California State Parks recently launched a Forest Health Initiative at Castle Rock State Park thanks to a grant from CalFire. With the aim to selectively thin overabundant Douglas firs and brush to preserve black oaks and other hardwood tree species, this effort will also reduce the risk of catastrophic fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Black oaks in particular are a rare and essential part of the Santa Cruz Mountains ecosystem that require active management to continue thriving locally. This initiative will not only protect 266 acres of predominantly black oak woodlands but many other fire-dependent plant communities and the animals that depend on them. This is an important first step towards restoring a historically biodiverse landscape that was carefully tended by native Ohlone people prior to European colonization. Castle Rock State Park is a land of sculpted sandstone, lush forests, sweeping vistas and is known for epic rock climbing. Thirty-five miles of rugged trails which connect to an extensive trail system that links to nearby Big Basin Redwoods State Park and open space preserves on the iconic Skyline to the Sea Trail. The initiative is expected to be completed by summer 2023.