We live in an area with a wonderful variety of natural spaces. Stream corridors, oak woodlands, grasslands, seasonal wetlands, vernal pools, and sycamore woodlands are among the habitats found in LARPD open spaces and reserves. These places are home to a wide array of plants and animals, and the scenery changes with the season. There is always something new to discover.
New! Find Early Spring Wildflowers in Sycamore Grove Park with this handy guide!
Here are some notes from the rangers on what’s happening in the parks and information on some of their favorite wild plants, critters, and nature topics.
Many of the animals that live in the parks tend to get more than their share of bad press. Though some of these animals can harm you, what they really want is to be left alone.
- Rattlesnakes – are here; keep your distance; you’re too big to eat
- Ticks –check for them during and after hikes to remove before they attach; if one attaches remove with tweezers and take to vector control for identification
- Mountain lions – there are occasional sightings; rarely approach people; in the unlikely event that you find yourself in a close encounter with a mountain lion, stand tall, wave your arms and make lots of noise
- Bobcats –they are often spotted but usually stay a healthy distance from people; normally eat prey the size of ground squirrels and bunnies
- Snakes – several species of snake are found here, but only the rattlesnake can inject a venom that will harm you
Plants have their own defenses. Most plants are not hazardous to people as long as you don’t eat them. However, some of them have ways of protecting themselves that can make an encounter unpleasant for us.
- Poison oak – the oils on the leaves and branches cause an uncomfortable rash in most people
- Stinging nettle – the fuzzy covering on the leaves is actually a coating of stinging hairs that will lead to a painful reaction lasting several minutes if your skin brushes against them
- Thistles – there are several species of this plant that sport an armor of sharp spines
- Grass seeds – stickers or seeds from a variety of plants can catch in pants and socks and poke your skin or make you itch; some can also be dangerous to pets who get them lodged in their ears or nose or paws
Find out more
District Rules and Regulations (PDF)
Geocaching in LARPD