About the Park

Woodside, Ca – San Mateo County Park

Science Spotlight: Eucalyptus in California

While winding out of the young redwood forest at Wunderlich County Park, I was met with stands of eucalyptus – a non-native species deeply rooted in the logging history of the San Francisco Bay Area.

When checking out the plant life on your local hikes, it’s likely that you’re witnessing a mosaic of native and non-native species. It is estimated that California is home to over 1,000 non-native plants, introduced by early settlers of the state. There are 5,000 native plant species in California – making the non-natives a decently large proportion of plant life.

Native to Australia, eucalyptus trees are a common household name known for their beautiful gray-colored leaves and aromatic oil. California settlers during the Gold Rush faced high demands for lumber and a looming concern for the amount of native forest logging. Eager for a good source of wood, operations planted millions of eucalyptus trees around the Bay Area.

The eucalyptus optimism was met with failure – settlers soon discovered that eucalyptus trees are not good for lumber until after the wood matures over 75 – 100 years. Today, they still are present in many areas along the Bay.

Wunderlich 6 Logo

Eucalyptus trees dot the edges of the trail at Wunderlich County Park.

Park History

The Costanoan Native Americans inhabited the park area prior to settlement by Europeans.

Just like nearby Huddart Park, the redwood forest in the area was heavily logged during the Gold Rush. In 1840, John Copinger established a ranch in the area. The ranch changed ownership until it was sold to James A Folger II (yes, you guessed it – the Folger’s Coffee family!) in 1902 to be used as recreational area. The Folger Stable and Carriage House are still open to the public today, used as a stable and museum.

The land was purchased by Martin Wunderlich in 1956, who gifted the area to San Mateo County in 1974.

Visit the Park

Please note that there is no entrance fee to enter the park. Dogs are not allowed.

When visiting, we recommend checking out the Folger Stable and Carriage House for a taste of South Bay history from the lens of the famous coffee family. We also recommend checking out Salamander Flat – keep your eye out for any amphibians there!

Here are some helpful resources to plan your visit:

Gallery

Posted by Taylor Crisologo

Taylor studied biology at Cornell University, where she worked with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on projects ranging from breeding herring gulls off the coast of Maine to dancing lyrebirds in Australia’s Blue Mountains. When she’s not researching great places to experience Bay Area nature, you can find her birding or reading a book at home with her husband and their two indoor cats (Max and Penelope).

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