The Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance

A New Park Entrance for the 21st Century

For many years, Sempervirens Fund has envisioned a grand entrance welcoming local residents and visitors to the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 2011, generous contributors supported the purchase of a 33-acre parcel from the Whalen Family. State Parks had long identified this site as the ideal entrance for Castle Rock State Park, the “gateway” to the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods. After community meetings, design revisions, and traffic and environmental assessments, Santa Cruz County approved our two-phase conceptual plan (which includes a future 6,000-square-foot visitor center as Phase 2) in September 2014. Since that time, the property’s zoning has been changed from agricultural to open space and recreation, additional assessments and plans were produced, and the necessary permits for Phase I improvements were finally secured in March 2017.

Creating this new entrance is a fitting way to mark the anniversary of Castle Rock State Park, which turns 50 years old in 2018. We look forward to celebrating this beloved park and walking with you through its new entrance later this year.
— Sara Barth, Executive Director, Sempervirens Fund

Thanks to ongoing support from individuals and foundations, Sempervirens Fund approved a $5 million contract with local builder Robert A. Bothman, Inc. Construction. 

The new Robert C. Kirkwood entrance will include a 90-car parking lot with permeable paving, six restrooms with flush toilets, a drinking water station, a 60-seat amphitheater, accessible pathways and picnic areas. There will also be interpretive exhibits, WiFi connectivity, and new engagement opportunities.

 

The Ethnobotanical Demonstration Garden

From March 23 to March 25, Sempervirens Fund volunteers, the Amah Mutsun Land Trust Native Stewardship Corps and members of the Muwekma Ohlone joined forces to plant an ethnobotanical demonstration garden at Castle Rock State Park's new Robert C. Kirkwood entrance. Learn more about this exciting project by clicking on the video above.

The Black Oak Forest

With the help of nearly 100 dedicated and hardworking volunteers over two weekends in April, Sempervirens Fund planted 200 black oak trees and did a variety of other stewardship projects at the site of the new Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance to Castle Rock State Park. Thanks to these incredible people, future generations will walk, relax and picnic beneath the towering crowns of majestic black oak. We can't thank everyone enough!

 

Get Involved:

To support construction, interpretation, and engagement programs at the Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance, DONATE HERE.

Some exciting naming opportunities are still available. Click here, or contact Barbara Lamb Hall at (650) 949-1453 x 203 or Blambhall@sempervirens.org if you would like to add your support, or honor someone, at this new park entrance.

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Castle Rock is the gateway for Silicon Valley and the South Bay to access the redwoods. It’s a jewel of a park and the facilities we have are not commensurate with that. We’d like the public to have a new and wonderful entrance experience.
— Chris Spohrer, Superintendent, State Parks Santa Cruz District.