|Pogonip contains a wide variety of habitats
grassland meadows, dark cool forest, creek beds and jungle-like growth throughout
the entire park. Three stands of virgin redwoods remain in the park after
heavy logging in the 1860s-1880s. Native trees include mixed evergreen
forests of live oak, madrone, douglas fir, California bay, tan oak and second
growth redwood. The conifers (redwood and Douglas fir) are generally found
on the cool ravine slopes, whereas the broadleaf evergreens (oaks, madrones
and bays) are found in and around the meadows.
The chaparral community includes ceanothus, manzanita, huckleberry, sticky monkey-flower, coffeeberry, coyote bush, wild mustard and radish. The riparian community along the springs, creeks and the San Lorenzo River includes horsetail, wax myrtle, maple, cottonwood, willow, and several ferns, predominatly woodfern and swordfern. Poison oak grows throughout Pogonip.
Wildlife still exists in abundance at Pogonip though some of its former residents have moved on or become extinct, namely the bear and antelope. Ground squirrels, grey squirrels, quail, scrub and stellar jays, red tailed hawks and deer can still be seen at almost any time. Coyote and bobcat have been sighted on the property, but are very shy. Gopher snakes and fence lizards are plentiful and in the forested cool areas of Pogonip resides the popular mascot of UCSC, the banana slug.
Ohlone Indians lived in the area now called Pogonip. In the Ohlone language, Pogonip means icy fog. They formed part of a language group which extended from the San Francisco Bay Headlands to Point Sur. The Santa Cruz Region was bountiful in resources for these hunters/gatherers. Acorns from the several species of oak provided a staple food. Seeds, berries, mushrooms and greens were harvested along with shellfish, crab, mussels, clams, and abalone. Waterfowl, steelhead and salmon filled the San Lorenzo River and neighboring streams. Large game such as elk, deer and antelope also lived in this area. The Ohlone used plant and animal materials for food and for making tools, baskets, clothing, jewelry and other things.