Environmental group offers $11 million to preserve land

The Associated Press
Monday September 11, 2000


SANTA CRUZ — A Los Altos-based environmental group has offered $11 million to buy 1,340 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

The land that the Sempervirens Fund has offered to buy includes old-growth redwood forests at the headwaters of the San Lorenzo River. 

At a hearing regarding the land last week, water district directors received two letters from timber companies saying they were interested in logging the property, known as the Waterman Gap. 

The two timber companies set different prices on the land. One estimated it was worth $7.4 million and another valued it at about $13 million. 

The letters were not offers to buy the land, said water district manager Jim Mueller. District directors have said it is in the community’s best interest to keep the land in its natural state and not to sell it to timber companies. 

The district and Sempervirens have been discussing the offer on the land since February. A hearing is scheduled for later this month, and that could be the final negotiations for the land. 

Mueller said the $11 million price originally was based on the “highest and best use” of the land which included selective logging. 

The Sempervirens Fund does not plan to log, but instead plans to give the land to the state parks department.