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.
NOTE (June 4, 2020): This website is in the process of being updated.
(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
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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.