Rare forest, special needs
Be careful what you ask for.
Now that the dust has settled on the masticator, let’s look at what we’ve done to our rare Monterey pine habitat on the Cambria Ranch, currently owned by Ralph Covell. This is one of three such habitats on the planet, and our paranoia has honored it with the Stalag 13 perimeter look —31⁄2 miles of it. (By the way, the conservation easement states; no livestock or motorized vehicles in the forest. But I digress.)
To actually understand how this particular habitat functions, let’s get down and dirty. We’ll start with the topsoil. It averages about 21⁄2 feet deep, and it holds up 100-foot tall trees because their root systems travel horizontally thru it. The summer fog drips off of the trees, providing one-half inch of rain directly to the roots. The shade from the understory holds this moisture in. Where does this soil come from? Decomposition of the understory. Eliminate the understory, and these fragile trees die. That’s why they are called “plant communities,” because they live together.
When I started to explore these woods in 1986, there was a common misconception that all pine forests needed fire to regenerate. Based on the foresters report for the mastication, “there has been no wildfire for the last 100 years.” No one knows before that, yet the forest has regenerated. How?
Based on the CDF’s (pre-Cal Fire) “Homeowners Guide to Fire Resistant Plants for the San Luis Obispo Area,” and other government agency fire resistant plant guides, most of our native plant community is fire resistant. This includes toyon, monkeyflower, ceanothus, sage, wild strawberry, sycamores and the tree that coexists with our pines, the coast live oak. They all provide duff to revitalize the soil. No duff, no new soil, no chantrelle mushrooms — you get the picture.
This forest is DECOMPOSTION REGENERATIVE. Natural fires are not part of the picture. During the hot days in fall, you can hear the cones pop open, ready for the rainy season, with no assistance from fire. If you walk in the woods, you can see scars from lightning strikes that have not burnt the plant next to it.
We have taken the wrong path, and need to reverse our “kill it to save us” mentality. Like the old adage says, “consider the next seven generations.” This resource was here when we were born; it does not belong to us. Our job is to care for it and pass it along.
John Colgan is a past president of The Cambria Land Conservancy and a past director of The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.
Help is available
Along with the rest of the nation, Transitions-Mental Health Association mourns the tragedy that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. This event continues to bring out strong emotions, and we wish to remind our community that SLO Hotline is a local resource that can provide immediate support to anyone who needs help in dealing with the many issues and problems that might arise.
SLO Hotline is a confidential, free service available 24 hours of every day, and can be reached at 800-549-4499.
TMHA also wants to emphasize to our neighbors throughout San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties that there are many excellent mental health resources available for anyone with questions or concerns for themselves, friends, or loved ones.
These resources include support groups, treatment, therapy, as well as emergency response for anyone in true crisis. For more information, please call 540-6500 or the SLO Hotline.
All of our staff, consumers and extended family wish the Central Coast a warm, peaceful holiday season.
Jill Bolster-White, executive director
Transitions-Mental Health Association, San Luis Obispo
I would like to express a BIG “thank you” to Cambria Pines Lodge for the wonderful Christmas lights display and Christmas market trail.
Walking through the lighted garden paths was a “fairyland” experience, one of my most “favorite things” to remember.
Mr. Winter has managed to create a place of Christmas magic for all of us to visit and enjoy.
Friends and family are being encouraged to make a date to visit Cambria next December. The beauty of it all is too good to not see it!
Many hands, great help
As the 2012 Operation Holiday Package (OHP) campaign comes to a close, we need to thank so many who did so much to make this year’s program such a success.
First are the Cambrians who took on the elements for eight weeks in front of the post office and at the Cambria Farmers Market selling packages. Then we have the generous local merchants and hotel owners who donated almost $2,000. The ladies of the First Baptist Church need to be thanked for all the handmade scarfs and over 200 personal notes.
Thank you, our local youth groups for the day of set up (Cub Pack 217), packaging, collecting Halloween candy, and especially to the students of Santa Lucia Middle School for writing letters to each of the 32 service members stationed in non-combat areas.
Stan, Penny and, of course, Del at the Cookie Crock went out of their way to discount and get 193 cases of food ready. Once again Meathead Movers came through by donating all of the shipping boxes. The list goes on but you get the idea.
Without this town’s help and support 165 personal boxes and 10 bulk toy boxes never would have reached our troops in Afghanistan. Starbucks gift cards, beef jerky and other personal items never would have reached those stationed in the U.S., in Europe, or at sea.
I would also like to thank all of those who showed up at our airports, train stations and the 432 Club House throughout the year to welcome home our local service members.
This, of course, comes with our gratitude to our local restaurants who welcomed them with gift certificates to celebrate a home town meal. Some claim patriotism; Cambrians demonstrate it every year. Until they all come home.
Cambria American Legion
Holiday luncheon a hit
One of our members was heard to say, “This was the best holiday luncheon ever!”
Those of us from University Women of Cambria completely agree. In fact, at our Dec. 3 Holiday Luncheon we raised nearly $6,000, and that is the highest sum ever.
The event took place at Cambria Pines Lodge, and the items provided for auction and raffle were tremendous, and all the lucky winners were thrilled with their prizes.
Credit goes to our members who purchased tickets, bid on the auction items, and just plain gave donations. Nearly all proceeds will go toward scholarships for deserving seniors at Coast Union High School and Leffingwell High School.
The following restaurants donated gift certificates: Alloco’s Italian Bakery, Creekside Garden Café, Dragon Bistro, French Bakery, Manta Rey, Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill, Robin’s, Sea Chest, San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill, Sandy’s Deli, Sebastian’s, Old Stone Station, and the Tea Cozy.
Gift baskets were provided by: Exotic Nature, Linn’s Restaurant, Fermentations, Lucia Apothecary, Hearst Ranch Beef, Hearst Ranch Winery, and Trader Joe’s of Templeton.
Pewter Playhouse provided tickets to a play, Allied Arts gave play tickets, Casa de Oro gave us earrings and a necklace, Wildwood donated a small purse, Cambria Drug & Gift provided scented candles, A Matter of Taste give us a gift certificate, and Brett White Gallery gave us a metallic print.
Gift certificates or services were provided by Cookie Crock, Froggi’s, Sweet Offerings, Skin Care of Cambria, Nails by Pat, Morro Nails, True Skin, Diva Day Spa, Pacific Hair Design, Coffee Den, Janice Cziban at Skin Care, and Cut & Run Hair Salon.
Once Upon a Tyme sent us a porcelain doll, GymOne gave one month of membership, and Chambers Gallery donated a necklace. Friends of Hearst Ranch offered tour tickets, Red Moose Cookie Company donated a gift certificate, Linn’s provided a cashmere wrap, and Joen Kommer gave us a ceramic vase.
We must recognize the lovely ladies who secured the bounty listed above, beginning with Cynthia Lee, our second vice president, working with Kristi Jenkins, our first vice president, and members Emily Penfield and Lyn Nercessian.
Credit goes to Gloria Ohlendorf, our trusty treasurer, who has assisted with all things monetary by Jean Chinnici, our past president, JoAnn King and Josephine Jarvis. Thanks also to our secretary, Donna Crocker, who provided minutes.
We had four charming young people from our high school who assisted with our raffle, and provided help in delivering prizes: Kylie Castle, Bennett McManus, Maxx Rivera and Alexandra Zaragoza. The students were able to join us thanks to the help of Mrs. Cheryl Seay, counselor at Coast Union.
It will be a joy awarding our scholarships this spring to very deserving and accomplished high school seniors knowing that we all worked together to make it happen.
If you wish to join our organization, please give me a call at 927-2885.
Diann DePasquale, president
University Women of Cambria
I would again like to extend a big thank you to all who made donations in the red kettles during this holiday season. A special thanks to the Cookie Crock market for their $5 coupon offer which made this another successful year for collections.
Ninety percent of the cash and checks that were deposited in the kettles will be used solely in our community during 2013. Again, thanks to the Cookie Crock market and the post office for allowing us to incessantly ring the bell on their premises. Thanks also to the White Caps Salvation Army Band for playing Christmas music at the Cookie Crock.
And, finally, thank you to the following list of bell ringers, all of whom are volunteers, many of whom have been helping out for years: Mary Adamson, Ruthanne Anderson, John Angel, Pat & Jess Bathke, Jim Battles, Marguerite & Wayne Broome, Peter Chaldecott, Art Chapman, Bob Clunie, Barbara Crowley, Ron Crummitt, Don Dallmann, Linda Douglas, Carmelle Dowdle, Betty & Ken Eberle, Terry & Jeri Farrell, Dan Field, Carol Frane, Barbara & Marshall Gilston, Shirley Green, Bob Heald, Barbara Heki, Mary Hill, Ray Hopkins, Georgianne Jackson, Bill Johnson, Rose Kassler, Bob Kelley, Barbara Kellogg, Barbara & Dave Kier, Joen Kommer, Rob Kontoff, J. Stewart Kreiss, Dora & Bob Lane, Darin Lankford, Bob Lennan, Teri Lord, Abel Martinez, Barb Mayberry, Ralph McAdams, Dan & Linda McDonald, Samantha & Ethan McDowell, Jerry McKinnon, Mike McLaughlin, Priscilla Mikesell, Doreen Minick, Darcy Moreno, Mary Ann Mullen, Tom Parsons, Dave & Karen Pearson, Maye & Richard Pierpont, Mike Pope, Bob Putney, Erv Rodgers, Tish Rogers and Belle, Mike Scharrar, Lynne Singer, John Smart, Doug Spelts, Greg Stone, Susan Stuczynski, John Tays, Vito Tullo, Mac Van Duzer, Art Van Rhyn, Ruben Villalobos, Mike Walsh, Beverly Whitaker, Cyndi Whittmeyer and Joe Zenk.
Salvation Army, Cambria