Los Altos org trumpets donations for restoring Big Basin

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Redwood trees soar above Big Basin Redwoods State Park before the CZU Lightning Complex fires in August. The wildfires destroyed a large portion of the park’s buildings and infrastructure.

Donors distraught by the recent destruction of California’s oldest state park by wildfire have given $543,000 toward recovery efforts, a Los Altos-based nonprofit revealed Wednesday (Dec. 16).

The Sempervirens Fund of Los Altos and Save the Redwoods League of San Francisco solicited donations to complete necessary restoration work at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County following the ignition of the 86,509-acre CZU Lightning Complex fires in August. The funds also will help California State Parks initiate long-term planning for rebuilding Big Basin, a process scheduled to begin in 2021. The fires claimed nearly all the buildings and infrastructure within the park’s 18,000 acres.

Already, the organizations have disbursed $200,000 to support staffing and equipment costs associated with removing damaged and fallen trees and to allow California State Parks officials to prepare for winter storms.

Sempervirens executive director Sara Barth released a statement about the milestone in a press release.

“We are all eager to visit Big Basin again, and that begins with clearing the way for a safe park to emerge from the wildfire’s aftermath,” Barth said, according to the release. “State parks can be lighter on the land, have more resilient infrastructure and be welcoming and inclusive for all, and Big Basin can lead the way. We are grateful for the generosity of our donors, to Save the Redwoods League for joining us in this effort and to California State Parks for their thoughtful approach to recovery.”

To assist with the recovery of the Santa Cruz Mountains’ redwood forests, visit or Both organizations are currently offering matching donations.

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