Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

Shutdown Closes Muir Woods as of Today

The Mercury News reports

Beginning Monday, the nearly 3,000 daily visitors will find no bathrooms, no gift shop, no open visitor facilities at all in the park. Some staff will be on site providing “essential services to ensure facilities are protected and (to) enforce federal law and policy,” said a statement by Charles Strickfaden, a spokesman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which oversees a number of national parks and historic sites around the Bay Area..

“That will not change,” Strickfaden said. “Visitors should continue to anticipate (that) closure and parking violations that endanger park resources or other visitors will be enforced.”

Similar agreements with concessionaires are keeping Alcatraz Island and Stinson Beach open during the shutdown, but the same wasn’t true for Point Reyes National Seashore, where visitor centers are closed, along with some restrooms, and trash collection has stopped.

Read full story at  Muir Woods girds for shutdown on Monday

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

Volunteer To Clean Up National Parks

 republished from   Alt National Park Service

National Volunteer Action Needed:
The administration’s latest shutdown plan to use entrance fees to clean up our parks will dig our parks into an even bigger financial hole. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, entrance fees are supposed to be funneled towards long-term projects to enhance the visitor experience, not day-to-day functioning. Our parks are currently a mess! We need you to help us clean them up. We are declaring this week a National Park Clean Up Week. If you want to join in every evening this week meet at your closest national park and help us collect trash. In comments below post which national park you are willing to help at (try to connect with others and make a team of volunteers). It’s time to help protect and save our national parks! It’s a shame that the GOP is playing politics while our parks are being destroyed! The picture below is of volunteers who are helping keep Yosemite National Park clean amid the government shutdown. Please message Alt National Park Service your clean up pictures and we will share them.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 1/6/19

Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association report

January 6, 2019- More rain and winter flowers
More rain in Borrego Springs last night and continued cool temperatures are keeping ample moisture in the soil, exactly what is needed for an excellent flower bloom this spring.  It also appears that we are seeing a normal cycle of winter storms moving through the area on a 10-14 day baises. That’s more good news.

The main bloom will be in springtime, whenever daily temperatures start to reach into the high 70s and 80s on a consistent basis.  But the rain is already giving us unusual winter blooms in some areas, with scattered patches of flowers being reported in various locations.

See photos of early blooms at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2019

National Parks To Increase Staff During Shutdown

 Alt National Park Service reports

NPS is planning to dip into entrance fees to expand operations as the partial government shutdown stretches into a third week. There was an order Saturday allowing managers to bring on staff to patrol open parks, clean bathrooms, and collect trash. The move comes after several deaths in accidents at the understaffed parks since the shutdown began. One death at Yosemite National Park went unreported for at least a week. It’s a shame that the GOP was willing to risk the American public’s safety for politics. Only after several deaths is the GOP listening that NPS employees are essential! You can’t leave the parks open without staff!

Read related National Park Service News Release at

Read NPR Story at National Park Service Expands Operations During Government Shutdown which further explains limits and details of expanded park operation.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 6, 2019

Early Mt. Burdell Bloom 1/4/18

Marin Native Plants has an early season posting for Mt. Burdell with photos showing Common Manzanita, California Poppies and Milkmaids starting to bloom.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 6, 2019

Why can’t we feel Earth’s spin?

EarthSky answers the question “Why can’t we feel Earth’s spin?”

Earth spins on its axis once in every 24-hour day. At Earth’s equator, the speed of Earth’s spin is about 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 km per hour). The day-night has carried you around in a grand circle under the stars every day of your life, and yet you don’t feel Earth spinning. Why not? It’s because you and everything else – including Earth’s oceans and atmosphere – are spinning along with the Earth at the same constant speed.

Read more at Why can’t we feel Earth’s spin? | Earth | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2019

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 1/5/19

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for January 5, 2019 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2019

Fullerton Arboretum

submitted by Terry Lucas

Fullerton Arboretum looking good lately. They’ve been doing some scaping and maintenance, and there are some goodies blooming right now. Nice place for a walk and it’s free, but be sure to drop an offering in the donation box. 🙂 See the last 7 pics on my Flickr page, all from Fullerton, taken on Dec 26th.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2019

Winter Garden Photos 1/4/19

Photos taken on 1/4/19 at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2019

Yosemite Park Site Closures

Yosemite National Park reports

Beginning tomorrow, January 5, the Mist Trail and John Muir Trail between Yosemite Valley and the top of Nevada Fall will be closed. The Tuolumne and Merced Groves of Giant Sequoias will also close tomorrow. (The Mariposa Grove is closed, meaning no access to giant sequoia groves in Yosemite.) These closures are due to human waste and safety reasons.

Yosemite Ski and Snowboard area is closed this weekend during the storm. The ice rink will close for safety and maintenance reasons through January 17 (opening January 18).

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2019

Death Valley Closes Several Sites

Death VAlley National Park reports

Death Valley National Park update:
Due to the government shutdown, several sites within Death Valley National Park will be closing for health and safety concerns associated with continuing issues of human waste, trash, vandalism and park resource damage.

On Friday, January 4, the Furnace Creek and Texas Springs Campgrounds will be closed. Access roads to Natural Bridge, Dantes View, and Keane Wonder Mine will also be closed. The road to Salt Creek remains closed.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2019

More Top Astronomical Events For 2019 

National Geographic reports the top 8 Astronomical events for 2019 are

  • Super blood moon eclipse—January 20-21.
  • Moon joins Jupiter—April 23.
  • Eta Aquarid meteor shower—May 6.
  • Total solar eclipse—July 2.
  • Partial lunar eclipse—July 16.
  • Transit of MercuryNovember 11.
  • Annular solar eclipse—December 26.
  • Crescent moon meets Venus—December 28.

Read about these events at Top Sky-watching events coming in 2019

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 4, 2019

Why National Parks Are Getting Trashed

Vox reports

National parks are getting trashed amid the government shutdown

Here’s why they’re still open.

Strewn with garbage and overflowing toilets, national parks have taken an especially bad hit during the most recent government shutdown.

Although visitors centers are closed and staffing is low — some law enforcement and emergency personnel is on site — park gates remain open, free of charge, and people are flooding in largely unsupervised. This decision to keep parks open is part of a contingency plan set up last year allowing a small staff to remain on the payroll, but the limited staffing has proven to insufficient for how many people are visiting.

Read more at  Government shutdown: why national parks are getting trashed – Vox

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

More California National Property Closures and Restrictions

Cabrillo National Monument Access is closed to all visitors, including pedestrians and cyclists. Click here for updates.

Channel Island National Park The park islands, with the exception of San Miguel Island, are open to visitors. Park concessions are operating. Mainland and island visitor contact stations are closed. Restrooms are open, but they won’t be maintained during the shutdown. Click here for updates.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, Lands End, the Marin Headlands, Alcatraz Island and Muir Woods area open. Fort Point is closed. Visitor services will not operate, and parking lots and restrooms may be closed.

Pinnacles National Park

The west entrance is open. The east entrance is open to campers only. No visitor services will be provided. Click here for updates.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation

Open trails include Paramount Ranch, Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Cheeseboro/Palo Comado canyons. The visitor center is closed, and other sites are closed due to damage from the Woolsey Fire. Click here for updates.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

National Wildlife Refuges Are Closed

The Department of Interior announced all units of the National Wildlife Refuge System nationwide are closed to public visitation and use during the government shutdown. Read Closure Notice at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

Redwood National and State Parks Updates

Redwood National and State Parks reports

During the federal government shutdown, Redwood National and State Parks will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, there will be no visitor services on national park (NPS) lands within Redwood National and State Parks; NPS visitor centers (Hiouchi Visitor Center, Crescent City Information Center, Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center), parking lots, and restrooms may be closed; all NPS offices and contact stations will be closed; and hazardous or dangerous conditions may exist.

The Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park units of Redwood National and State Parks will remain open according to normal operating hours and seasons because they are managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR). CDPR facilities that will remain open include:

  • Prairie Creek Visitor Center
  • Jedediah Smith Campground
  • Elk Prairie Campground
  • Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

Death Valley National Park Open But Limited Services

Death Valley National Park announces

The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is open. The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells, & Panamint Springs are open. Most campground restrooms are closed. Some roads & hikes are closed. Expect crowds over holidays. No services; recreate at your own risk.


Below is a list of services and facilities that are open or closed. Visitor services may be diminished or areas may be closed due to environmental, public safety, or other unknown factors. We are not be able to update road and weather information. This was updated on 1/1/2019.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

Joshua Tree Campgrounds Closed

Joshua Tree National Park announced

Closure Update: Campgrounds in the park will be closed effective noon on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. The park is being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity. In addition to human waste in public areas, driving off road and other infractions that damage the resource are becoming a problem.

Indian Cove and Black Rock campgrounds will be open for day-use only, sunrise to sunset. Additional closures include Lost Horse Mine Road due to illegal activity and Rattlesnake Canyon in order to reduce the number of search and rescue events for rangers already spread thin due to the government shutdown.

During the federal government shutdown, we will not monitor social media. Some park areas are accessible; however access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

Quadrantids Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

EarthSky reports

2019’s first major meteor shower is the Quadrantid shower. Best time to watch is probably late night January 3 until dawn January 4. Northerly latitudes are favored. No moon this year!

Read more: Quadrantids | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Fully Closed

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks report

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks will be fully closed effective 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 2. The parks are being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns. This supersedes previous closures.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 3, 2019

 2019 Meteor Shower Guide 

EarthSky has put out a meteor shower guide for 2019.

Click on each meteor shower for more information:

January 4, 2019 Quadrantids

April 23, 2019 Lyrids

May 5, 2019 Eta Aquariids

Late July, 2019 Delta Aquariids

August 12, 2019 Perseids

October 9, 2019 Draconids

October 21, 2019 Orionids

November 5-6, 2019 South Taurids

November 12-13, 2019 North Taurids

November 18, 2019 Leonids

December 13-14, 2019 Geminids

December 22, 2019 Ursids

Read more at EarthSky’s 2019 meteor shower guide | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

The LA Times reports

Yosemite National Park is limiting entry to its south entrance because of a continuing problem with feces and trash along popular routes in the park. Only visitors with lodging or camping reservations in Yosemite Valley and other park sites will be allowed in on California Highway 41 north of Oakhurst.

Rangers will staff a checkpoint to enforce restrictions from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the highway, also known as Wawona Road, a news release from park officials said Wednesday. All other visitors may enter farther north along El Portal Road, or California Highway 140.

Read more about campground closures and other limits on visiting Yosemite at  Yosemite limits visitors, citing continuing problems with human waste during shutdown – Los Angeles Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 2, 2019

Climate change 2018: the news wasn’t actually all bad 

Vox reports that Climate and energy news in 2018 actually wasn’t all bad

Three big trends are helping us address the climate crisis: better technology, cheaper technology, and more ambitious policies.

Read article at  Climate change 2018: the news wasn’t actually all bad – Vox

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 1, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 12/31/18

Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports a somewhat more optimistic prediction than the previous post

December 31, 2018
Flower Forecast Update:  2019 Flower Season
We are receiving heavy rain in Borrego Springs on this last day of 2018, and snow above 2500 feet.  This storm greatly increases the likelihood of a excellent wildflower bloom this spring.  It will be a good year; there will be spring flowers this year in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Borrego Springs.

It’s too early to say with any certainty when exactly the bloom will take place.  It will happen when temperatures warm up in springtime.  We could have a prolonged bloom that starts in February and continues into March, or we could have the more typical “peak bloom” scenario that takes place over one or two weeks, typically in March, but sometimes in February.  We just have to see how nature decides to make its presentation.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 1, 2019

Anza- Borrego Wildflowers 12/31/18

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers Guide reports

Bloom prediction, updated December 31 2018

Indication are positive for a below or normal bloom in the months to come.
We still have a way above average bloom in the badlands and some other areas mentioned below.

Along the Henderson Canyon Road hundreds of large Geraea canescens, Desert sunflower, some already in bloom. That said the number of plants might not be enough to give a good flower show.
Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 1, 2019

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Shutdowns

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks reports

The Generals Highway is closed at Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park. This closure extends through Giant Forest and Lodgepole, through to Lost Grove. The closure includes concession facilities at these locations including Wuksachi Lodge and other concession and partner operations.

Other areas within the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park are also closed. It includes the road to the General Grant Tree, Big Stump Picnic Area, and Azalea Campground. The Grant Village will remain open, as will Highway 180 for through traffic to Princess Campground and Montecito Sequoia Lodge.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 1, 2019

Birds and Monarchs At Aquatic Park

For New Year’s Day we went to Aquatic Park in Berkeley to see birds and Monarch Butterflies. It was sunny and in the 50’s F.

There were many birds on the water with Buffleheads, Coots, Mallards, Double-crested Cormorants, Common Goldeneyes, Pied-billed Grebes and Gulls most abundant. We saw a large number of Snowy Egrets as well as Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night-herons. There were many Yellow-rumped Warblers and Anna’s Hummingbirds in the trees. We had 36 species on our eBird List.

We didn’t find large groups of Monarchs roosting in the trees but as it started to warm up they did begin to fly  in moderate numbers.


click read more to see bird list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 1, 2019

 Bay Area Best Nature Hikes And Clear Skies Today

The San Francisco Chronicle lists on some of the Bay Area’s Best Nature Hikes and encourages people to get out today as

The Bay Area is currently experiencing the best long-distance views of the year thanks to a weather phenomenon that is producing remarkably-clear skies.

Read full article and find out what some of the top Bay Area nature hikes are at  Take advantage of the Bay Area’s crystal-clear skies with these scenic hikes – SFGate

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 1, 2019

12 positive environmental stories from the past 12 months 

Birdlife reports of some of the positive environmental stories from 2018

Reading about the environment can sometimes seem like a depressing litany of fading species, increased development, and a warming planet. But there are reasons to be hopeful. As we approach the new year, here are 12 conservation wins we saw in 2018.

January – China Halts Coastal Land Reclamation

February – New breeding ground for White-winged Flufftail

Read full story at  12 positive environmental stories from the past 12 months | BirdLife

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 31, 2018

January 2019 CNPS: Meetings and Field Trips

California Native Plant Society Chapters:

If you are interested in information on other chapters go to:

If you are interested in more information on any of the programs below go to the chapter website.

Bristlecone (Mono, Inyo and NE Kern counties

East Bay
Sunday, January 6, 2:00 pm, field trip to Huddart County Park

El Dorado (Sierra foothills around Placerville)

Saturday, January 5, 2019 Fabulous Ferns, Lichens & Fungi—Garland Ranch
Wednesday, January 9 Point Lobos CNPS Mushroom Walk
Sunday, January 13 East Point Lobos—Marks Addition
Sunday, January 20 Mount Madonna Fetid Adder’s Tongue Hike
Wednesday, January 30 Fabulous Ferns, Lichens & Seedlings—Terrace Trail

Sacramento Valley

Santa Clara Valley
Tue Jan 1  10am – 1pm  Año Nuevo State Preserve New Year Hike (San Mateo County)
Sat Jan 12   11am – 2pm   First Wildflowers, Mushrooms, and Newts in Huddart Park (Woodside)
Sun Jan 13 10am-3pm @ Almaden Quicksilver County Park, McAbee Entrance (McAbee Rd at Whispering Pines Dr), San Jose

Santa Cruz

Yerba Buena (San Francisco/Northern San Mateo)
January 19, 2019 SATURDAY 10am- 1pm  San Bruno Mountain: Saddle and Bog Trails
January 27, 2019 SUNDAY from 10 am McLaren Park Mushrooms



Bookmark and Share

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: