Make a New Year’s resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2019 with an invigorating First Day Hike at Saddleback Butte State Park or Red Rock Canyon State Park, as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.
America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1st at a state park. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.
“America’s state parks are stunning year-round, but there’s nothing quite like a First Day Hike to really take in the great outdoors and kick off the New Year in a healthy way” said National Association of State Park Directors President Linda Lanterman. “Grab your family and friends, lace up those boots and seek out a new adventure at a state park. Friendly staff and spectacular views will be waiting for you!”
At Saddleback Butte State Park, staff and volunteers will lead the hikes which vary from an easy half mile to a strenuous five mile hike up the butte. Check in for all hikes at the park Visitor Center, 17102 East Avenue J, Lancaster (corner of 170th St E and East Avenue J, near Lake Los Angeles). Kids are welcome, but dogs are not allowed on trails in California State Parks. Bring a lunch to enjoy in the park’s Picnic Area after returning from the hikes! Fundraising activities will also be offered to benefit the Support Saddleback Committee (cash or checks only). Visit www.Facebook.com/SaddlebackButte for more information and updates.
· 9 a.m. – Hike to top of Saddleback Butte
Moderately strenuous. Five miles and about three hours roundtrip; 1000 ft of elevation gain to an incredible view across the Mojave Desert. Bring water and wear good hiking shoes and layered clothing; it can be very windy at the top.
· 10 a.m. – Hike across the park
Easy to moderate. 4.3 miles with little elevation gain; about 1 ¾ hours. Dress for the weather; bring water and hat, walking sticks are optional. Enjoy the beautiful high desert views over the Antelope Valley; this is a great winter’s hike.
· 11 a.m. – Dowen Nature Trail
Easy. Ranger-lead interpretive tour along the nature trail. Learn about the unique natural and cultural history of the local area. 1/2 mile loop with mild elevation gain, about 1 hour; wheelchair/stroller accessible.
A 9-mile, all-day hike will also be led at Red Rock Canyon State Park, 22 miles north of Mojave on Highway 14:
· Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the dirt lot on the east side of Hwy 14, ¾ mile north of Abbot Road for a hike into Nightmare Gulch with a side trip into the well-hidden “Secret Silent City”. The strenuous route begins with a scramble over three ridges to enjoy the fabulous views, with an elevation gain/loss of approximately 3000’. This hike is not for beginners, and dogs are not allowed on this guided hike; no exceptions. Wear layered clothing and bring plenty of water and snacks/lunch; hikers are responsible for their own health and safety. Participants will be back by approximately 4pm; only heavy rain will cancel. Visit www.Facebook.com/RedRockCanyonStatePark for more information and updates.
“America’s State Parks invite the young and old alike to discover the serenity and natural beauty through exploring the beautiful public lands in every state,” the National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director Lewis Ledford said. “Hiking is a great way to improve your physical and mental health while enjoying the outdoors.” Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.
Nation-wide information about First Day Hikes offered, their difficulty and length, and tips regarding proper clothing can be found at www.naspd.org. America’s State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.
Join Audubon Christmas Bird Count
at Red Rock Canyon State Park
Come to Red Rock Canyon State Park on Friday, Jan. 4th to help look for birds as part of the Audubon Society’s 119th Christmas Bird Count. The annual count is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. Since the first count in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count has provided critical data on population trends.
Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt”; they would choose sides and go afield with their gun, and whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won. Around the turn of the 20th century, observers and scientists were just beginning to become concerned about declining bird populations so ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition- a “Christmas Bird Census”- that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.
Beginner to expert birders are all welcome; please pre-register by emailing Jean.Rhyne@parks.ca.gov. Bring bird books if you have them, layered clothing, binoculars, shoes that can get muddy, water and snacks. 4-wheel drive vehicles are appreciated for carpooling to remote sites, and there will also be nearby count areas accessible to anyone. Meet at the Visitor Center on Abbot Rd off Hwy 14 on Friday, January 4th at 8 a.m. for registration and orientation; count areas will be determined at check-in. “Early birds” can also meet at 7 a.m. for birding at Red Rooster (email to RSVP). For more information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, visit www.ChristmasBirdCount.org.
When: Friday, January 4, 8:00 a m.
Where: Meet at Red Rock Canyon State Park visitor center, end of Abbot Road off Hwy 14, Cantil.
Seasonal Park Maintenance Aide
Red Rock Canyon State Park
State Parks is seeking applicants for a Seasonal Park Maintenance Aide position at Red Rock Canyon State Park. Under the general direction and supervision of the District Maintenance Chief, the maintenance aide is responsible for performing routine housekeeping and maintenance of facilities and grounds as detailed in the duty statement. The maintenance aide may also be asked to assist with maintenance and housekeeping tasks at other parks.
The Seasonal Park Maintenance Aide job is moderately strenuous. It will include litter and garbage collection and disposal; cleaning and maintaining picnic areas, campsites, restrooms, offices, museums, and visitor centers; and assisting with basic plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting, vandalism repairs, road and trail maintenance, and fence repairs.
This is a 9-month-long seasonal appointment. This position has irregular hours, typically with two 8-hour shifts for a total of 16 hours a week; one or more of these shifts will be on a weekend. Additional hours may be required but are not guaranteed, and additional weekend, evening, and holiday work might be required.
This is a uniformed position, and requires a valid California driver’s license. The starting wage is $12.00 an hour.
Applications must be received by Jan. 11, 2019. To apply, complete a California State Application Form (https://jobs.ca.gov/pdf/std678.pdf) and mail it to:
California State Parks
15701 East Avenue M
Lancaster, CA 93535
Poppy Reserve Volunteer Training for 2019 Wildflower Season
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s two-day volunteer training for the 2019 spring wildflower season will be held on Saturdays February 2nd and 9th. Learn about the wildflowers, wildlife, history and volunteer duties at the training, and then meet people from around the world that have come to see our beautiful wildflowers! Volunteer opportunities include staffing the visitor center and gift shop, walking the trails, and/or leading tours.
Volunteers may range in age from student to senior citizen, and no experience or prior knowledge is required. Volunteers must be interested in learning, and have a positive, friendly attitude. New volunteers must attend both training days and pass a background check. The active season is from March 1-May 13 (Mother’s Day), and a minimum average of 8 hours per month is required (scheduling is flexible). Call (661) 946-6900 or email Jean.Rhyne@parks.ca.gov for more information or to sign up for the training.
When: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Saturdays Feb. 2nd and 9th (new volunteers must attend both days)
Where: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, 15101 Lancaster Road, Lancaster.
Directions: From Hwy 14, go west off the Avenue I exit and continue 15 miles. Avenue I turns into Lancaster Road; the reserve is on the right.
From Hwy 138, go south on 170th Street West and left on Lancaster Road. The reserve is on the left.