Today I trained as a docent for the Sempervirens Fund. Now I am an official ambassador of the redwood forest! At least in title — I am humbled by the knowledge, skill and dedication of the Sempervirens leaders and aspire to represent the wildlife, lands, and fund as well as they do. Docents lead hikes through the forest to help people get to know and enjoy the land, which is the first step towards preserving the land.
Sempervirens is a member-supported land trust, meaning that member contributions go to buy land that is protected from human destruction and ultimately turned into state parks. Founded in 1900, Sempervirens has a terrific track record including Big Basin, Castle Rock, and Butano state parks.
From the day I heard of it 20 years ago, I’ve felt strongly that this is the best approach to conservation: Buy the land and set it aside. Call me a cowardly capitalist but I believe in property rights for land owners and rather than fight a messy battle over what other people can do with their land, I’d sooner raise the money to buy the land and then we’re the owners, we call the shots.
My efforts are puny by themselves, but together with thousands of members, we are able to buy and enjoy massive properties, even in the expensive Bay Area.
Enjoyment is a prime motivator for setting aside the land, especially for me. I don’t have kids, don’t have a concern for future generations to enjoy the place. What I do have is a relationship and a liking for the forest itself and its for that reason that I work to protect it.
One of the neat things about being a Sempervirens docent is that I have access to land and trails that are not currently open to the public. Pristine, beautiful, sacred places. Also members have access to Little Basin which used to be HP’s private corporate campground in the Santa Cruz mountains, next to Big Basin.
If you want to go for a hike, give me a shout!
Better yet, sign up for a Sempervirens Fund Hike.