View of the Pogonip

Vision Statement for the Pogonip

“Pogonip is a place to be appreciated for its natural beauty, habitat value and serenity, in contrast to the built environment. Pogonip should provide the community with education and recreation opportunities that are environmentally and economically sustainable.”

– from the Pogonip Master Plan
Note: The Pogonip Master Plan is available in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.

We updated our website on October 9, 2017:

Please attend the meeting of the Santa Cruz City Council on October 10, 2017. The meeting starts at 12:06 pm, in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers, 809 Center Street in Santa Cruz.

The Council will consider “accepting the Draft Parks Master Plan Priorities and Initiation of the CEQA Review Process (PR)”.

A copy of the Draft Parks Master Plan (PMP) is available here.

Friends of the Pogonip will be submitting its petition, and expressing its appreciation that the revised Draft Parks Master Plan 2030 (PMP) acknowledges that the PMP “neither replaces nor overrides” the existing 1998 Pogonip Master Plan, and that future recommended projects not included in the existing Pogonip Master Plan will require amendments to that plan and that “CEQA review would be necessary.” (See the PMP Page 4.4-1, or Page 233 of the pdf.)

We remain opposed to adding more mountain biking trails on the Pogonip.

  • The Pogonip is too valuable a wildlife habitat to be sacrificed to mountain biking, and
  • The Pogonip is too small (one square mile) to absorb more mountain biking trails without increasing conflicts with hikers, and
  • There are enough mountain biking trails now on the Pogonip and throughout Santa Cruz County to provide for that active recreational sport. There are many trails already constructed, and in use, in the area to the north of the Pogonip, on the UCSC and State Park properties, that provide technical downhill trails with jumps and obstacles. Such trails are easily found using Google or YouTube. Many of them are illegal, but have been in use for years. Some have been recently created. There is no need to build yet another such trail on the Pogonip.

    To see examples of challenging technical downhill mountain biking trails near the Pogonip, try these links: One: an example of a recent video (February, 2017) of the Chupacabra Trail. Two: another example, with a variety of locations, from 2009, and Three: a third example, from December, 2015.
If you are unable to attend the City Council meeting on October 10, please consider writing to the Council members by clicking on this link.

Click here to read Barbara Childs's letter that describes how Marin and Contra Costa Counties deal with the demands of mountain bikers for more trails in their open spaces.

Also check out the “Solvitur ambulando” piece below (recently added), along with some added text near the bottom of this page.

Finally, there's a new happy chapter in our “Tale of Two Signs”. Read about it here.

Solvitur ambulando

(It is solved by walking.)

“Man takes root at his feet, and at best he is no more than a potted plant in his house or carriage, till he has established communication with the soil by the loving and magnetic touch of his soles to it. Then the tie of association is born; then spring those invisible fibres and rootlets through which character comes to smack of the soil, and which makes a man kindred to the spot of earth he inhabits.” – John Burroughs, “The Exhilarations of the Road,” 1895

“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. When body and mind are out of gear (and those twin parts of me live at such close quarters that the one always catches melancholy from the other) I know that I have only to call in my doctors and I shall be well again.”
– George Macaulay Trevelyan, “Walking,” 1913


“It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk. In happy hours all affairs may be wisely postponed for this. It is a fine art; there are degrees of proficiency, and we distinguish the professors from the apprentices. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good-humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much. Good observers have the manners of trees and animals, and if they add words, it is only when words are better than silence.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Country Life,” 1857
“I personally would rather do the existentially essential things in life on foot. If you live in England and your girlfriend is in Sicily, and it is clear you want to marry her, then you should walk to Sicily to propose. For these things travel by car or aeroplane is not the right thing.”
– Werner Herzog, “Of Walking in Ice,” 1978

To read what others have to say, click here.


The Pogonip is a treasure

The Pogonip, 640 acres—only one square mile—of natural open space and wildlife habitat, is a treasured public common in Santa Cruz, California. With its variety of redwood and oak forests, coastal prairie, many streams flowing from springs down steep rugged slopes toward the San Lorenzo River, with miles of trails and a rich history, the Pogonip is a unique open space, especially since it is immediately adjacent to our urbanized area. At the right is one of its few old-growth redwoods, never cut because it was too gnarled. (If you want to survive, be gnarled.)

Such places are rare, and should be valued and protected by members of our community.

Other nearby natural areas, especially Wilder, the upper UCSC campus, and DeLaveaga Park, provide ample opportunities for the mountain biking experience at all levels of technical difficulty. In those places, essentially every path is open to use by mountain bikers, and those that simply want to walk quietly or watch birds or look at wildflowers tend to avoid such places.

The Pogonip: How this name, which is a Shoshone Paiute word from the Eastern Sierra meaning “a dense winter fog” came to be applied here remains a mystery. (See Santa Cruz County Place Names, by Donald Clark, Santa Cruz Historical Society, 1986.) Perhaps it was brought by one of our Ohlone tribe who had traveled east to visit his girlfriend.

“It was the Indian's way to pass through a country without disturbing anything; to pass and leave no trace, like fish through the water, or birds through the air.”

– Willa Cather, from Death Comes for the Archbishop.

Our website is sponsored by Friends of the Pogonip. This page was last updated on October 9, 2017. Please write to us to report website problems. The bobcat is a Pogonip resident.

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