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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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March 21, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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March 21, 2012
 

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- . - . - Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, March 21, 2012 1B lk i [ ) Delaine Fragnoli Managing Editor dfragnoli@plumasnews.com While today, the Spring Equinox, marks the begin- ning of spring, to find visible signs of the season namely wildflowers -- you'll have to travel to lower elevations. Luckily, there are two nearby locations that more than fill the bill for those seeking early-season blooms. Docents at South Yuba State Park began offering wildflower walks last Satur- day. The outings, which last about two hours, continue each Saturday and Sunday through May 13. The easy two-mile route follows Buttermilk Bend Trail, which features stun- ning views of the South Yuba River. Docents scout the trail several days before each hike to place identification tags and find special flowers that are blooming that weekend. Early in the season you will likely find Western buttercup, larkspur and shooting stars. Poppies and lupineappear by mid-season. Fairy lanterns, Chinese houses and bird's-eye gilia delight the late season visitor. The California Dutchman's pipe is an unusual possibility. Docents will describe the unique symbiotic relation- ship it has with the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. You can round out your visit with a trip to the park's covered bridge and barn, both built in 1862, and visitor center. The bridge is the longest single-span wooden covered bridge still standing in the United States. Another part of the site, a 1927 Shell gas station, is currently under restoration. Details: Hikes begin at tl a.m. Meet in the north parking lot off Pleasant Valley Road, which runs between highways 20 and 49. Rain may cancel. Visitor center is open 11 a.m. - 4p.m. Bring: Sturdy shoes, water, snacks, a camera and $3 for the requested donation. Leave Rover at home; although dogs are allowed on the trail, they are not permitted on the hike. Information: 432-2546, southyubariverstatepark.org. For another option, head to North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, outside of Oroville. Naturalists from the Department of Fish and Game lead two tours every Saturday in March and April. The two-hour tours cover about two miles and require moderate hiking off trail over uneven and rocky terrain. Crossing some small streams and climbing some hills may be necessary. Tour leaders and local field experts will point out and discuss the area's unique geology, beautiful vistas, spectacular wildflower blooms, rare vernal pools and more. The reserve is open from dawn to dusk. Other popular activities here include bird watching, picnicking and Ecological Reserve. Tours kite flying -- it can be breezy, are free, but participants You'll have to plan ahead are encouraged to make a for these outings. Tours are donation onlin.e to the limited to 25 participants California Wildlife Foundation and advance registration to su pport this progra m. is required. The tours are Bring: Hikers should wear popular and fill up quickly, sturdy, closed-toed shoes and bring their own water and Details: Tours start at 10 a.m. snacks, as neither are available and 1 p.m. Advance registra- onsite. Dogs are not allowed tion is req uired on the DFG on these tours. Before you we bsite. Visit dfg.ca.gov, visit, review the Special then choose Lands under the Restrictions listed on the Resource Management tab. website. Click.Ecological Reserves in the Information: Those who are menu on the left, and choose unable to register online or Region 2. In the map is a link need more information are in- to the information page for vited to call DFG Interpretive North Table Mountain Services at (916) 358-2869, Western buttercup I +~ L: t I !