Speaker Event on Trails and Invasive Species in the MNF

View from the Bloody Rock Trailhead in the Snow Mtn Wilderness

View from the Bloody Rock Trailhead in the Snow Mtn Wilderness

The Friends of Boggs Mountain will be hosting a talk by Joshua Hamrick, Student Conservation Association (SCA) Wilderness Inventory Intern of the Upper Lake office of the Mendocino National Forest (MNF), on Saturday, June 21, 2014, at 10am at Boggs Mountain.

Joshua, an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate from Marshall University in West Virginia, came on board the MNF this past April, and has spent the last three months scouting trails in the Snow Mountain Wilderness, assessing the prevalence of various non-native invasive plant species in the area. Among the target list of about 35 plants are Yellow starthistle, Canada, Bull and Milk thistles, Teasel, Scotch, French and Spanish broom, Tamarisk, and various grasses. The audience will learn how invasive species can impact native habitats and wildlife, and ways we can help preserve our native habitats.

Student Conservation Association/MNF Intern Joshua Hamrick on the Cold Creek Trail

Student Conservation Association/MNF Intern Joshua Hamrick on the Cold Creek Trail

Part of Joshua’s internship includes projects in wilderness education and outreach, and those interested in visiting the Snow Mountain Wilderness and other areas of the Mendocino National Forest will benefit from his knowledge gathered from recent hikes and backpacking explorations of the area. Joshua will continue his backcountry explorations through the end of June, and those who are fit and capable of hiking steep, off-trail areas and are interested in volunteering to help with surveys can contact him directly at joshuahamrick@fs.fed.us.

Please bring a foldable chair for the talk; refreshments will be available. The venue will be across the main parking lot, and the talk will begin at 10am. The forest entrance is located off Highway 175, just 1 ½ miles north of Cobb Village, at the blue State Fire Station/Boggs Mountain Forest sign. For further information, please contact Gigi Stahl at 707-809-5299.


Oops, Owies, and Gratitude!

This brief tale is about getting up from a nasty spill, what I learned from it, and the gratitude I owe to the good samaritan couple who came to my rescue.

I was walking in the forest the other day, heading back with my dog Chip on a rather steep trail with loose, granular soil. The OOPS came about when my favorite super-light Brooks tennis shoes lost traction, I slipped, fell, and could not release the leash handle wrapped around my wrist as my 80-lb dog took no notice of me and continued heading down. Finally he looked behind and stopped, inquisitively looking at my crumpled state.

Big time OWIE.

As though it were planned, a car immediately came driving up toward me, and I motioned for it to stop. The alarmed driver and passenger scrambled out of the car, and immediately came to my assistance. Needless to say, I was a bloody mess. The couple helped me into their vehicle, and tried to get Chip inside – though he refused. The young man then offered to walk Chip back to my car at the parking lot (about a half hour’s walk from where we were), while his wife drove me back to my vehicle.

GRATITUDE. I’m still amazed at the timing of their appearance in this forest of 3,500 acres! I thanked this incredible couple for their kindness, and managed to drive back home to clean up.

I was hurting and in a really bad state. Decided to go to the doc, and luckily – no broken wrist or anything else.

So what did I learn from this?

1. If you’re on a steep section of trail or road, keep your dog’s leash just at your fingertips, not around your wrist.

2. If you know you’re heading for a fall, keep your center of gravity low and prepare to tuck in (don’t break your fall with your hand) and take a roll.

3. Carry a hiking stick and take it slow.

Lastly, I am forever grateful to the good samaritans who came to my assistance and patiently got me and Chip back to my car. Thank you for your kindness.

– Mike Kasper

MikeKasper(Mike Kasper is a board member of the Friends of Boggs Mountain. You’ll often see him hiking with that handsome German Shorthaired Pointer – Chip!)

Nature Walk with Darlene

The Friends of Boggs Mountain will be offering a Nature Walk on the Interpretive Trail on Saturday, March 15 at 9 am. This is an opportunity to get some exercise, enjoy a hike and note what is going on in the world of nature in the Forest.

The Interpretive Trail has over 50 signs identifying the plants, shrubs, trees, mosses, and wildflowers encountered on the path. Both the Mountain Dogwood and the Common Snowberry are beginning to leaf out, shoots of the Giant Horsetail should be emerging, and Witches’ Butter is to be found after the recent heavy rains. If we’re lucky, we’ll also be treated to the spring song of the diminutive Pacific Wren.

The 1.3-mile hike will be on moderate terrain and will be led by Darlene Hecomovich. Wear sturdy shoes, dress appropriately for weather conditions, and bring water and enthusiasm.

Meet at the parking lot kiosk promptly at 9 am. The Forest entrance is located off Highway 175 just 1½ miles north of Cobb Village. Turn at the blue State Fire Station/Boggs Mountain Forest sign. For further information phone Darlene at 707 dash 928 five591 or email at dheco-at-me (dot] com. Come and enjoy the fun!

Witches' Butter (Tremella mesenterica) is found on dead branches.

Witches’ Butter (Tremella mesenterica) is found on dead branches.

Many thanks to trails volunteers!

The Friends of Boggs Mountain (FOBM) held its monthly trailwork day at Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest on Sunday, March 9, 2014 with an excellent turnout of volunteers. The group’s focus was to recontour parts of Jethro’s trail to allow water to sheet off the side slope, and to amend switchback areas.

With over a dozen volunteers of hikers and mountain bikers including youth from the local high school bike teams, the crew worked quickly and efficiently. They tackled several segments along Jethro’s, including two switchbacks that needed to be re-contoured to reduce erosion. The volunteers also worked on protecting areas where tree roots were becoming exposed, and created barriers to prevent trail users from cutting switchbacks.

Working on a switchback area on Jethro's Trail

Working on a switchback area on Jethro’s Trail

Identifying problem areas on the trail due to poor water drainage is best done while it’s raining. Photos of the trail during last month’s storm showed areas where water was pooling or flowing down the trail grade due to “trenching”. When the outer edge of the tread builds up to a berm, the trail acts like a trench, preventing water from flowing off the side slope. Ways to divert water off the trail include building water bars, but FOBM is trying out newer approaches using “drain dips” that require less maintenance.

Drain or grade dips ideally use a natural reversal in trail grade to force water off the trail without the need for a water bar. Where natural dips do not occur, one can build up a grade reversal with native soil, making sure that the surface is tamped down well, and the channel that diverts water off the trail is in an area where a drain already exists.

Where the trail grade was moderate, the crew outsloped segments of the trail. The process involves removing duff off the tread and berm, placing native soil off the berm and other areas back on the tread, contouring the tread to about a 5% outslope, tamping the soil down, and restoring duff back on the tread to give it a natural look.

FOBM Board president, David Thiessen, remarked, “We’re grateful to the volunteers who came out to help today. They immediately rolled up their sleeves to deal with these specific issues.”

Trailwork Crew


The crew will be working on the lower segment of Jethro’s (near Road 300) after completion of timber harvesting and clearing in the next few months.

Thank you trail stewards!

Many of us have a deep attachment to Boggs. For some it is their back yard, a short ride from their home or worth the long drive to be in a wonderful refuge where one can hike or ride for hours and meet few souls, if any at all, on the trail.

Trailwork VolunteersAnd what about those trails, eh? They’ve seen a lot of TLC from wonderful trailwork volunteers over the many years that Boggs has been in existence. Boone Lodge has been a huge advocate and recruited many (including this author) to devote time to clear brush from trails, build drainage structures, and help repair damaged trails.

Over the past year, we’ve had ‘regulars’ appear at our trailwork days: Phyllis Murphey, Brien Crothers, Obie Porteous, Matt Kolasinski, and Brad May. Board member Mike Kasper has been especially attentive to the ‘fuel ladders’ in certain areas, and has collaborated with Forest Aide, Katie Johns, and Forest Manager, Gerri
Finn, to target specific trails that needed immediate attention.

We also had a lot of help from out-of-county visitors – a crew of seven from Boy Scouts Troop 4 from Cotati who visited Boggs to camp and mountain bike on an October weekend. Even before setting up camp, they immediately joined us on a Saturday morning to clear sightlines on a 2-mile segment of Gail’s Trail south of Road 400.

Our trailwork efforts this past year have focused on eliminating blind corners and improving sightlines as much as possible. Brushing the sides as well as the top to get a vertical clearance of 10-12 ft for equestrians is part of this effort. In July, members of the Clear Lake and Kelseyville High School Bike Team helped us clear a problem area where the manzanita had grown very thick at the first switchback on Mac’s Trail.

As for trail hazards, many thanks to David Thiessen, Joan Hume, and Phyllis Murphey who got all western on the poison oak along the Interpretive trail this past June. Now that’s what I call dedication! Next time we’re going to make sure that we provide Tecnu and paper towels for our volunteers. Oh, and just remember that poison oak “sticks”, meaning the reddish bare branches and stems you see sticking out of the ground in the cold months are also covered with the offensive oil (Urushiol) which can trigger a nasty rash.

When the rains arrive, we’ll look into developing drain dips as alternatives to rock water bars where possible as the latter require greater maintenance. Drain dips serve as catchments that funnel water (if correctly placed) to a natural drainage area.

To sum up: a huge THANK YOU to all our trailwork volunteers, especially to those who keep returning! And to the “unsung heroes” – those who quietly do their part, especially cleaning up the forest as they go about their walk or ride – what you do is deeply appreciated. Removing a discarded can or bottle or any kind of rubbish from a trail corridor really does enhance our experience in the forest!

We would love to have more help in keeping our trails in great shape – especially from equestrians who have a higher reach than the average hiker – so please mark the second Saturday of each month from 9-11 a.m. as the Boggs trailwork day. After trailwork, you can set off for your hike or ride with a great feeling of being a trails steward. If you can’t volunteer but see something that might be an issue on the trail (downed tree,
eroded area, etc.) please do not hesitate to contact us at fobmtn@gmail.com or leave a message with the forest manager at 707-928-4378.