Purisima Creek Redwoods
The Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains in San Mateo County, California, a few miles south of Half Moon Bay. The centerpiece of this 3,361-acre Preserve is Purisima Creek Canyon with its towering redwood trees, rushing creek, and understory of ferns, berries, and wildflowers.
The stump of a redwood tree can be seen in this photograph having fallen into the creek bed. In the late 1800's almost all of the redwoods that were not too small, too twisted, or too inaccessible had been cut from Purisima Canyon. There were seven mill sites located along the creek banks, all of which are gone today. In these early days of logging, men used hand saws and axes to fell the trees. It took up to a week to cut one of these giant trees. After they were cut, oxen would drag the logs down "skid roads" (roads with greased logs across them) to a sawmill along the creek. The redwood was used for shingles in the building of San Francisco after the Gold Rush and for lumber to develop the nearby town of Half Moon Bay.
Today, there are abundant "second growth" redwoods that are now permanently protected and preserved by an independent special district.