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Pioneering land trust celebrates 25th anniversary

Pioneering land trust celebrates 25th anniversary


December 15, 2002
Sentinel staff writer

The names are rugged ones: Bear Creek, Buzzard Lagoon, Circle P
Ranch, White Water Cove.
They are just a few of the names of county streams, bluffs and
greenbelts, and they remain rugged today because of the Land Trust
of Santa Cruz County. The group will celebrate its 25th year in 2003
and already is gearing up for some pretty heady celebrations.
The first will be its 25th Anniversary Gala, to be held Feb. 21 at the
Holy Cross Hall on Mission Hill in Santa Cruz. The event will honor the
group’s founders and local heroes of land conservation, such as Anna
Jean Cummings, the namesake of an Aptos park and environmental
scientist John Gilchrist.
The group was founded at a time of change in the county. In 1978,
the Land Trust was founded and the growth control initiative Measure
J passed in the county. The year before, the Santa Cruz Community
Credit Union was founded. Only a few years later, in 1983,
progressives would become the permanent majority on the Santa Cruz
City Council.
And since its founding, the land trust has preserved 16 sites and
more than 1,500 acres in the county. The group has been able to do
this through four methods: gifts from landowners, who donate the
property; purchases made by the land trust with fund-raising money;
conservation easements, in which property owners continue to own
the land, but sign an agreement that they will not develop it in
perpetuity; and management agreements with property owners.
Lair Davis, communications director of the land trust, said he’s
impressed by how vital the organization continues to be after so long.
Of the 60 members who founded the group in 1978, 23 still belong.
The organization’s ranks have swelled to 600 members.
“What struck me right away when I joined the group was that this
was such a community-oriented land trust,” said Davis. “There is a
really committed and involved donor base that has continued to be
astoundingly active from the beginning.”
Contact Heather Boerner at hboerner (at)

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