Interpretive Events at New Melones Lake - February and March 2005

Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916-978-5100

For Release: January 28, 2005

Ranger-Guided Walks and Hikes:

February 6, 10:30 a.m., Natural Bridges' Micro-World Join Ranger Bryan and explore the world of small plants and animals and see the lush greenery of the watery caves of Coyote Creek. Two miles with a 300-ft. elevation gain. Meet at the Natural Bridges trail head on Parrotts Ferry Rd.

February 12, 10:30 a.m., Heron Point-Eagle Sightings & Lake Views Ranger Guida will point out interesting flora & fauna on this 2-mile mostly level trail. Meet at Heron Point Day Use Area.

February 13, 10:30 a.m., Peoria Mountain Rambling Join us for three moderate miles on horse trails and fire roads to gain new views of the Stanislaus river canyon and learn how the new and old Melones Dams were constructed. Meet at the Peoria Basin Equestrian Staging Area on Peoria Flat Rd.

February 19, 10:30 a.m., Table Mountain's Unique Geology Beautiful views, exercise, and unusual plants and geology are a few of the treats on this hike. It is 2 miles with a short, steep, rocky section. Pre-registration is required. Phone 209-536-9094, Ext. 22.

February 20, 10:30 a.m., Carson Creek Loop Working our way down from the top of this 3-mile loop trail, you can expect lake vistas, waterfalls, shaded glens, and rolling oak woodland terrain with a possible bald eagle flying past. Meet at the Upper Carson Creek trail head at Glory Hole Recreation Area.

February 26, 10:30 a.m., Natural Bridges-Victorian Tourist Attraction Hear the poignant life story of L.A. Barnes, the eccentric caretaker of this unique geological feature; a limestone cave with a creek flowing through. Two miles with a 300 ft. elevation gain. Meet at the Natural Bridges trail head on Parrotts Ferry Rd.

March 5, 10:30 a.m., Table Mountain Revisited Closer to spring, vernal pools on the top of Table Mountain may be active with early wildflowers. Majestic views of the lake and distant mountains are rewarding after a short, steep, rocky section on this 2-mile hike. Pre-registration is required. Phone 209-536-9094, Ext.22.

March 6, 10:30 a.m., Walking the Railroad The Sierra Railroad faced a big challenge crossing the Stanislaus River canyon. Walk a 2-mile section of the railroad bed, enjoy a few spring flowers, and hear some colorful history of this era. Meet at the visitor overlook on the north side of the Hwy. 49 bridge.

March 13, 10:30 a.m., Camp Nine Road-Life and Death in the Canyon After a spectacular drive down into the upper end of the Stanislaus River canyon, we'll begin our tour at river's edge in this remote, beautiful area. This is a 3-mile auto road trip with a one-half mile trail walk. To pre-register, phone 209-536-9094, Ext.22.

March 19, 10:30 a.m., Table Mountain Vistas Join Ranger Carll for a climb up Table Mountain. Geology and magnificent views are worth the short, steep, rocky section to the top on this 2-mile hike. Pre-registration is required. Phone 209-536-9094, Ext. 22.

March 20, 10:30 a.m., Angels Creek Surprises Mushrooms, Lewis woodpeckers, an Oracle oak, and sun-speckled lake views - all on a 2.5-mile walk at Glory Hole Recreation Area. Meet at the Angels Creek Boat Ramp.

March 26, 10:30 a.m., Natural Bridges-Limestone Wonder Two miles of early spring wildflowers, a limestone cavern with a creek flowing through, and the story of 'Ole Bach.' Meet at the Natural Bridges trail head on Parrotts Ferry Rd.

March 27, 10:30 a.m., Heron Point The ospreys may have returned to settle into their big nest. Enjoy them on a 2-mile trail with open lake views and shaded, private woods. Meet at Heron Point Day Use Area. Thursday Evening Lecture Series at the Visitor Center: March 10, 7 p.m., "The Politics and Issues of California Water" Despite ample rain, we may still face water shortages resulting in complex, painful decisions about its allocation. Judy Maben, the Water Education Foundation's education director, has studied California's water management issues for 18 years. Here is a chance to learn new facts on a vital issue from someone who knows all perspectives.

The New Melones Visitor Center is located on Highway 49 between Angels Camp and Sonora, one-fourth of a mile south of the Stevenot Bridge. The Visitor Center, museum, and bookstore are open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All hikes begin at 10:30 a.m. Some require pre-registration. Please remember to wear sturdy shoes and sun screen, and bring water, snacks, and binoculars. For additional information, please call the New Melones Visitor Center at 209-536-9094, Ext. 22.

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