Great Hikes: Oak Glen Preserve for Fall Colors

Great Hikes: Oak Glen Preserve for Fall Colors

Fall in Southern California falls a little short for this Midwestern transplant. So a recent trip to The Wildlands Conservancy’s Oak Glen Preserve in Oak Glen CA, with its changing foliage of California box elders, sycamores and Kellogg oaks, made for one happy day. The fresh apple pie from Riley’s apple farm next door [Read more...]

Great hikes: Head to the Crafton Hills

Great hikes: Head to the Crafton Hills

I’m always on the lookout for hikes that feature our area’s rich California native habitat and wildlife — and Crafton Hill’s Grape Street Trail in Yucaipa provides plenty of that. It’s an intermediate trail that takes you up a not-too-steep hill to nice views [Read more...]

Great Hikes: ‘Wild’ Wildwood Canyon State Park

Great Hikes: ‘Wild’ Wildwood Canyon State Park

I discovered another great, secluded hiking area in the inland area  - Wildwood Canyon State Park –  tucked away off Wildwood Canyon Road in Yucaipa, California. In another example of the importance of land conservation [Read more...]

Great hikes: Oakmont Park (Redlands CA)

Great hikes: Oakmont Park (Redlands CA)

In 2010, Carol Blaney moved with her family to the Inland Empire from Yosemite National Park, where as an interpretive park ranger she worked with Yosemite’s stunning scenery as her backdrop. The transition was helped when Blaney came across Redland’s Oakmont Park – she felt she had discovered a wild place. [Read more...]

Great hikes: Coachella Valley’s McCallum Trail

Great hikes: Coachella Valley’s McCallum Trail

I finally made it out to Coachella Valley Preserve  in Thousand Palms CA (near Palm Springs) to check out one of the hikes, the McCallum Trail, which in only two miles takes you through two palm oases, across the San Andreas Fault zone and through a desert wash. [Read more...]

If Nature Could Really Speak: Challenges to Sky Island

If Nature Could Really Speak: Challenges to Sky Island

This is from a friend of mine, Denise Morse, a fellow defender of the environment. We served together on a land trust board in Alpine CA. She writes about Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountain Sky Island – a wildlife haven outside Tucson that is facing a new copper mine

by Denise Morse

I parked facing west looking at a heavily vegetated tall mountain region that was crowned by ominous storm clouds. I pushed back my seat and rolled down the windows and began to listen for nature.  It wasn’t long before I heard a woodpecker tapping diligently on what looked like an Arizona White Oak.  [Read more...]

Medicinal and Edible California Natives

Medicinal and Edible California Natives

My husband and I often test berries from native plants that we know are safe, especially after seeing birds and other wildlife eat them. Some of the past grazings have included native currant berries or hollyleaf cherry berries – both bright red and pretty good tasting. Sometimes it’s non-natives, such as strawberries from a neighbor’s 40 feet row of strawberry trees (the Arbutus unedo version have the best fruit), although the plan backfired a bit when our 3 year old granddaughter threw herself into the fun with a little too much gusto, and threw up after eating about a dozen of them.

A couple weeks ago I attended a very interesting walk at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG), led by William Broen, an ethnobotanist who has studied medicinal, edible [Read more...]