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National Trails Day – Free Guided Nature Hikes and Walks

By on May 16, 2015 in Events

National Trail Day Event HostCelebrate National Trails Day with free guided nature hikes and walks
Saturday June 6, 2015

In celebration of the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy staff and docents will lead free guided nature hikes and walks on five of our Nature Preserves. The events will all begin at 8:30 AM but will vary in length and degree of difficulty.

Easy

Ojai Meadows Preserve: Bird and Nature Walk led by Docents Bill Fox and Anita Cramm. The Ojai Meadows Preserve is our great restoration project. You will learn how this property has been transformed from a weed choke lot plot to a working wetland and welcoming home for native plants and wildlife. With the return of over 100 bird species since the restoration began, The Ojai Meadows Preserve is a favorite for birders.  Meet in front of the preserve on Maricopa Hwy. just west of Nordhoff High School.  There is street parking allowed on Maricopa Hwy.

Steelhead Preserve: OVLC Executive Director Brian Stark will lead this hike at the Ventura River Steelhead Preserve. Acquired in 2011 this preserve is not yet open to the public but research and restoration work is already underway. It is named the Steelhead Preserve because it is home to deep cool ponds of water that don’t dry up and provide a place for the steelhead to rest for extended periods of time before continuing their journey upstream. Brian will talk about the restoration work in progress and the vision for the future of the Steelhead Preserve. The entrance to the preserve is on Santa Ana Road and is well marked with OVLC Steelhead Preserve signage.

Moderate-Strenuous

Ilvento Preserve: Director of Advancement Tania Parker and her husband Tobias will lead this hike. A milestone in OVLC’s growth, the preserve was donated by the Ilvento family in 1997. Hikers are likely to encounter over 150 plant species as well as a variety of wildlife. The dramatic topographical relief features a high point of 2024 feet with breathtaking views of the Ojai and Upper Ojai Valleys as well as Topa Topa Bluffs and Chief Peak. RSVP is a must for this hike. Space is limited.

Ventura River Preserve: Take a hike up Wills/Rice Canyon to the El Nido Meadow with volunteers Perry VanHouten, John Pavelko and Jill Forman along with Conservation Program Manager Jill Taylor. This hike is moderate to difficult and is the longest one of the day. Be prepared to be out for 4 hours. El Nido means “nest” in Spanish, and there was once a homestead here called Rancho El Nido.  The meadow was previously dominated by non-native grasses and thistles, but recently an abundance of purple needle grass- California’s official native grass- has been coming back, since cattle don’t graze it like they once did.  Watch birds and other wildlife while you enjoy the serenity of the lovely meadow, surrounded by mountains and tucked neatly inside the western portion of the preserve.  We will be leaving from the Oso Trailhead at the end of Meyer Road.

Valley View Preserve: The “Valley View Preserve Hike” will provide an opportunity to walk several of the Ojai Land Conservancy’s beautiful new trails in the front country above Shelf Road, and also will allow a visual orientation to the many other loops these trails now make possible.  Also, we will identify any late blooming flowers and some of the classic chaparral plants.  The hike will start at the Pratt trailhead, walk about 10 minutes on the road to Shelf Road, then along Shelf Road to the Fox Canyon trailhead; we will then go up Fox Canyon to Foothill Trail, go west (left) on Foothill to Pratt, and down Pratt to the Pratt trailhead and your car.  Total distance is about 3 miles, with an elevation gain of about 750 ft.  The elevation gain makes this a moderate-to-strenuous hike, and we will go at a slow pace with plenty of pauses to admire the beautiful vistas and any flowers.  It is advisable to bring a small snack and plenty of water; a hiking stick would also be useful (a few will be made available).  To reach the Pratt trailhead, drive up N. Signal St to a left-turn at the signed turnoff for the Pratt trailhead (if you reach the very top of Signal St you have gone past the turnoff).  Drive a short distance on this dirt road to the trailhead at its end.

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