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Archive for October, 2011

California State Park Worth Saving: Palomar Mountain State Park

October 28th, 2011 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in California State Parks


A Peek at Palomar Mountain State Park, San Diego California

At the end of our summer adventures, our family discovered one of the jewels of San Diego County.  Palomar Mountain State Park is a an world away from the hustle and bustle of  San Diego.  It sits at one of the highest points in San Diego County and one of the real treats of our trip was visiting the former fire lookout and surveying San Diego below us.  The kids also learned a lot about lives of children who lived at the fire lookout station.  Sounds like it was lots of fun.


View from Palomar Mountain State Park

The Palomar Mountain Rangers at this park were fantastic.  They lead us on a very informative hike where the kids got to sample a number of different berries.  Palomar Mountain has amazing terrain,  it has the feel of Tahoe, and yet it is minutes away from the desert.  We camped among the oak trees, yet found ourselves hiking among beautiful towering trees and past running streams surrounded by greenery.  There is  also a lake that we will have to explore when we return (If we can, the park is scheduled to close starting next July as part of California budget cuts).


Destiny and her new friend the Palomar Mountain Ranger

Palomar Mountain State Park is a great example of why the state parks on the closure list are worth fighting for.  It has a very dedicated group of rangers and retiree volunteer camp hosts who work hard to welcome and support state park visitors.  The Ranger reported to me that the campgrounds are booked most summer weekends, and quite full during the summer weekdays as well.  They get many campers on autumn weekends as well.  This is all revenue that will be lost by the park closure.  In addition wild fire is a big concern in San Diego county, and a park that lacks visitors and vigilant caretakers will be make it vulnerable to vandalism, squatters, and other illegal activity that could lead to a forest fire.


Jared Takes a Break from the Junior Ranger Hike, Palomar Mt State Park

If you would like to help fight the closure of Palomar Mountain and other precious California State Parks the California State Parks Foundation is a very good resource.

Realizing that even if the park is saved, it will continue to operate with limited resources concerned citizens have also founded Friends of Palomar State Park.

Spread the word about the state park closures and the impact that they will have on your community.  Also, be sure to visit before July.  This often overlooked San Diego state park is worth exploring.

Happy Trails,


PS. Family Adventure  Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday


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California’s State Park Heroes: Ms. Vicki, Junior Ranger Wrangler

October 7th, 2011 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in Uncategorized


Destiny and Jared with the Best State Park Ranger Ever, Ms Vicki Doheny State Beach


Our family was lucky enough to enjoy a “State Park Summer”.  We camped at three different California State Parks as well as enjoying our local state beach.  California’s state parks are truly a must visit for families.  Many have a junior ranger program that teaches kids about the state park and the ecosystems within it.

Ms. Vicki, a tireless advocate for California State Parks, runs the Junior Ranger Program at Doheny State Beach.  Her five day series of lessons on “misunderstood” animals was the highlight of our trip to Doheny.  The kids dissected owl pellets, identified spiders surrounding the campfire area, and observed a real snake!  Later our family took a field trip to the butterfly garden and found some owl pellets that we gave to Ms. Vicki to share with future campers.  My kids are still sharing what Ms. Vicki taught them with their friends and teachers.


Ms. Vicki's Snake Lesson, Doheny State Beach

Ms. Vicki has her groupies.  Families return year after year to camp and attend her junior ranger workshops.  Local homeschoolers don’t miss a week of her talks.  What makes Vicki’s program unique, and one of my very favorite in the state park system,  is that she welcomes kids of all ages to her talks and rewards junior for their hard work and learning no matter what their age.  Most California state park junior ranger programs start at age 7, a policy that make it very difficult for our family since we have 6, 7, and 12.

Thanks for your hard work Ms. Vicki!  You made our stay at Doheny State Beach unforgettable!

Happy Trails,

Bridget (Ms. Vicki Groupie)

P.S. Donheny State Beach will be a part of California for years to come, but other state parks are scheduled to be closed next summer due to budget cuts.  Visit Folks4Parks or the California State Parks Foundation for more information and ideas on how you can help.

See this post on Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.

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