Nothing is more surprising than the scorched landscape of a heavily burned forest – except for the stunning superbloom that covers the ground where the forest once stood.
Last week I hiked in the part of the San Bernardino Mountains that was severely burned by the El Dorado fire in 2022. I’m not sure what it is, pretty strange or strangely beautiful. The thick manzanita shrubs lined up along the uphill path towards the San Bernardino Peak have disappeared. The pines, which provided a shade and a great forest feel, also disappeared, unless you count the dead and black trees standing still.
The landscape is occupied by something else: thorny poppies (Argemon Munita) Flowers – Small and bulky shrubs with yellowish-centered flowers amidst large white petals – lining the sides of the trail and surrounding hills. As I walked, I saw more flowers. This is not a forest I know, but poppies have brought life to an otherwise barren ground, which is unexpectedly stunning.
“This landscape is definitely in the aftermath of a fire,” local plant expert and California Botanical Garden staffer David Bryant wrote in an email. “As the chaparral canopy recovers, thorny poppies diminish in number. The seeds wait in the natural seed bank until another trigger fire or disturbance event occurs.
It is well worth the hike to see the spectacle; It may not last much longer.
If you go: The San Bernardino Peak Trail begins at Highway 38 at Trailhead, near the fire station at Angels Oaks. Drive less than half a mile on dirt road and park; You need a day hiking license and adventure pass ($ 5).
The 10,649-foot summit is a long, hard slog of a 16.5-mile round-trip with a gain of 4,670 feet. But you only have to walk a few miles to see the poppy. In the first mile, you’ll see an abundance of lilac-colored penstemon and golden wallflower. From the second mile, you’ll see prickly poppies for miles. I suggest making the Manzanita Flats your destination to see the transitional flowers and forest. It is 4.2 miles each way on the easy-to-follow trail.
3 things to do this week
1. Take your children (or anyone, really) to an animal encounter. Not all nature excursions come with the hope that you will see animals. Consider going to a place that is sure to have scenes like the Star Eco Station in Culver City with exotic wildlife captured by federal authorities. Bobcat, fox, hedgehog and some animals (one room) for birds ($ 12 for adults; $ 10 for children). The Bunny Museum in Altadena has plenty of faux bunnies and bunny souvenirs (45,134 items according to its website) – and at least one real rabbit (free admission). Check out more places to see animals at SoCal.
2. Learn to identify native herbs in the walk of Ojai Conservation. Author and plant expert Lanny Kouffer (“Medicinal Herbs of California”) walks easy on the Ojai Meadows Preserve. You will learn how to identify indigenous plants used by Chumash and other indigenous people in California and the restoration of wetlands by the local Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. June 29 from 5 pm-7pm, $ 25 per person; Register in advance.
3. Enjoy a free outdoor festival at the Eaton Canyon Natural Area in Altadena. Eaton Canyon is one of the closest places to home with hiking trails and a popular (overcrowded) waterfall. The Nature Center presents a day filled with activities, from 9 am to 3 pm, with a bird walk, followed by a presentation on animal ambassadors, story time and coyotes. There is also classical music in the forest by adding music here. The piano is installed under oaks and amplified by speakers using solar panels. More information here.
Believed to be the world’s largest freshwater fish, the giant Stingray was caught by fishermen on June 13 in the Mekong River in Cambodia. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s website, “Half the length of the bus, the magnificent freshwater stingray may be the largest fish to swim in the earth today.”
According to an AP report, the giant Stingray weighed 13 feet and weighed about 660 pounds. Before it was released on June 14, scientists placed a tracking device near the fish’s tail. The device allows them to follow Stingray for up to a year and collect “unprecedented data on giant stingray behavior in Cambodia.”
The red flag
This is perhaps not surprising, but the wildfires that have acquired SoCal – and sent smoke and particles as far east as Boston – have created really bad air quality, with very lasting consequences. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken cars off the road and temporarily stopped some industries, particulate pollution – widely regarded as one of the biggest threats to life expectancy – has risen to some of the highest levels in decades in parts of California by 2020. Prepares the report, ”the LA Times story said. Also, fine particles in the air from wildfires are more dangerous than other sources of combustion.
Federal wildlife officials have long relied on thinning trees and burns (small, controlled fires are set to remove debris) to reduce the risk of wildfires and to maintain healthy forests. Recently, some California forestry projects have come under attack. Last week I proposed the removal of tens of pine, fir and oak trees in Big Bear Lake, which are considered “overgrown, unhealthy and vulnerable to drought and disease.”
There is already a plan to thin out the Yosemite National Park. One of the largest federal logging efforts ever undertaken in the park. “The Yosemite Valley employs thousands of dead trees and healthy ponderosa pines, white firs and incense deodorants to reduce the risk of fire to the habitats of giant sequoias, Merced and Tulumne groves, Pacific fishermen and rare species, including Great Gray. Owls and communities, including Yosemite Village, ”according to the LA Times story. Berkeley’s Earth Island Institute is suing to stop the project.
With so much going on in the world these days, you may have missed the news about a significant wildlife bill through Congress. The Recovery American Wildlife Act funds $ 1.39 billion in efforts annually – to keep endangered and threatened species at bay.
Three years ago, a comprehensive UN report recorded an “unprecedented” decline in nature and warned that 1 million species are endangered. Why should we care? Because what’s good for spotted owls or snail darters is good for us, ”Margaret Wrinkle wrote in the New York Times op-ed piece.
“We are not out of nature. We are part of it. Spotted owls are exposed to the air they breathe and the water they feed and the soil that they breathe. All. ”The bill was recently passed in the House and now goes to the Senate.
I cannot gather any bad will towards Jakarandas. The transplanted trees paint the purple color of Southern California with their flowering tree canopy in the spring. For me, bringing such beauty to our urban landscapes will compensate for what happens after the sticky purple flowers fall from the trees and cover the city streets.
Not so for columnist Gustavo Arellano. He openly hates Jacaranda (Ugh!) And compares them to other transplanted trees, which he says contributes greatly to LA: “Citrus established our reputation as a subtropical paradise and sowed the seeds of political activity for tired Mexican Americans in gardens. You are all Eucalyptus leaves. Loquats are as messy as jacaranda, but at least edible and delicious – like figs.
Oh! I would say that cleansing is worth the purple magic. What do you think? Let us know at [email protected]
Speaking of trees, they can be one of our best defenses against extreme heat. The city seeks to plant nearly 90,000 new trees as part of LA’s Green New Deal – a task that is harder than it sounds. “So far, only 65,000 trees have been planted. Officials are finding that their dependence on city dwellers to plant and care for trees comes with significant limitations: residents of poor neighborhoods who do not own land may actually have difficulty planting trees, or they may have problems with looking after new trees at their critical three-year establishment.” According to the LA Times story. Other trees fall victim to vandalism.
But the number of trees is not as important as the location. Some areas of the city (such as Downtown LA) are in desperate need of wood canopies. What can you do? Even during the historic drought, Angelinos are urged to water and keep the trees alive. You can pick up free trees for planting in city plants, and volunteer to plant and care for trees with organizations like TreePeople.
Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times
Your support helps us deliver more important news. Subscribe
Send us your thoughts
Share whatever you have in mind. Wild is written for you and delivered to your inbox for free. Drop us a line at [email protected]
Click to view the web version of this newsletter and sign up to share it with others and send it to your inbox once a week. I am Mary Forgeon, And I write The Wild. I have been exploring trails and open spaces in Southern California for over four decades.