When 43 students from Nueva Vista Community Resources over the past six weeks have explored, enjoyed, investigated and protected the lower San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, how do we celebrate the end of another phenomenal round of Summer Fun Watershed Rangers? By going back to the River, of course! 

The Coastal Watershed Council is thrilled to have secured funding from Save the Redwoods League and California Dept. of Parks and Recreation to invite every single Summer Fun youth participant on a trip to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park via the Roaring Camp Railroad train– And to sweeten the deal, each youth participant could invite an additional youth and adult! What could be more fun than sharing a special adventure in nature with close friends and family? 

Above: Looking straight up into the redwood forest on our train ride!

Below: Crossing the famous San Lorenzo River train bridge in Henry Cowell State Park


In total, over 80 lower San Lorenzo River neighbors of all ages joined CWC staff at Beach Flats Park on the morning of July 22nd to embark on the adventure. As a massive group of smiles and excitement, we boarded the Roaring Camp train at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and were in awe as we choo-choo’d our way through ancient redwoods along the San Lorenzo River. Upon arrival at the train station, our group took a short walk to a sandy beach at the River for lunchtime and a serious amount of splashing in its cool, clear waters.

Above: All smiles aboard the Roaring Camp train!

Below: Our picnic lunch on the San Lorenzo River

Nueva Vista families and friends could not contain their energy and love for their community and the San Lorenzo River. For many of the 80+ Santa Cruz residents in attendance, this was their first time visiting Henry Cowell State Park and their first time realizing that the river in the mountains was the same San Lorenzo River that flows through Santa Cruz! Though our 3 hour trip went by in an instant, it was clear by the glowing smiles and dripping wet swim trunks on our return train trip that our goals of nature connection, community building, and appreciation for our State Parks had been accomplished.

Above: Hold on tight or risk getting drenched!

Below: The San Lorenzo River water is nice and cool and oh so refreshing.

As CWC’s director Laurie Egan shared in a recent staff meeting, “It was so rewarding to see the strategy we’ve been pursuing come alive – engaging people who live along the lower San Lorenzo River and reaching beyond the classroom and the kids to engage their parents as well.”

Above: Students on the train really enjoyed viewing the San Lorenzo River from above.


This community field trip would not have been possible without generous funding from Save the Redwoods League, Adams Legacy Foundation and the California State Parks Outdoor Equity Program, and with support from the incredible Nueva Vista staff and Roaring Camp Railroads. Thank you for investing in healthy communities and a healthy San Lorenzo River. 

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