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Online Trail Guide Answers Questions

July 22, 2008

By Peter Ottesen, The Record, Stockton, Calif.

Jul. 22–What are the two most-asked questions of California State Parks officials? “Where can I go to take a hike?” and “Do you have a trail map?”

Now the answers can be found on a new trail guide available on the state parks Web site: parks.ca.gov/trailsearch/.

The guide is organized by region to make it easy to find a close-to-home hiking opportunity or locate a never-before-discovered state park to visit. More than 150 hiking trails are highlighted, most from one to 15 miles long. The length, elevation gain and trailhead directions are described in detail for each trail, as well as a synopsis of the geology, view and ecology that will be encountered. Information: Cheryl Essex, (916) 651-0386.

Inland salmon planting

The Department of Fish and Game has finished stocking approximately 1.3 million fingerling kokanee and 475,200 Chinook salmon in 27 lakes and reservoirs. The two- to four-inch fish were planted into waters where natural production is insufficient to provide satisfactory angling.

DFG officials credited the California Inland Fisheries Foundation and Kokanee Power for funds and volunteers needed to insure this year’s huge releases of salmon, which will reach catchable-size for sport anglers within two years. Information: Mike Harris, (916) 464-6352.

Ducks above average

The 2008 waterfowl breeding population survey found more than 37 million ducks in parts of the U.S. and Canada, a 9 percent decrease from last year’s estimate but still 11 percent greater than the 1955-2007 average.

Joshua Winchell of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey is the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind and samples two million square miles of North America’s most important nesting grounds.

Highlights from the survey: Gadwall, shoveler and green-winged teal were 56 percent above the long-term average; northern pintail fell 22 percent below last year and 36 percent below the long-term average; and mallards remained constant and above the long-term. View the results at fws.gov/migratorybirds/.

Environmental center

The Grassland Environmental Education Center, located at the Los Banos Wildlife Area, is open daily for free tours. Activities for students in grades K-12 are based on the state standards and conducted indoors in a laboratory and outdoors along the Van Atta Interpretive Marsh Trail. Families and school groups welcome. Information: Candace Sigmund, (209) 704-4772.

Contact outdoors columnist Peter Ottesen at pottesen@recordnet.com.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Record, Stockton, Calif.

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