miles, and extending into the interior along Guadalasca Creek in the Santa Monica Mountains for about ten miles.
Rancho Punta del Año Nuevo was a 17,753-acre (71.84 km2) Mexican land grant in present day San Mateo County, California given in 1842 by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to Simeon Castro. At the time, the grant was in Santa Cruz County; an 1868 boundary adjustment gave the land to San Mateo County. The grant extended along the Pacific coast from Rancho Butano and Arroyo de los Frijoles on the north, past Pigeon Point, Franklin Point to Point Año Nuevo on the south.
Rancho Cañada del Rincon en el Rio San Lorenzo was a 5,827-acre (23.58 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Santa Cruz County, California given in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena, and confirmed in 1846 by Governor Pío Pico, to Pedro Sainsevain. The name means "valley on a corner on the San Lorenzo River". The grant was north of present-day Santa Cruz on the San Lorenzo River.
Coast Dairies is a state park in Santa Cruz County, California, near the city of Davenport. It is managed as part of Wilder Ranch State Park, which is south of the park.
The Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, California is a rural coastline along the Santa Barbara Channel roughly bounded by the city of Goleta and the north boundary of the county. This last undeveloped stretch of Southern California coastline consists of dramatic bluffs, isolated beaches and terraced grasslands.