Northern California Science Writers Association

Overnight trip to North Coast’s Angelo Reserve (FULL)

  • Friday, August 24, 2012
  • 5:00 PM
  • Sunday, August 26, 2012
  • 2:00 PM
  • Angelo Coast Range Reserve


  • Arrive late afternoon on Friday, Aug. 25 and set up camp at Fox Creek Lodge. Saturday hike, evening dinner, Sunday ecowalk.
  • No charge.
  • Arrive mid-day Saturday, set up camp. Communal dinner with after dinner speaker, Sunday morning ecowalk. Leave mid-day.

The Angelo Coast Range Reserve - 4,000 acres of steep terrain west of Laytonville - is a gem of the University of California’s Natural Reserve System, with one of the largest tracts of Douglas fir and coast redwood forest remaining in the state. Bisected by the South Fork of the Eel River, it is home to the Pacific giant salamander, river otters, flying squirrels, black bears, the threatened northern spotted owl, lamprey eels, chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

UC Berkeley ecologist Todd Dawson has offered to show NCSWA members the research site along Elder Creek, a tributary of the Eel River, where he and his colleagues are conducting a wide range of research. They have installed many different types of sensors "to trace the life cycle of water" as it moves inland from the ocean and is intercepted by vegetation and land surfaces, is transpired by plants or travels by various surface and subsurface paths to emerge as river runoff and travel back to the ocean. His team consists of chemists, geologists and biologists who hope the information they collect will someday help with climate change predictions aimed at forecasting when and how droughts, floods and water supplies will change. Dawson focuses mainly on the trees, using instruments that allow him to explore how they behave in response to changing soil and atmospheric conditions.

Dawson will lead a group - maximum of 20 people - on an easy Sunday morning walk to the main research watershed. Because the reserve is a 3.5 hour drive from the Bay Area, members are encouraged to camp Saturday night at the reserve's Fox Creek Lodge, either in their own tents or in barebones cabins with bunks. Bring a sleeping bag and sleeping pad. The group facility includes a shower/bath building. There is a sheltered cooking facility, and NCSWA will provide a communal spaghetti dinner on Saturday night, though members are asked to bring pot-luck side-dishes. Also bring food for breakfast and lunch. After dinner, reserve director Mary Power will give an overview of the research at Angelo and her own research on stream ecology.

Those interested in exploring the reserve further are invited to camp out Friday night and take a casual hike around the reserve on Saturday. Children are welcome, but no pets

Register now to reserve a spot: $15 per person for one night (includes Saturday night dinner), $25 per person for two nights. For more information about the area and directions from the Bay Area, link to the Angelo Reserve Web site.

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