The Forest of Nisene Marks

Park Brochure

brochure The Forest of Nisene Marks - Park Brochure
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Nearly ten thousand acres of forest offer a hushed oasis with panoramic ocean views from its hilltops. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (831) 763-7062. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park Aptos Creek Road, off Soquel and State Park Drive, Aptos, CA 95003 (831) 763-7062 © 2012 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) The 1880s cost of building this railroad, part of today’s main Fire Road, was estimated at $50,000 per mile. The Loma Prieta Mill became the largest in the 19th-century Santa Cruz Mountains until disastrous landslides during San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake paused logging efforts. Reforestation began when the lumber company planted 50 acres of redwood and non-native eucalyptus seedlings. Logging resumed from 1909 until 1924, when most of Loma Prieta’s mill was dismantled and abandoned—after processing 140 million board feet of redwood. The Marks family of Salinas deeded more than 9,000 acres to the State for use as a public park in 1963. Named for matriarch Nisene (a Danish name) Marks, the gift deed specified that the “natural preserve” be used for camping, hiking, and nature study. Other donations have increased park acreage to nearly 10,000 acres. The Forest of Nisene Marks honors forest regeneration and preservation efforts. T PARK HISTORY during the Gold Rush building boom, but The local first people were the Costanoans lumber interests found the steep canyons (now known as Ohlone). The native people impenetrable for logging harvested resources on giant redwoods. the edges of the forest, In 1880, however, the but little evidence exists Southern Pacific Railway that they ever lived among (SP) arrived in nearby these deep redwoods. Two Monterey. SP financed Mexican land grants to the the purchase of treeCastro family in 1833 and filled Upper Aptos 1844 partially form the Canyon, the Loma Prieta boundaries of today’s park. Loggers on platform supported Lumber Company, and Shortly after California by springboards, ca. 1895 the Loma Prieta Railway. became a state in 1850, Chinese laborers cut and graded the rail loggers built wooden skids and used oxen line seven miles up the canyon. By 1883, teams to drag smaller harvested trees standard-gauge railway tracks had been built for “split stuff” and tanbark. The forest’s to haul the huge redwood logs to mills. more reachable redwoods were milled Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History he serene trails within The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park give scant hint of the redwood forest’s turbulent natural and human history. For centuries, the jagged terrain of these 10,000 acres saved the original trees from loggers and settlers. Today the second- and third-growth forest canopy in earthquake country shades a recreational oasis with 30 miles of maintained trails and roads for hiking, biking, and running. Historic logger’s cabin (lost in 1982 flood) GEOLOGY Three earthquake faults—San Andreas, San Gregorio, and Zayante— influence the park’s geology. The San Gregorio Fault runs slightly southeast of park boundaries. The Zayante Fault crosses the park’s Aptos Creek Canyon while the San Andreas Fault, extending Trees shifted by the nearly the entire Loma Prieta quake length of the state, twist as they grow to parallels the park’s self correct. northeastern border below Santa Rosalia Ridge. The San Andreas Fault’s devastating 6.9 magnitude earthquake caused upheaval throughout Northern California in 1989. That quake was named after Loma Prieta (“dark hill”), the mountain near the quake’s epicenter in the park. Ancient sea floor sedimentary rocks— mostly sandstone, chert, and siltstone with embedded marine fossils—are found in the Aptos and Bridge creekbeds. For most of the park’s history, it was a shallow inland sea. The park’s unstable sandy and loamy soil is susceptible to landslides. HABITATS In the cool and quiet semi-wilderness of the park, tall trees shelter creeks and canyons. Park elevation ranges from sea level to more than 2,600 feet. The park contains grassland, scrub, chaparral, woodland, and forest riparian communities. Eighty percent of the hilly park is covered in coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest, with trees ranging in age from 80 to 120 years old and reaching 125 feet tall. These second- and third-growth redwoods often sprout from the collar surrounding cut stumps; the sprouts are usually genetically identical to the parent tree. A few old-growth redwoods still survive within the park. Redwood species once grew throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. The remaining range of coast redwood is limited to the Pacific Coast fog belt between Oregon and the Big Sur coast. Scientists fear that climate change, with decreasing fog and increasing temperatures, will result in even more redwood habitat loss. Sequoia sempervirens Fetid adder’s tongue, a disagreeablesmelling plant, grows among the redwoods along the Buggy Trail. Five percent of the park is covered in Northern maritime chaparral containing coyote brush and woolyleaf manzanita. Other habitats include a purple needlegrass grassland and a red alder riparian forest. The Forest’s diverse topography, abundant water, and varied plant life support many species of wildlife, including raccoons, cougar, deer, yellowlegged frogs, and the popular Fetid adder’s tongue banana slug. Native birds include the American dipper, winter wren, and saw-whet owl. Coho salmon and steelhead spawn in the Bridge and Banana slug Aptos creeks. ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION Accessibility is continually improving, but there are currently no wheelchair-accessible activities at the park. For updates, visit RECREATION The park lies north of Aptos Village on Aptos Creek Road in Santa Cruz County. Weather can be changeable year round. Picnic tables and barbecue pits are available. Trail campsites are located six miles from the trail camp parking lot at the West Ridge Trailhead. The trail camp has no water, and fires are prohibited. To reserve, call the Sunset State Beach kiosk at (831) 763-7063. The 2,700-acre Soquel Demonstration State Forest north of the park is managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Advanced mountain bikers can ride the loops within the demo forest by entering on Ridge Trail at the end of the Aptos Creek Fire Road. Trails Loma Prieta Grade Trail follows a steam railway bed from the mill to Hoffman’s Historic Site, named after a logging superintendent. This site was a camp that once housed 100 loggers and mill workers. PLEASE REMEMBER • All natural and cultural features are protected by law and may not be disturbed or removed. • To prevent erosion of the slopes, stay on marked trails; observe all trail postings. • By law, bicycling and mountain biking are allowed only on the Aptos Creek Fire Road and four single-track trails below its steel bridge. Cyclists may use the Aptos Rancho Maple Falls at end of Bridge Creek Trail Trail, the Split Stuff Trail, the Terrace Trail, and the Vienna Woods Trail. • Except for service animals, dogs are allowed only on Aptos Creek Fire Road and four single-track trails (named above) below the steel bridge. Dogs are prohibited beyond the gate at the Porter picnic area parking lot. Animals must be attended and on leashes no longer than six feet at all times. 1400 12 The Forest of Nisene Marks 00 10 2000 00 Hihn 800 Mil ’s l Rd Am C o r r al ay Hi gh a nd 12 1400 1800 (CA DEPT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION) 2000 ge er Cr 1800 ee Sa k 1600 nt a Ro sa lia e y k 0 ne 20 dg Cus a c Eu k Hin os Trail Ri e t Maple Falls Road 10 e 00 10 20 Bi 0 in il 0 800 h Ap tos C 00 1200 ek 00 80 600 ia Terrace Trail Vienna Dr Danube Dr Creek s Apto Ridg Tra il Lo op el Dr Oak Ridge Old Emmett Reed Picnic Area ive ad qu Entrance Station P os A pt So Waggoner Overlook Trail Trl Ro Creek Rd A pt o s ch at eP ar kD r 1 St Creek Rd A p tos Dr Trail The Advocate Tree ek te P ark Oak Vie nn a Creek Aptos lch ry Gu ne els n ng op Split Stuff Trail Pourroy Picnic Area Cre This park receives support in part from a nonprofit organization. For information, contact the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks at (831) 429-1840 or h Aptos Park Ave Ma wt PRIVATE PROPERTY d APTOS Soqu el Dr iv e 1 Sta 122° 55’ 00” Old h Monterey Bay NEARBY STATE PARKS • Seacliff State Beach State Park Drive, Aptos 95001 (831) 685-6442 • New Brighton State Beach 1500 Park Ave., Hwy. 1, Capitola 95010 (831) 763-7062 • Sunset State Beach 201 Sunset Beach Rd., Watsonville 95076 (831) 763-7063 Twisted Grove Trail Gro wt 1 APTOS il Tra Roa ive e Fire NEW BRIGHTON S TAT E B E A C H Dr P Entrance Station ive Dr C re ek el CAPITOLA Aptos qu Trail 0.8 Kilometers Lo So ho 0.5 Miles 0.4 o Rd 1 il Woods Tra 0.25 0 ire The Advocate Tree Trail Me Valenc Gulch 00 Ranc Trail Trail Vienna tes 12 e nd ds Gra Woo na Vien sa os Ba 0 Pri et a Loma er ov Gr 00 40 els ng Ma ulch G kF Cabrillo College Apt o s Cree Ta e Av 10 442m Gr G h Viewpoint rk Bean Hill A pt 800 Restrooms Pa 0 0 P Parking c ul 0.8 Kilometers P Steel Bridge Wilshire Dr Winter Gate Picnic Area 0.5 Miles 0.4 Ap tos Gr a d e Gulch 600 Trail 600 r 1400 see detail map right Steel Bridge 0.25 PROPERTY1450ft 600 rte 0 0 George’s Picnic Area PRIVATE Creek Parking for Registered Trail P Campers Locked Gate to Santa Cruz Parking for P Registered Trail Campers Mary Easton Picnic Area Primitive Camp d West Ridge Trail Tr o u t 40 600 Ridge Po Trail: Accessible lR s 0 Winter Gate Margaret’s Bridge Trail: Hike & Bike ue 0 Mill Pond Trail eek Paved Road q So Tra il Bottom of the Incline Loma Prieta Mill Site Porter Family Picnic Area P Waterfall ek Loma Prieta Town Site Porter House Site Freeway 37° 00’ 00” ek 60 Cre B ri d t Wes Apto Unpaved/Fire Road Trail: Hike e Buzzard Lagoon 00 0 il Tra Epicenter Loma Prieta Earthquake 10/17/89 Legend 00 10 il 80 Top of the Incline 962ft 293m Cr id 60 ge Cre Sl e Cr 1400 eek Cr Hoffman’s Historic Site 870ft 265m g a Fire Tr a ge a Tr 60 ad 10 60 k 10 Ap t o s 0 Brid tion 0 80 Connec ee Bridge Creek Historic Site Creek 37° 02’ 30” 1000 Cr p um St rail Big ap T G Ridge 2000 on Ro 2000 White’s Lagoon 1600 400 ny Five Finger Falls 00 es W dg 800 rin A pt 1600 Ri 427m Sp e dg Ridge Rd y S TAT E PA R K 1600ft 488m e’s hit on W ago d L oa R Creek Oliv FOREST OF 2000 Sand Point Overlook 1400 Hi n Soquel gs le ck i n1400ft a R H Salinas oad 1000 0 Marina oon 80 re k Ca NISENE MARKS West Ridge Trail Camp ad 183 25 Kilometers Lag 0 Ro 20 zard 40 el 0 Tra il THE 1400 Fire 1200 qu 120 00 Jose y 600 So Lone Tree Prairie 1000 Basin - San Hinckle y 15 Miles 15 Buz 800 le ck 800 10 10 Fremont Peak SP e 2000 0 12 Rd Creek 5 to Monterey s Sugarloaf Mtn 1268ft 386m 5 0 00 101 1 Cree ckle 0 Zo 2529ft, 771m 1200 Creek 100 t Santa Rosalia Mountain Ri 120 ul Monterey PA Bay OC CIF Castroville EA IC N Buggy Hest Rid Tra il ge Rid Fa Tra il 1600 FOREST Manresa SB, Sunset SB as Trai l S T AT E re 152 Gilroy Watsonville San Juan Bautista New Brighton SB Seacliff SB 1 Santa Cruz Capitola Santa Cruz Mission SHP Rancho ’s W ay an hn Davenport Wilder Ranch SP Natural Bridges SB sR Hi A R id g e Redwoods SP d Morgan Hill The Forest of Nisene Marks SP Creek ad ill n lan to Long M Tractor it wp Sa rail T 00 D E M O N S T R AT ION ail Tr Ro ad Road Ro SOQUEL Sa 00 Fi r e 20 Trail dg 1000 il e ek Cr Ri lle to San José Henry W 101 Coe SP Los 85 Gatos 1 Henry Cowell Valley Ap Rd 0 80 a Tr 37° 05’ 00” Rd Br ai 9 Big Basin Castle Redwoods 17 Rock SP SP San Lorenzo 9 Scotts River S tate P ark SEACLIFF S TAT E BEACH to Monterey © 2012 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) 122° 52’ 30” 122° 50’ 00”

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