Puente Hills Habitat will host several hikes this month in these locations:
Saturday, October 18th – Sunset Bat Hike, 5pm to 7pm
The Preserve is often a great place to watch for emerging bats in the early evening. Let’s take in a 2 mile hike in the late afternoon light, as long shadows stretch across the landscape. We’ll show you some of our bat houses, discuss bat feeding habits and benefits, and search the skies for some of the bats living on the Preserve. FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike. No dogs.
Thursday, October 16th & 23rd– 10,000 Steps Hike, 5pm to Sunset
Join Docent Maria in a 4.7 mile strenuous fitness hike that amounts to about 10,000 steps! The hike begins Black Walnut Trail curbside. It leads you through the Schabarum Trail and back again. Be ready for this fitness hike, bring water and wear hiking boots and long pants. Snakes are a factor on these less visited trails. Pedometers optional.
Puente Hills Habitat will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Hacienda Heights trail head on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be fun crafts, face painting, displays and prizes. Winners of the photo and essay contests will be announced.
“We want to thank Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights and Whittier for their support over the past two decades,” said Executive Director Andrea Gullo.
The agency manages 3,800 acres in the Puente Hills Preserve. The park runs from the intersection of the 605 and 60 Freeways east to Harbor Boulevard.
Over the past two decades, the authority has purchased 1,888 acres of land for $30 million and manages land owned by Whittier and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. The money came from fees charged by the now closed Puente Hills Landfill.
The 20th anniversary begins at 9 a.m. with an easy 1/2 mile family hike led by a naturalist. Others can take a two-mile hike to learn about native herbs.
Habitat ecologist Lizette Longacre says hikers will explore the coastal sage scrub threatened with extinction in Southern California. The rare plant can be found in Hellman Park and the Arroyo San Miguel, as well as Sycamore and Powder Canyons.
“The preserve also has one of the largest stands of Walnut trees,” Gullo noted. “The California Black Walnut is the most common and can be found in Powder Canyon.”
Tall coast live oaks also grow on the park’s slopes and grasslands. The walnut and oak trees are important sources of food for the local wildlife.
“Several sightings of mountain lions have been confirmed,” said Gullo. “One of our rangers saw one in Sycamore Canyon.”
The big cats are drawn by many deer living in the preserve.
“We have a healthy ecology here, with lots of rabbits and deer,” Longacre agreed.
Bobcats, raccoons, skunks and coyotes roam the sprawling habitat..
“We put in Los Angeles’ first wildlife underpass,” Gullo boasted. “And it has really cut back on the road kill.”
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story HABITAT.