What's Behind the Moore Foundation’s Fight to Save Redwood Forests?

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation recently sent another million dollars over to the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) to save redwood forests in the Bay Area. This isn’t the first property acquisition land grant that the Moore Foundation has committed to, and it might not be the last (Read Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: Bay Area Grants).

The most recent Moore grant helped the San Mateo County Department of Parks acquire the Loma Mar Redwoods property. The San Mateo County Office of Education bought this beautiful, 174-acre forest property in 1976 to build an outdoor education center. Those plans fell through, so the Office of Education signed a logging plan agreement with Big Creek Lumber Company. Now San Mateo County will sell the property to POST to become part of the county parks system. The purchase price was $3.9 million.

“It’s really beautiful acreage with some trails already in there going through these redwoods,” said Assistant County Manager David Holland. “There is great potential for trails and possibly dispersed camping, which is always in demand around here. Additionally, it’s got a lot of habitats in there that will now be enhanced and preserved through time.”

This marks the Moore Foundation’s fourth land preservation grant made to POST. Moore awarded POST $180,000 in December 2013 for the Eng property, $2.3 million in September 2007 for Mindego Hill, $5 million in November 2004 for Stevens Creek Canyon Ranch, and $50 million in July 2001 for the San Mateo Coast.

The San Mateo County Parks Department is also currently in escrow for two other county properties: Butano Crest East and Wicklow, both with closing dates on or before June 30th. The 478-acre Wicklow area provides forests, coastal ridges and grassy hillsides that the public can use for picnics, biking, jogging, and dog walking. The 160-acre Butano Crest East property will be used to preserve wildlife habitats and public recreation among the redwoods and open grassland.

The obvious question to ask now is if and when the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will come to POST’s aid again, and what the price tag for that aid will be. There are still 30,000 acres of unprotected redwoods in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, and POST’s goal is to save them all.

Moore’s ongoing support of POST’s efforts is consistent with its San Francisco/Bay Area local conservation funding strategy. Led by Director Ken Moore and Program Officer Dan Winterson, this program collaborates with groups to conserve large-scale landscapes in the Bay Area. Moore and Winterson’s priorities lie with acquisition projects that are grounded in regional conservation planning, and they measure progress by tracking the number of acres conserved and steps taken to protect habitats.