Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park Trail Work | Habitat Restoration
The SHARE Mountain Bike Club assisted the OC Parks in hosting a Habitat Restoration Day in Whiting Ranch on February 27, 2016. The purpose of the event was to remove nonnative plants from a designated area and replant this area with natives to restore the habitat back to its natural state
In addition to the OC Parks staff, many other volunteers came out to help for this event. There were volunteers from multiple mountain bike groups (SHARE, ASG, and Trail Angels) — it was really great to see a large representation from the mountain bike community for this habitat restoration event. In addition, there were volunteers from the hiking community, the Joplin Boys Ranch, students from various schools, and friends who just enjoy outside activities and helping out. In total nearly 50 volunteers showed up, the thing that everyone had in common was their love of the wilderness and the joy that they get when they get to hike, bike, ride horses, and just be in the outdoors.
The morning was spent digging up the nonnative plants using pickaxes and McLeod’s (a fire fighter’s tool that has “teeth” or tines on one side and a sharpened hoe edge on the other side). The soil was chopped up into smaller pieces so that the nonnative plants could be easily removed and also for the purpose of preparing the soil for planting the native plants. The nonnative plants were bundled in large tarps and transported out of the park to be disposed of so that they could not reseed and become invasive in the park again. After the soil was prepared, the volunteers started digging again – this time it was to dig holes for the native plants. The park rangers had brought in a few truckloads of different varieties of plants that were given to the volunteers to place throughout the prepared area. Before planting, the volunteers were given a brief training session by the head park ranger, Joshua Goldsmith, on how to properly put the plant in the ground – i.e., depth of planting, creating a trough area around the plant for the water to stay, and freeing the roots from the soil surrounding the plant so the roots can spread and promote the growth of the plant.
It was a very rewarding day for the volunteers – they were able to see what looked like a meadow of weeds and invasive plants turn into a wilderness “garden” that had many different native plants strategically placed throughout the area. The volunteers said they are very excited to periodically come back to the restored area to watch the transformation of the habitat back to its natural state.
Everyone who came out to help for the Habitat Restoration Day worked incredibly hard – digging up weeds and planting is tough work! The OC Parks staff and SHARE Mountain Bike Club are very grateful for all of the volunteers who gave their valuable time to make sure that Whiting Ranch stays healthy and beautiful!