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Prairie City Visitor Appreciation Day 2017

Story from: Peter Ostroskie, Prairie City SVRA

Every year, many of the State Vehicular Recreation Area’s (SVRA) give back to their visitors a single day to say, “Thank you for supporting their OHV Park.” Prairie City SVRA gave the day to visitors this past weekend on October 8. Organized by park staff and many of the local businesses, visitors were able to enjoy a day at the park of riding and testing their skills.

To help the experience of the SVRA, park staff were on hand to provide information about the resources of Prairie City SVRA and to answer questions about the new Oak Hill Trail. Local business like Auburn Extreme Powersports, Metalcloak, and even Fox were at the event talking about new products for people’s safety and for upgrades on vehicles. More than 600 people were able to enjoy their SVRA and 35 people signed up for the park's first Poker Run.

The poker run was new to the Visitor Appreciation day. Participants were able to discover the park by finding four locations that had playing cards while their fifth was given to them when they signed up. All visitors seemed to enjoy the activities and while the wind was a problem, many visitors left with great prizes and even happier memories.

Prairie City SVRA Hosts Day of Fun for United Auburn Indian Community

Story by: Peter Ostroskie, Prairie City SVRA

Members from the United Auburn Indian Community came out to the Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area to enjoy a day of riding, food, and fun. The park was very excited for such an opportunity to have a day with the tribe.

Many members brought out their off-highway vehicles such as dirt bikes, ATV’s, and side by sides. Park staff helped out by providing loaner safety gear such as helmets, goggles and gloves to members and kids.

After a great morning of riding, the tribe provided a lunch for members. In the afternoon, State Park Interpreter Peter Ostroskie and Law Enforcement Ranger Dave Harte taught an ATV Safety Institute class to some of the kids.

Others enjoyed a little bit of competition over at All Star Karting track. Big Time Speedway, one of the concessionaires at Prairie City, hosted the tribe in the evening. One of the tribe members rode the opening lap at the 9/11 tribute race. [Weekly Digest - 9/15/17]

State Parks Launches A New Mobile Pilot App in Eight State Parks This Fall

Story from: Jorge Moreno, Communications Office

OutSpecial ImageCalifornia State Parks is launching a new iOS mobile pilot app in eight parks around the state. The OuterSpatial pilot app is available to download on all Apple iOS devices and includes detailed information about the activities you love to do in the eight parks, as well as historic locations, trail maps, events, and amenities, all in one place.

The parks in this pilot app cover a wide range of activities and unique locations, from off-highway motor vehicle recreation areas, to easily-accessible beaches, to more remote mountain sites. The eight parks in the pilot project are:

    •    Bolsa Chica State Beach - Orange Coast District
    •    Huntington State Beach - Orange Coast District
    •    Pismo State Beach
    •    Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
    •    Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
    •    Mount San Jacinto State Park
    •    Mount Tamalpais State Park
    •    Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area

The pilot app provides a way visitors can access the most up-to-date local information to make the most of their park visit. Though the app doesn’t offer reservations, users can find special events, up-to-date official trail and hazard information, and get accurate directions to popular trailheads; and discover some new ones.

The pilot project runs through 2017 and may expand to include additional parks within the state park system in the future. We’ll be monitoring feedback through the end of November, so download OuterSpatial and get outside and help us make a tool that is tailored to your adventures!

For more information on the pilot project and to download the OuterSpatial app directly from the Apple store, visit Send us feedback by November 30. Tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #CAStateParks, #InventYourAdventure and #CAStateParksOuterSpatial.

This project is supported in part by the Resources Legacy Fund in service of the Parks Forward Initiative. [Weekly Digest - 09-08-17]

High School Students Discover Prairie City SVRA

Story by: Peter Ostroskie, OHMVR Twin Cities

Many students do not know about the wonderful opportunities that State Parks has to offer until they come through the kiosk. Cristo Rey High School in the Sacramento area is one of the schools who pride themselves on helping students explore future career possibilities. They reach out to local business to help place students in an internship where the goal is to help each student prepare for a future outside the classroom. Prairie City State Vehicular Recreational Area was lucky enough to be a stand in organization for a group of these kids.

A class of 32 freshmen met with State Park Interpreter Peter Ostroskie, Resources Park Aid Mckenzie Boring, and Senior Park Aid Kayla Surritt to help with a special project at Prairie City SVRA. Grabbing rakes, shovels, brooms, and garbage cans, the class lent a hand to clearing out the man-made creek at the Environmental Training Center from debris. During their work time, the class was introduced to the park and some of the animals that call it home. After the work was completed, the students were able to sit in the classroom at the park and find out what a State Park Interpreter does. Cristo Rey High School walked away with a different understanding of the work State Parks staff performs. More importantly, they learned how they could be a part of the future of California. [Weekly Digest - 09-08-17]

Flash Flood at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area

Story by: Kent Miller, Ocotillo Wells District

What began as a severe thunderstorm over the Anza-Borrego/Ocotillo Wells boundary, quickly turned into a flash flood late yesterday afternoon, September 7. Because there was little movement, the storm dropped all of its rain on that one area. The flash flood lasted at least four hours and was still going strong at 9:30 last night.

This is actually typical for this time of the year. Every August and September, we get subtropical monsoon moisture from Sonora, Mexico. Flash floods occur when there is a heavy amount of precipitation falling in an area and that water is then channeled through streams or narrow gullies. Flash floods may take minutes or hours to develop. It is possible to experience a flash flood without witnessing any rain.

If you are out camping or hiking and experience flash floods, here are some helpful tips:

  • Watch for weather around you. A wash can flood miles away from where the storm is happening.
  • Stay out of low areas and washes if there are any storms in the area.
  • Immediately seek high ground (get out of the wash) if a flood is coming.
  • In a vehicle, follow the National Weather Service maxim of Turn Around, Don’t Drown – only 6 inches of moving water can sweep a vehicle away. Or wait until the water recedes.

To see video of the flash flood, click here. [Weekly Digest - 09-08-17]

Hard to believe this is not the ocean but waves created by the flash flood at Ocotillo Wells SVRA. Photo by Kent Miller, Ocotillo Wells District Photo by Kent Miller, Ocotillo Wells District

New Interpretative Panels Greet Visitors along Rubicon Trail

Story by: Heidi Doyle, Sierra State Parks Foundation

Rubicon Trail Interpretation Panel photoVisitors along the Rubicon Trail, which runs through D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay state parks, will now be greeted by 11 new interpretative panels. The panels were designed under the leadership of Sierra District Interpretive Specialist (ret.) Bill Lindeman by Wildways Illustrated. This $65,000 project was financed by the Sierra State Parks Foundation and took four years to complete.

One interesting story is that the entire shipment was destroyed on the way to Tahoe from the factory in a semi truck rollover/fire. The panels had to be remade which delayed their arrival.

The Sierra District trails crew completed the installation this past week along the 10-mile trail. Visitors now will have the plethora of information they need to experience what some say, is the most beautiful trail in California.

The interpretive panels include park regulations, natural and cultural history information and orientation maps. The Sierra State Parks Foundation is now working with State Park Archaeologist in the creation of five underwater interpretive panels showcasing the sunken barges of Emerald Bay. [2017]

Trying to Beat the Heat at Ocotillo Wells SVRA

By Garratt Aitchison, Ocotillo Wells District Superintendent
As Southern California prepares for one more heat wave, the staff at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) presses on with operations. Even when it is 120 degrees or more in the Lower Colorado Desert, peace officers still need to patrol, the maintenance staff takes time to catch up on facility upkeep and the resources staff conducts bio-surveys and monitoring.
The Ocotillo Wells SVRA staff is not held back by the heat. They take all precautions: taking breaks often, hydrating often, and getting in the shade or air conditioning. Although it would be nice to completely retreat from the summer heat, operations and mandates do not allow for that.
During the summer months, many tourist still flock to the desert and the peace officers are kept busy. As required by the Habitat Monitoring System, the biologists conduct many different surveys, including the Flat Tailed Horned Lizard surveys. These surveys occur during the warmest months while the reptiles are active.
The winter months are crowded with riders enjoying the cool desert temperatures but the crowds do not allow for in depth maintenance to occur on the facilities, so staff takes care of the upkeep during the "off season." Even our Interpretive staff gets out in the heat and takes opportunities to spread information about the extreme desert heat and safety messaging. On behalf of the entire Ocotillo Wells SVRA staff, we remind everyone to stay safe this summer while enjoying your favorite park. [2017]