"The road from Highway 1 rises along the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, through vineyards and horse farms, to the steepening Empire Grade. A dirt-road turnoff dips into a dank twilight, sun filtering through stands of trees that John Steinbeck called “ambassadors from another time.”
The coast redwoods, ancient and threatened, mix with towering Douglas firs and opportunistic tanoaks throughout this restoration project on a mountaintop just miles from the sea. The redwoods here are youthful, none probably more than a century and a half old. The massive stumps of their old-growth ancestors are encircled by the young, clusters known as “fairy rings.”
As California’s climate changes to one of extremes and humans continue to harvest, the only coast redwoods on the planet are in peril. The challenge to preserving them is here, in forests like this one — and so, scientists believe, is the key to a solution."