Forest of Nisene Marks
Located in Aptos, near Santa Cruz, is the Forest of Nisene Marks. The special thing about this place is that it’s a product of afforestation. What was once depleted by the Loma Prieta Mill is now back as a forest! While serving as living proof of what we can do to make the earth greener, it also offers the regular hiking and camping opportunities.
Did the name of the mill strike a bell? Yes, this forest is also the site of the epicenter of the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. You can check that out too. Day use will cost you $6 per vehicle. But I’m not sure how much you’ll have to shell out for camping.
I went there just a couple of weeks ago — not an ideal time, with the super-tall trees concealing the already hide-and-seek-playing sun. Also, some portions of the park are closed for vehicles during this time.
Maybe in the summer, when you head out to Santa Cruz or the Mystery Spot, take a peep into the Forest of Nisene Marks. There lies some hope for the wounded earth.