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Sacred Datura ( Datura wrightii), known to the Chumash as momoy, found near the River's Edge Trailhead in the Seaside Wilderness Park in Ventura. Sacred Datura likes to grow in disturbed ground and does well in xeriscapes. Learn about its importance for the Chumash in this article by anthropologist Richard Applegate.
July-August 2016 Newsletter
Reyes Peak Trail on the north side of Pine Mountain
Coming Events !!
Giant Stinging Nettles on the River's Edge Trail (July, 2013)
Seaside Wilderness Park Herb Walk on Sat., July 23
You'll be amazed at the variety of native plants that can be seen on the River's Edge/Ocean's Edge Trails loop on the Seaside Wilderness Park Herb Walk by the Ventura rivermouth.

Walking from the forest to the beach, we'll encounter plants of the Riparian Woodland (such as the native Giant Stinging Nettles shown above), Coastal Sage Scrub, and Coastal Strand plant communities. In hte dunes we will identify at least two species of edible non-native Ice Plants including the Cystalline Ice Plant shown below.

View of the Sespe from Johnston Ridge Trail looking east toward Sespe Hot Springs. Photo: Keep Sespe Wild Committee

Court victory ends 20 years of Adventure Pass fees
After two years of negotiations, a settlement was finally signed in June between the U.S. Forest Service and the four plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Adventure Pass forest fee program, as administered by the four Southern California National Forests. The result is that forest visitors may now enjoy free access to undeveloped forest lands, even when their favorite trailheads are next to car campgrounds & picnic areas.

This is the culmination of twenty years of activism against forest fee programs...

Read the entire article by Alasdair Coyne reprinted here from the Keep Sespe Wild Committee newsletter.

Ojai's "blues brothers," Lanny and Michael Kaufer at Libbey Bowl, the site of their upcoming festival. Photo: Megan Lee (

Ojai Bowlful of Blues: Sept. 17
You probably noticed that only one Herb Walks event is scheduled this summer. Each year I take a break during August, a leftover habit from my fulltime teaching days, but this year I'm taking it off for a different reason.

Along with my real-life "blues brother" Michael, the co-founder of the event, I'm co-producing the 23rd Bowlful of Blues in Ojai's Libbey Bowl on Saturday, September 17. Please visit our Bowlful of Blues website to learn more and buy tickets to attend this community based non-profit event.
Treat yourself to a plant book this August
Whether you're enjoying the beach, riding a train, or just relaxing at home, the summer can be a great time to catch up on some reading. I would be doing both you and me a disservice if I didn't direct you to my handpicked selection of what I think are the finest, most important books on the subjects of native plant identification and uses, local trails, drought-tolerant gardening, Native American ethnobotany and more.

My best-selling book for two years running has been Field Guide to Common Plants of the Santa Barbara Foothills and Southern California. It didn't hurt that the publisher reduced the price from $17.95 to $12.95.

Visit the Herb Walks Bookstore for your next read. Thanks!
The Pine Fire seen from a hike on Mt. Pinos, July 7, 2016.
Pine Fire 93% contained at last report
On Thursday, June 30, just a few days after my Summer Solstice Nature Hike on Pine Mountain, a forest fire of unknown origin broke out in the upper drainage of Reyes Creek on the north side of Pine Mountain. We were lucky to be able to get up there when we did as the road and trail we used have been closed since then.

The fire was considered 93% contained on July 12 with full containment expected by July 17. I'm confident the road will be open in time for the Fall Equinox Nature Hike on September 24. I'll keep you posted.

This Inciweb page has a full report on the fire.
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