Fall is a perfect time for planting pines, and it has become a tradition to plant them the weekend following Thanksgiving on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. This year, however, much-needed rains caused us to cancel our annual Thanksgiving weekend tree-planting event.
Two hundred seventy trees and plenty of water were loaded up and ready to go. Volunteers had been lined up. All arrangements were made for a fun Saturday planting, but Mother Nature put a damper on our good intentions. We are all so grateful for the rain, but we had hoped it would wait until afternoon and help us water the newly planted seedlings. Oh well, the best laid plans …
Our Cambria Monterey pine forest is why so many visitors love Cambria and why so many of us choose to live here. The Monterey pines (Pinus radiata) in Cambria are one of the five isolated native stands of these beautiful trees in the world, making them awe-inspiring to think about, as well as to see. Each local population of these trees, from Año Nuevo north of Santa Cruz, to Cedros and Guadalupe Islands to the far south in Mexico, has evolved independently; each one having its own pool of specialized genes. Most of us think diversity is desirable, but for the health of our forest that diversity needs to be homegrown and adapted to our location. FFRP has tried to perpetuate this for years by planting trees grown from native stock on this protected space.
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Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve would like to again invite the community to join us from 9 a.m. until about noon Saturday, Dec. 17. All ages and levels of help are welcome. The work involved varies from very light chores to digging duties. Participants should meet at the Tipton entrance to the Ranch and follow the signs to the planting area, which is about halfway between Tipton and Huntington. Volunteers should dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes.
Some shovels and gloves will be provided, but please bring your own if you can. Snacks, water and juice will also be provided.
Using the trails
This year has seen many changes in the forest on the preserve; removal of dead and dying trees; forest thinning in test plots; chipping downed material and, lastly, spreading the chips on trails to define them and also to protect the tree roots exposed by trail use. (Thank you, volunteers, for reducing the great piles of chips left from all the work in the forest!)
Trails on the Ranch provide a beautiful and secure place to enjoy being out in nature, but as the number of visitors grows, so does the importance of keeping the trails safe and pleasant to use.
While on the Ranch, we ask that a few basic courtesies be observed:
▪ Walkers have the right of way over bicyclists, and horses have the right of way over both walkers and bicyclists.
▪ Motorized vehicles, other than maintenance and ADA assistance vehicles, are not allowed on the Ranch.
▪ Dogs must be on leash, per county ordinance.
▪ Please pick up after your pets and please remove waste bags from the preserve. There are trash cans at all entrances.
▪ No radio-controlled devices, including drones, are allowed on the property.
▪ Please don’t remove anything from the preserve. Collecting is only to be done for educational purposes and with permission.
▪ Do pack out anything you bring on to the Ranch.
If you would like to learn more about the Ranch, FFRP provides many opportunities for guided walks on the Ranch.
Jo Ellen Butler is executive director of Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Ranch Update appears quarterly and is special to The Cambrian.
Songs for the Season, 2 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Fogs End Barn, 2735 Main St., Cambria. Seasonal music will be provided by Ron Perry, vocals, hammer dulcimer and keyboard, and Mary Schwalbe, vocals and acoustic guitar, with an opportunity to sing along. Hors d’oeuvres and a wine bar, along with a raffle and silent auction, will round out the afternoon’s entertainment. Come and celebrate the season and support the Ranch. Tickets, $20, are available at the Cambria Chamber of Commerce, the FFRP office (604 Main St.) and at the door.
Mushrooms on the Ranch, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 8. Join Al Normandin for a mushroom identification walk on the Ranch. You are welcome to bring a few mushrooms for identification. This walk fills up early, so make your reservations at 805-927-2202 or www.cambriaranchwalks.com.