The alchemy of photosynthesis worked its magic on grasses, trees and wildflowers across the landscape of Lake County after the rains finally arrived. Kelly green tempera paint colors outline the forest, while lush tree trunks are alive with mosses. At Rodman Preserve you can take a Saturday walk when the Lake County Land Trust (LCLT) opens its gates to the Preserve’s hundreds of acres. Rodman Preserve and Nature Center is located at 6350 Westlake Road in Upper Lake.
We were welcomed at the property’s entrance by the breathtaking view of one of the resident ospreys as it flew above us with its prey secured in its talons! Rodman Preserve was acquired in order to safeguard the land’s natural habitat and preserve the existing wildlife area with its prolific nesting, feeding and breeding environs. Since the lands here are sensitive the Trust allows specific hike times.
We were doubly welcomed at the Preserve as LCLT board member Roberta Lyons was on hand to check the status of the trails. As we meandered the undulating path, Lyons explained that a variety of grasses growing in the preserve are made up of many nonnative grasses. She also pointed out some of the beautiful native grasses that thrive here, such as our California State grass, California Purple Needle Grass (Stipa pulchra), California Brome (Bromus carinatur), Blue Wild Rye ( Elymus Glaucous) and Squirrel Tail (Elymus elymoides). These natives have been planted and encouraged by ecologist and board member Catherine Koehler and volunteers who tend the plants.
In 1993 the Lake County Land Trust incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit owing to the relentless efforts of Lake County’s Roberta Lyons, Susanne Scholz, John Graham, Glenn Dishman, Mary Tulanian-Benson, Michael Frel, Judy Cox, Kim Clymier , Sibyl Day, aided greatly by now-retired Lakeport attorney Peter Windrem. The LCLT acquired other key properties in order to protect vital habitats in Lake County, including the Melo and Wright Wetland Preserves and Rabbit Hill. The LCLT also manages Boggs Lake Preserve. The Black Forest, a past acquisition is now under the management of the Bureau of Land Management.
As the late spring hike continued we were repeatedly awed by impressive looking American white pelicans, great blue herons, raptors, woodpeckers, nuthatches, vultures and elegant egrets to name but a few of the avian species seen. The wetlands were at their sparkling and shimmering best, and wildflowers smiled at each turn of the trail, including our own State Flower, California poppies.
As if all of that beauty wasn’t enough, one of our astute hikers pointed out a huge, old gopher snake with a full belly, slithering down an oak tree, having recently ingested a meal, no doubt! Gopher snakes are adept at climbing trees to search out their prey. The consume birds, lizards, young rabbits, rodents, and more!
The Lake County Land Trust relies on the vital support from members and the community to save preservation-priority lands from being developed and lost forever. When you visit these lands at the designated hours, or set up a special tour, it will become apparent to you why the LCLT works to preserve lands that are truly vital to the health of our lake and wetlands.
Be sure to check the LCLT facebook or web sites to learn more, for current hours, and how to become a member: