Wilder Ranch

Park Brochure

brochure Wilder Ranch - Park Brochure
Our Mission Wilder Ranch State Park 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. Historic Wilder Ranch preserves a working dairy farm, an 1840 adobe, and a Victorian farmhouse on 7,000 coastal acres. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (831) 423-9703. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. 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 www.parks.ca.gov Wilder Ranch State Park 1401 Coast Road Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (831) 423-9703 or (831) 426-0505 © 2009 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) T he Santa Cruz coastline awaits discovery on Wilder Ranch State Park’s 7,000 acres. From the crest of Ben Lomond Mountain, the landscape rolls down ancient wave-cut terraces through the marsh lands of a nature preserve to the seashore. This region’s climate has a mild average of 50 to 70 degrees. Coastal weather is unpredictable. PARK HISTORY Native People Ohlone Indians made this watershed their homeland for centuries. They built conical homes from bent willow poles and traded local stones, shells, and bone tools with inland tribes. The Ohlone way of life changed radically after the 1776 expedition of Gaspar de Portolá. More Spanish explorers and Franciscan padres followed after Mission Santa Cruz was dedicated in 1791. The mission’s sphere of influence extended north to Año Nuevo Point and south to the Pajaro River valley near Watsonville. The Spanish grazed mission cattle on tribal grasslands and freely used the Ohlone food sources. Eventually, European diseases and the loss of their lands led to a dwindling Ohlone population. Today, Ohlone descendants practice their surviving cultural traditions. Rancho del Refugio From 1791 to 1835, all of the land west of Mission Santa Cruz was called Rancho Arroyo del Matadero (“ranch of the streambed slaughtering ground”), where mission cattle were butchered. In the 1830s, the land was left to the three daughters of Joaquin Castro and became known as Rancho del Refugio. Maria Candida Castro and her husband José Antonio Bolcoff became Rancho Refugio’s first titled owners of record. Bolcoff was a Russian sailor who had jumped ship to become a naturalized Mexican citizen; later he was arrested for smuggling. He built two adobes and one of the area’s first sawmills on the rancho. Bolcoff’s butter and cheese were wellknown in the Monterey area. The rancho lands were split before a large portion was acquired by Moses Meder in 1854. In the 1850s, Meder constructed a new home, now the front portion of the old farmhouse. He expanded dairy and farming activities and built a creamery, dairy barn, and other farm buildings. Meder’s butter sold for $1 a pound in San Francisco — expensive for the time. The Pelton water wheel drives the dairy and farm equipment. Historic dairy complex Partners Levi K. Baldwin and Deloss D. Wilder purchased 4,160 acres of the former rancho in 1871 and built a new creamery on the property in the mid-1870s. The partners amicably split the acreage between them in 1885; Wilder obtained the lower portion on Meder Creek. D.D. Wilder’s Creamery The Wilder family continued to work the land for five generations over nearly a century. In 1889, innovator D.D. Wilder harnessed water power to drive their equipment with a Pelton water wheel. A San Francisco newspaper credited Wilder with inventing “artificial sunrise” when he electrified his dairy. The dairy’s success enabled construction of a new Victorian farmhouse in 1897. The Wilder family ran the ranch until 1969, when property taxes exceeded farm income. In the 1970s, the land was proposed for a housing development, but Santa Cruz County citizens voted to protect the open space. In 1974 California State Parks acquired the property to preserve the land’s natural environment and cultural history. NATURAL RESOURCES Rainwater carves steep canyons through the marine terraces. Douglas-firs and coast redwoods dominate the drainages while coastal prairie covers much of the flatter terrain. Manzanitas, knobcone pines, and chaparral pea grow in drier, sandier inland soils. Grasslands and oak woodlands are home to deer, bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions. Snowy plovers make their nests on Wilder Beach Natural Preserve, which is closed to public exploration. Harbor seals and sea otters gather where Wilder’s watersheds join the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Offshore, dolphins and migrating whales are often spotted. Programs and Recreation The Wilder Dairy Cultural Preserve area —a rodeo arena, ranch buildings, and three restored workshops run by water power—has early farm implements and tools. Docents at Wilder Ranch often dress in period clothing for interpretive tours and living history demonstrations. Call (831) 426-0505 for tours. Hiking—Trails beginning in the lower park at the Cultural Preserve wind along the coastal bluffs near the beaches, tide pools, and sea caves, up into the hills and terraces of the park to 1,800 feet on Ben Lomond Mountain. Bicycling—A 35-mile network of multi-use trails crosses the park. Please walk bikes through the historic area. Horseback Riding & Camping—Equestrians are allowed on all park trails and unpaved roads, except those on the ocean side of Highway One. Six horse-camping sites are available first-come, firstserved. Call (831) 423-9703 for access to the equestrian staging and camping area near Dimeo Lane. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Visitors may require assistance to access historic structures via short, ramped entries. Parking and a restroom in the main lot Harbor seals at rest are accessible. For current information on accessibility and parking, call (831) 426-0505 or visit http://access.parks.ca.gov. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park 101 North Big Trees Park Rd., Felton 95018 (831) 438-2396 or (831) 335-4598 • Natural Bridges SB, 2531 West Cliff Dr. Santa Cruz 95060 (831) 423-4609 • Santa Cruz Mission SHP, 144 School St. Santa Cruz 95060 (831) 425-5849 This park receives support in part from a nonprofit organization. For information, contact Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks 144 School Street Santa Cruz, CA 95060 www.thatsmypark.org 16 00 600' ' 1400 e ek 300 Ft Cre Co County Bike Trail CULTURAL Sm see detail map bottom left pir e Em 100 M 9 1 1200' re UBBLLIIC C PPU 0 0 er Cow Gate h C O TTH HEE TTO Historic Cowboy Cabin ek d Cre k HISTORIC RODEO ARENA Wi ld Grade na Lagu i d er R Gulc 1400' ge Lo Cr eek W il Gold Reggiardo CLLO OSSEED D C ith to Bonny Doon op Bull ' 1800' 00 w b oy Loop ' 16 P PRESERVE d oa Coast R Gr ad e 1200' 1000' 0'' 1100000 Gr e H E N RY COWELL REDWOODS S TAT E PA R K nqu a p WILDER RANCH S TAT E PA R K Tra i l in hi Ro ad il Gulch e Wilder Grad on L Cave Ch Lagun ire inq Emp uap Majo rs 1000 ' 1000' 0' a C reek 80 Creek Sm ith State Park ad 0' er’s 1100 0000' ' Wilder Ranch 120 cutt C Woo d Tr a 1296ft 395m in Bald Mtn g ' Lo 400 tus lyp ca Eu Old Peasley Eu c al y p t u s L o o p w Trail ' er 13 Cre ek 3 11 10 4 0 100 M 50 0 5 300 Ft 6 oad Coast R 1 35 280 Santa Cruz 0 0 5 10 Mi 10 Monterey Bay 20 Km En ge W ild er lsm an Loo p op Lo Co wb oy Engels m ans ge Wilder Beach Key to Detailed Map 1 Corn Crib 8 Garage Horse Barn 2 9 Equipment Shed Granary 3 10 Bolcoff Adobe Cow Barn 4 11 Victorian House Calf Weaning Shed 5 12 Old Farmhouse Feeding Shed 6 13 Workshops Bull Shed 7 14 Spring House to San Francisco SAN JOSÉ 101 San Gregorio SB Cupertino Pomponio SB Portola Pescadero SB Redwoods Bean Hollow SP SB Los Butano 101 Big Basin Castle Rock SP to Gatos SP Gilroy Pigeon Pt Redwoods SP Morgan Hill Light 17 Station Año Nuevo 9 Natural Bridges SB SHP SP/SNR Lighthouse Field SB Santa Cruz Mission SHP Henry Cowell Twin Lakes SB Redwoods SP Forest of Nisene Marks SP New Brighton SB Wilder Ranch SP County Bike Trail P Sand Plant Fern Beach Grotto WILDER DAIRY 14 12 CULTURAL PRESERVE ld Wi 8 7 9 to Santa Cruz WILDER BEACH N AT U R A L Old Cove P R E S E R V E Landing ( C L O S E D T O PUBLIC) Trail Trail Count y Bike Trail 2 sL oo p Bluff Strawberry Beach 1 see detail map above 1 Oh lo 1 to Tunnel Loop P R I V AT E P R O P E RT Y W i l d e r R id Creek Zane op 0' 240 Dimeo Ln R i dg e Lo Gulch 1.5 Kilometers 1 ek ff to Cu 400' op Lo win Bald er iry 3 Mile Beach 400' 400' Da 1 Mile op Cre op W il d e r R i d g e L o Loo win Bald s Trail 2200 00'' ak 0.5 0.75 Wild Boar Tr l ne 0 Lo N 0.5 0.25 n h 0 4 Mile Beach EA e 600 600'' Tra il Old OC i C i ld ’s IFI dg ulc Sandy Flat G PAC i n ema Hors rail T Lo rd 600'' 600 Gray P R I V AT E P R O P E RT Y a mb Tw i rR Eagle Cutoff 1 W al Lo o p L n t e d o op ha p B c En Gulch PUBLIC Creek te d O s an lde M r ajo in ch Wi to Davenport dw k En in TO THE ee Cr Cab CLOSED Creek ado op Me 600 Seacliff SB Manresa SB Zmudowski SB Moss Landing SB Salinas River SB 152 1 Castroville Major Road Accessible Feature Paved Road Bridge Unpaved Road Trail: Accessible Trail: Hike & Bike Trail: Multi-Use Horse Camp Information Locked Gate Park Building (Hike/Bike/Horse) Parking Intermittent Stream Railroad Cultural Preserve Restrooms Closed to Public Viewpoint © 2009 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) Visitor Center

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