President’s Message – December 2012

2012 was a milestone year for the Advocates for the Forest of Nisene Marks. With a balance of the old guard and the influx of new members on our Board, we plunged into many projects with renewed vigor!

Website/Social Media/Database

This is not exactly trail work, but like trail work, it’s necessary. With the help of Elisa Webb and the Board, we worked hard on dragging our website and database ’kicking and screaming’ into the 21st century. In fact, the kicking and screaming should continue well into next year.

With the help of Anya Thrash, we got a Facebook page up and running. It’s been great! Just as soon as we wash off the trail dust, we post photos from each trail work day on FB, So, please ‘Like us’ on FB, and see how much fun and satisfying a day of trail work can be.

Toward the end of the year, Dave Hofkins, got us set up on the ‘Twitter-sphere’. We are actually getting a ‘bit’ social media savvy …. feels good in a ‘techy’ kind of way!

New Board Members

2012-2013 Board Members

The Advocates are pleased to announce that we added 2 new members to our Board of Directors in November 2012. This brings our Board up to 10 members.

Elisa Webb was a long overdue and welcome addition. She has been working with the Advocates for the last 10 years in various capacities, and has a passion for our beautiful redwood forest. Her current role is as our webmaster and database guru. Thank You Elisa, and just know that you can never leave us!

Dave Hofkins is our link to the past, the present and the future. He is a direct descendent of the Porter Family, our social media director, videographer, and the youngest member of the Board. It’s like having Nisene royalty on the Board.

Welcome aboard Dave and Elisa. To learn more about each of our Board members, go to the Directors Web page.

Trail Work

We had a lot of clean-up, in the beginning of the year, from the big windstorm in December 2011. We also improved many of the trails in the lower network by brushing back, grading tread, improving drainage, and providing general care and maintenance. We worked on the Buggy, Vienna Woods, Old-Growth loop, Aptos Rancho and Terrace trails. Of course, we installed the seasonal bridges, which is always a highlight of the spring!

Trailworkers on Workday

Tanya Larson is our trails liaison with Parks. Her official Advocates title is Projects Director. Each month she expertly coordinates projects with Parks, and organizes the volunteers to ‘git er dun’. She’s wonderful and the trails in the Park reflect her caring spirit.

Another significant accomplishment by Parks was the re-opening of the Aptos Creek trail. This was accomplished by building a very cool bridge spanning the void created by the landslide in 2006. It’s an ‘engineering wonder.’ If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check it out. You can now get to the beautiful Five Finger Falls from the more direct Aptos Creek trail and come back by the Big Slide trail, if you wish. It makes for a lovely loop!

Carmichael Trail

This is the trail formerly known as the Koch trail. It’s outside the boundary of the Park, but it soon will become a very important segment of the proposed Nisene2Sea trail. Kathryn Britton, Ellen Pirie and many others have worked tirelessly to see this dream become a reality. With hard work and persistence, the Nisene to Cabrillo College leg of the trail has been approved and funded. The entrance to the Park will be at the beginning of the Vienna Woods trail. The hope and the expectation is that we will see this trail get built in 2013. Talk of a pedestrian bridge over Highway-1 at Mar Vista Drive is still very much alive. The future for the Nisene2Sea trail looks very bright indeed.

50th Anniversary

On August 4, 2012, the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks put on a fantastic fundraiser and celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Forest of the Nisene Marks. Peg Danielson and Bonnie Hawley of Friends organized a fun and educational event starting at the Emmett Reed Picnic area with history talks by Sandy Lydon, Dianne Porter Cooley, Karl Mertz and our very own Geoff Alexander. From there we continued onto the Pourroy Picnic area for lunch, more entertaining storytelling from Sandy, and even a viewing of the “secret” albino redwood sprout!

We also had the good fortune of meeting Dave Hofkins at this celebration. Dave was introduced by his aunt, Diane Porter-Cooley. Dave and Diane were able to share personal insights of what the Park means to them. As direct descendants of the Porter family, the Forest is in their DNA.

The ADA Trail

This is a project that has been in the planning by Parks and the Advocates since the spring of 2003. The initial goal of this project was to create an accessible (ADA) trail and a permanent bridge over Aptos Creek to Marcel’s Forest. (Re-read our archived Spring 2003 newsletter). Unfortunately, we were never able to raise enough money to get the bridge part of this project built, but we were able to secure a grant to build an ADA trail from Emmett Reed Picnic area to a very scenic Aptos Creek gorge overlook. Paul Ticknor, Jerry Waggoner, Kirk Lingenfelter, Jeff Hicks and many others deserve tremendous credit for making their dream a reality. State Parks, led by Chris Pereira, in conjunction with the Advocates’ volunteers, completed this ADA trail, the overlook platform, and a significant rework of the Aptos Rancho and Split-Stuff trails, by the end of the year. Along the upper half of the Aptos Rancho trail, State Parks also addressed a significant root drop that had been the bane of many hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers and families.

Thanks to the generosity of Diane Porter-Cooley, we also built a beautiful redwood footbridge with approaches, over a drainage swale on the newly restored Split-Stuff trail.

A Giant Revealed

On December 23rd, a very large fir tree toppled over after a stormy couple of days, and took out some nearby smaller firs on the way to the ground. When the dust settled, a new view of a beautiful, old-growth redwood was majestically revealed. This area is called the Van Eck Memorial Grove and it has a low split rail fence around it. It’s on the right hand side of Aptos Creek road just before you get to the kiosk parking lot. Also, be sure to check out the beautiful bronze plaque on the back side of the tree honoring Jan Carel and Agnes Tillman van Eck. Despite the fact that some of the branches on the redwood also were damaged, the revealed Giant is pretty amazing. Come see it for yourself!

Tech-Stuff to Split-Stuff

From Tech-Stuff to Split-Stuff, 2012 was certainly a landmark year of Good-Stuff for the Advocates and Nisene Marks State Park.

2013 promises more of the same. We will finish up work on the lower network trails during the first couple of months of the year, including more improvements to the entire length of the Aptos Rancho Trail and decommissioning of other trails. We will put up and take down the seasonal foot-bridges. We’ll lovingly maintain the trails. We will pursue re-opening and improving the long-unused Mangels Gulch trail, and we hope to do a little work on the Bridge Creek and Maple Falls trails. And what the heck, we’re going to throw another party!

Advocates 50th Celebration

It’s the Advocates turn to put on a 50th Anniversary party for the Park, and so we will. Maureen Thrash is our Event Planner extraordinaire, and she is organizing a very fun and educational day for the community. Please join us on May 19th, 2013, for a wonderful celebration of the park. The day will begin with a mountain bike ride and bench dedications at 8 AM. From 11 to 12 we will have a ribbon cutting ceremony for the ADA trail, along with some ADA picnic table dedications. After that, join us for a BBQ and a lumberjack demonstration at Mary Easton picnic area from 12 to 2. From 2 to 4 we will move the party to the Porter Family picnic area for some Kreek-time, Kupkakes, Koffee and Kid activities.

There will be music, guided hikes by a Botanist, a Geologist, and our very own ‘Redwood Ed’ Gilbert. It’s going to be great. Let us know if you would like to help out…we could use it. Keep checking our website or Facebook page for updates, or better yet, become a member of the Advocates by filling out our membership form on the Join Us page, and we’ll make sure we keep you informed.

Please let us know if you can help out in any way in the coming year. We rely on people like you, and our volunteers, donors and members, to continue our mission of polishing this little gem of a Park: The Forest of Nisene Marks.

Happy New Year everybody!

Geoff Alexander
President, Board of Directors

John Fuchs
Vice-President, Board of Directors

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