The Advocates for the Forest of Nisene Marks is a Santa Cruz County based nonprofit working to maintain and improve the park.

The Advocates were formed in 1992 by Jeff Hicks, Jim Nee and Sandy Lydon. Our organization today still works toward its mission through strong leadership, dedicated volunteers, and generous donations.

We Discover Solutions and Create a Lasting Impact


The Marks family of Salinas deeded more than 9,000 acres of land to the state of California for use as public park land in 1963. Named after the previous land owner, Nisene Marks, the gifted deed specified that the “nature preserve” be used only for camping, hiking, and nature study. Other donations have increased park acreage to nearly 10,000 acres! The Forest of Nisene Marks honors forest regeneration and preservation efforts.



Our Ambitious Mission

The challenges facing our park have never been greater and the need for bold solutions has never been more urgent. Your support will allow us to put the best conservation methods into action right now.


Our mission demands that we do everything in our power to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Our science shows us that we can. From our historic work in bridge bulding, educational exhibits, trail making, and fundraising efforts to our of leveraging of public-private partnerships to facilitate additional resources to the park, The Advocates for the Forest of Nisene Marks are constantly evolving so that we can take on the park's most important challenges.

Three decades of conservation experience have taught us that we can accomplish more for the natural world when we bring together people and organizations across borders, across sectors and across political aisles. We all have a stake in a better future.