Today’s Thursday Picture was taken at the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in the foothills above San Jose/Silicon Valley.
I hike a lot. Before this year is over, I will have gone on over 50 hikes. Many of my hikes are up Harwood Hill in the Sierra Azul Mountains above my neighborhood. I’ve also hiked this year on trails in National Parks, California State Parks, Santa Clara County Parks, Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Authority. All of these agencies struggle with maintenance budgets that just barely allow them to maintain our trails and the natural environments around them. When hikers venture off marked trails, like these clowns above, bad things can happen to our trails, parks, and open spaces:
- Surface vegetation, animal habitat, fragile soils, and/or entire communities of life can be trampled beyond recovery.
- Organic matter, such as leaves and even the soil itself, helps protect land from the erosive forces of rainfall and wind. Walking, biking, or riding your horse off trail disturbs the protective cover and can accelerate erosion. Do not use shortcuts.
- Damage to surface vegetation can disrupt natural processes and may destroy a food source or otherwise harm wildlife habitat. Be careful where you step.
- In some areas, disturbing rocks can leave a visible impact for hundreds of years. Lichen-coated and time-varnished rocks are irreplaceable. Leave rocks where they lay.
If you look closely at this picture, you can see how these hikers….uh….er….those look like black tailed deer.
Where are you hiking this weekend? Wherever you go, Please do stay on the marked trails! See the California State Parks information about staying on the trail above and here!
If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.