News and announcements from FFRP
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Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Keep up-to-date with all FFRP volunteer opportunities, events, Ranch Walks and news at in the Calendar section.

What's Happening

The latest news from FFRP


•11th Annual Cambria Wildflower Show
•Welcome New FFRP Board Member
•Forest Restoration & Fire Reduction Project
•Blazing New Trails article
•A Gathering in the Garden
•Office Docents Still Needed
•2016 Ranch Walks & Special Interest Walks

11th Annual Cambria Wildflower Show

This year's show will be held on Saturday, April 23, from Noon until 5:00 pm and Sunday, April 24, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm at the Cambria Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St. You will see a display of fresh wildflowers collected from the Monterey County line to the Morro Bay Estuary and from the coastal bluffs to the ridge of the Santa Lucia Mountains. An entry donation of $3 is requested, students are free.

There will be:
  • Hundreds of bouquets of fresh flowers labeled with botanical names and families, along with common names.
  • Edible, medicinal, rare and endangered, invasive and poisonous plants will be identified.
  • Plants are displayed in antique and interesting bottles and vases.
  • Botanists will be on hand to answer your plant questions.
  • Great treats at the Wildflower Café.
  • Helpful books, plant lists, wildflower seeds, Fiscalini Ranch Preserve apparel – see our new line of T-shirts.
The purpose of the show is to enhance the enjoyment of wildflowers by educating, through viewing. Permitted and trained teams of collectors will be picking flowers for educational purposes, from habitats with large populations, so that people can learn to enjoy them in their natural habitats without picking the flowers themselves.
For more information, please call 805-927-2856 or e-mail us at

Welcome New FFRP Board Member

Suzy Siegler has a long record of board service in the Bay area and we are lucky to have her extensive experience on the FFRP board of directors. She was elected to fill a vacancy at our February 11, 2016 regular meeting. She comes to our board after several years of volunteering for FFRP—as a member of the Kitchen tour committee, and helping with the Wildflower Show and other fundraising events.
You may know her as the talented gourmet cook who gives fabulous dinner parties to be auctioned by local non-profit organizations in our community – a tradition that she brought with her from the Bay area.
Suzy had a career as a music teacher for grades K through 12 and after she retired she founded and ran a lunch program for Saratoga Adult Care for 13 years. The program helped adults with dementia, Alzheimers and the effects of stroke.
Suzy likes people and and listens to them. She also likes working with groups of children and would like to be involved with FFRP’s educational programs.
She and her husband, Ted, have been walking the Ranch since 2000 and finally made Cambria their permanent home in 2013 after she retired.  Ted and Suzy view the Ranch as a gem; even their handicapped friends can share in the Ranch on the Bluff Trail and the beautiful benches. She is proud to help with fundraising, organizing and educational outreach for the preserve.
Welcome to the FFRP Board Suzy!

Forest Restoration & Fire Reduction Project

by Holly Sletteland

Our project is continuing to move forward, with plans to begin work in the field this summer.  We will begin with cleaning up the debris from the hazardous tree removals and treating the three test plots in the first year.  We have also started invasive removal and plan to do another planting of pines this fall.  We asked Dr. Kingston Leong, professor emeritus of entomology from Cal Poly, to conduct an overwintering monarch survey for us and he did find clusters we need to protect.
The North Coast Advisory Committee recommended approval of our permit application in January.  The County has scheduled a hearing on April 8th and we are optimistic that our permit will be granted.
Please let us know if you are interested in volunteering on this project.  We need people to help with removing invasives, monitoring the forest, spreading mulch on trails and much more.  Contact Holly at or 805-239-3928.

Blazing New Trails Doesn't Help Preserve the Ranch

by Jo Ellen Butler, special to The Cambrian

Each week hundreds of visitors, including hikers, runners, bicyclists, equestrians, people with disabilities and people walking their dogs use the trails on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Many people tell me they walk the Ranch every day; some people only ocasionally walk the Ranch but all of these people have the ability to change the face of our preserve by how they use it.

According to Michael Mideke, writer and photographer, “Every passage along a trail is an act of maintenance, every footfall lends definition … (trails) are communal projects repeatedly defined by the feet of each passerby.”

So they are, and this can be good or it can be bad! Together, our combined footsteps can either be grooming our designated trails or creating a multitude of new ad hoc trails, footstep by footstep.

You’ve heard of places being “loved to death.” We have a little bit of that going on at the Ranch. Locals and visitors alike are in the process of communally loving and walking the Ranch to death. Shortcuts and more shortcuts between here and there create a multitude of strands in the web of trails. Each new strand creates a line of bare earth, a scar, that encroaches on plant and animal habitat and contributes to erosion on the preserve.

Check out aerial photographs of the Ranch on google Earth, from 2000 to present, and you can see the changes from the use of a few designated trails to the proliferation of mini trails we have today. In order to reduce our footprint (literally) we need to begin to mark designated trails and give up the cross-cut trails that have become so prominent.

There are presently no markers on the Ranch to let people know which trails are authorized. Authorized trails are shown on the maps at the entrances of the Bluff Trail and on the trail maps provided by CCSD, but there are no “on the ground” indications of what is actually a trail.

Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Trails Committee and the CCSD Ranch manager are beginning to close a few of the bootleg trails between the Bluff and Marine Terrace trails in the most used section of the property. This will be followed in the future by unobtrusive markers along the trails that are designated in the Ranch Management Plan.

In the meantime, Trails Committee members will be attending the California Trails and Greenways Conference in Riverside to learn more and bring home new information to guide us in a trails plan for the Ranch.

By caring for special places such as the Ranch, we all learn to care for the land, ourselves and our fellow species on this earth. You can help care for the Ranch by honoring our trail closures and restoration efforts there. Remember, when you walk, your every footstep counts!

JoEllen Butler is executive director of Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Her Ranch Update column appears quarterly and is special to The Cambrian.

Read more here:
FFRP Office Sign

FFRP Office
604 Main Street

West Village of Cambria
Next to Sandy's Deli

Our somewhat regular
open-to-the-public hours are:

Friday 11 am - 2 pm
Saturday 11 am - 3 pm
Sunday 11 am - 2 pm

Stop on by to get Ranch info from a docent, check out our large maps and images of the Ranch, pick up trail maps, join or donate to FFRP, or shop for shirts, caps, aprons, books, and greeting cards.

Save the Date for
"A Gathering
in the Garden"

On Saturday, June 11, from 5 until 7:30 pm, Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve will be presenting “A Gathering in the Garden” in the Cambria Nursery Gardens at 2801 Eton Rd, Cambria.

Spend the evening strolling through the nursery after hours. Enjoy live music. Sip fine wines and savor great appetizers. Exciting items will be raffled during the evening.

We invite you to come and support the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, a 437 acre public open space in the heart of Cambria, while you visit with friends and make new acquaintances in this casual but beautiful botanical setting.

For more information please call 805-927-2856 or e-mail


As more and more visitors and locals come to our new office location, we are in need of docents to welcome these visitors, provide Ranch information, sell Ranch merchandise, as well as take in FFRP memberships and donations. Occasionally there are other office jobs for docents to do while on shift.

Currently we need the following days covered: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The ideal shift is 11:00 am to 2:00 or 3:00 pm, however should you only be available for 2 hours, a 4-hour shift could be shared with another docent.

Please contact Jo Ellen at or 805-927-2856 if you are interested in and willing to become an office docent.


General Forest Loop Trail Walk

General Forest Loop
Trail Walks - 2016

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sat., March 26 - Brian
Sat., April 30 - Brian
Sat., May 21 - Brian

Enjoy a two-hour FFRP Docent led walk with Brian Morgan. This walk is about 2.5 miles with very little elevation gain. Learn about the plants, animals, human history, and the trails in this special part of Cambria. Bring water, shoes that protect the toes, and wear long pants to help protect from poison oak. Children welcome with adult supervision. Meet 9:45 am at Tipton St. Trail Head. Call Brian at 805-305-1423 for information. *Rain one hour before walk cancels.

Bluff Trail Walk

Bluff Trail Walks 2016

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sat., May 28 - Gil
Sat., June 11 - Duffy

Duffy Burns and Gil Eastman lead this walk. Enjoy the ocean and learn about the properties of seaweed and its nutrients and its importance to our ocean, ocean birds, plants along the trail and how the ocean currents play into our weather. We might even see a few sea mammals along the way. Bring binoculars if you have them. Children welcome with adult supervision. Meet at the south entrance to the Bluff Trail. Directions HERE. For more information, call Duffy at 760-390-5150, or Gil at 805-927-9556. *Rain one hour before walk cancels.

Grasses on the Ranch

Grasses on the Ranch

Saturday, April 16
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Reservations required

Don Canestro, Reserve Director, on the UC Ken Norris Rancho Marino Reserve, will lead a grass walk on the Fiscalini Ranch. Last year when he did this walk it was filled with wonderful information about the native and non native grasses on our Ranch. *Rain one hour before walk cancels.

Wildflower Identification

Wildflower Identification on the Ranch

Sunday, May 1
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Reservations required

D.R. Miller, organizer of the annual Cambria Wildflower Show, will take participants on a wildflower walk on the Fiscalini Ranch to hone their plant identification skills. *Rain one hour before walk cancels.

Butterfly, Insect & Plant Walk

Butterfly, Insect & Plant Walk

Saturday, June 25
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Reservations required

Start the summer off right by joining local naturalist Al Normandin on a walk through the Ranch looking for butterflies and other insects. Al will search out for these beautiful creatures as well as those flowering plants that they feed upon. We'll also be looking for their relatives in the insect world, the creepy crawlies that often go unnoticed due to their small size and often unappealing appearance that only a fellow insect could love. *Rain one hour before walk cancels.

Copyright © 2016 Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, All rights reserved.

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