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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Spring in Jacks Peak Park

March 2013
Indian Warrior at Jacks Peak ParkIndian Warrior at Jacks Peak Park. Photo by Mary Pendlay

By Mary Pendlay

The fine yellow dust that settles everywhere on our Peninsula in March is a sign of spring, the Monterey Pine, in its native forest atop Jacks Peak, admits it is the guilty party. This year is no different for the growing trees, except that much has happened; although, not in the forest, but outside of it.

Two years ago Monterey County Parks entertained the idea of considering a zipline in the 960 acre forest of Jacks Peak Park. Local hikers and environmental groups rushed to the meetings which quickly made clear Jacks Peak Park is a passive recreational area designed for walks, picnics, exploring and many other quiet activities. The views of Point Lobos and the Santa Lucia Mountains serve as a backdrop to the many plants, birds and animals that thrive in an undisturbed environment, which is the expressed purpose of the Park.

The grey squirrels are busy shredding the Monterey Pine cones for food while the nuthatchers, wrens and prolific small birds search for food among the Indian paint brush, wood mint, and footprints of spring. Chapter members and two other active groups, the Monterey Pine Forest Watch and the Friends of Jacks Peak Park, who are dedicated to preserving and expanding the Park, are busily moving forward with a plan to keep this open space in perpetuity for generations to enjoy.

A most informative way to experience the Park today is to join the docent-led walk/tour led by volunteers on the second Saturday of every month (to reserve email . Encouraging more knowledge of the Monterey Pine Forest and the native habitat, docents examine the geological birth of the peak, explain in detail the Monterey Pine life cycle, pests, growth and Indian uses, and survey the history of the park, its importance, and its current life.

Meanwhile, outside the Park, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, has been presented with the opportunity to take the stewardship of Jacks Peak Park to another level and expand its acreage, accentuate its assets, and provide preservation of the largest, native, contiguous Monterey Pine forest in the world in perpetuity.

Fossils at Jacks PeakOne of the many fossils at Jacks Peak Park. Photo by Mary Pendlay


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