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HOPPER MOUNTAIN NWRC: Public Hiking Opportunities Offered at Bitter Creek and Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuges
California-Nevada Offices , October 17, 2009
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SCEP Wildlife Biologist Lisa Cox explains the top two threats to California Condors. (USFWS photo: Ivett Plascencia)
SCEP Wildlife Biologist Lisa Cox explains the top two threats to California Condors. (USFWS photo: Ivett Plascencia) - Photo Credit: n/a
Visitors take time to snap shots of Bitter Creek NWR during the Refuge Week hike. (USFWS photo: Ivett Plascencia)
Visitors take time to snap shots of Bitter Creek NWR during the Refuge Week hike. (USFWS photo: Ivett Plascencia) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Michael Woodbridge, Hopper Mountain NWRC
In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) staff provided an opportunity for the public to participate in hikes at the Bitter Creek and Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes national wildlife refuges.  The two hikes on the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) provided a unique opportunity for visitors, since the Refuge is normally closed to public use.  About 15 visitors participated in the morning hike, where they were able to get a clear sight of California condors both in and on the flight pen and at a supplemental feeding site.  The second hike took place in the afternoon. 

More than 15 condors were present on the Refuge after roosting there the night before.  The main topics of discussion included California condors, their total population range (including activity on neighboring Wind Wolves Preserve and Tejon Ranch), and threats such as lead poisoning and microtrash.  The temperatures were in the mid-to-high 80s and the San Joaquin Valley haze had lessened by the afternoon, allowing a view of Wind Wolves Preserve nearby.  The hike started at 1:30 p.m. and participants got a good look at a juvenile condor that soared right over their heads.

Attendees included bird enthusiasts, members of the Friends of California Condors Wild and Free, and others.  Leading the hikes were SCEP Wildlife Biologist Lisa Cox, STEP Office Automation Clerk Ivett Plascencia, and volunteer refuge botanist Pam Devries.  Pam brought another dimension to the hike that informed the visitors of the plant communities on the Refuge.

At the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, refuge manager Glenn Greenwald led two different hikes into the dunes landscape.  The first hike was longer and aimed at adults ready for a strenuous experience.  The second hike, taking place the following weekend, was a shorter, more family friendly hike.  Hike participants saw animal tracks in the sand and unique dune wetlands.  Both hikes took participants into areas of the Refuge rarely visited by the public and provided families with a great outdoors experience.


Contact Info: Michael Woodbridge, 916-978-4445, michael_woodbridge@fws.gov



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