On a sunny weekend in May, the Mountain Travel Sobek team headed to Pinnacles National Park to help on a habitat restoration project. As a company and staff we utilize the National Parks Service on many of our trips, for recreation and for education. We also camp, hike, and climb, and feel rejuvenated in our National Parks on our time off, so we thought it would be good to give back to the places that we love. Pinnacles is America's newest national park, born of fire some 23 million years ago when volcanoes erupted and lava flooded the landscape. Today, visitors can journey along its stunning woodland and rock trails and this was our chance to help out a lesser-known park that doesn’t get as many volunteer groups—and discover it for ourselves, too!
On this restoration project we removed horehound, which is an invasive species in California. We walked through meadows and removed it by the root as we went along, using our handheld “cuttle-fish hoe”. We had to keep count of every one we removed with our clickers so that they can keep the data for future volunteer projects, too. Then we relaxed on a hillside and collected gold field flower seeds, a native tiny wildflower, that will be used in future habitation restoration projects.
We camped in the main campground at the East Entrance in one of their group lots. We did a group hike together before dinner on the Condor Gulch Trail, which starts at the Bear Gulch Day Use parking area. You get to a beautiful overlook where you see the pinnacles for which the park is named!
For those who want to get involved in future restoration projects there is a Volunteer Coordinator at every National Park in the country, and anyone can form a group and volunteer depending on the season – for example, Pinnacles NP does not do projects in the summer because it is too hot. There are also public work days that any individual or group can volunteer for, too. When you’re a private group, though, as we were, some parks will also offer you a campsite in return for the work. Then you’re able to enjoy the park after putting in the work. You can find more information here: Volunteers-In-Parks