Sahara Mustard Removal on the Sycamore Canyon Trail

The Friends of the Wilderness Park held their first ever invasive plant removal event on Saturday, January 28, when a dedicated group of volunteers, including members of Boy Scout Troop 407, removed Sahara Mustard from the Sycamore Canyon Trail.

Sahara Mustard has done horrible damage to the desert east of her, displacing native wildflowers and other native plants as well as creating a fire hazard where none had existed previously. Fortunately, Sahara Mustard has only established a few relatively small infestations in the Wilderness Park, so we have an excellent chance of eradicating this pest.

Two of the infestations are along the Sycamore Canyon Trail – one at the bottom of the trail and one about one-third of the way up. Although you always miss some, we tried to remove all of the mustard in both of those areas, and we filled 15 contractor bags full of mustard! It will take a few years before all the mustard is gone, as a seed bank has already been established, but we hope to see progress soon!

We hope to be having invasive plant removal events about once a month except for the hot part of the summer. If you’d like to get an announcement, just sign up for our email list.

Here are some photos from the mustard removal:

California Biodiversity “Day” in the Wilderness Park

Thanks to everyone who participated in California Biodiversity Day at the Wilderness Park on September 11, and thanks to the Park Rangers, who set up their canopy for us! During the official California Biodiversity Days, Sept. 4 – 12, seventeen new observations were reported to our iNaturalist project, including 14 taxa, of which 11 were identified to species.

Here are a few that were observed:

Telegraph Weed (Heterotheca grandiflora)

Telegraph Weed growing up Johnson’s Pasture Road on the “loop”. © Peri Lee · some rights reserved
Telegraph Weed – flower detail. © Peri Lee · some rights reserved

Telegraph Weed was the species most commonly reported in the Park during California Biodiversity Days. Its bright yellow flowers on tall stems (sometimes more than 5 ft) are a common sight in the Park in late summer and fall. It is a pioneer native species, growing along roadsides and in other disturbed sites.

The origin of the common name is hazy. Some think it’s because the tall, slim stalks stick up like telegraph poles. Others have suggested it’s because it readily colonized the areas disturbed by telegraph pole installation.

Threadleaf Groundsel (Senecio flaccidus)

Threadleaf Groundsel next to Palmer-Evey Mountainway. © travisbbotany · some rights reserved

Another late summer and fall bloomer, Threadleaf Groundsel’s bright yellow daisy-like flowers rise about the mass of pale gray-green threadlike leaves that give the shrub its common name. Many different bees like to visit Threadleaf Groundsel.

Small Carpenter Bee (Ceratina sp.)

A Small Carpenter Bee on California Aster (Corethrogyne filaginifolia) next to the Cobal Canyon Trail.
© Nancy Hamlett · some rights reserved

Small Carpenter Bees are related to the large carpenter bees you may have seen around your house, but they are much too small to be able to bore into wood to make their nests; instead they make their nests in the pithy stems of plants.

Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)

A Woodland Skipper nectaring on Cliff Aster (Malacothrix saxatilis) next to the Cobal Canyon Trail.
© Nancy Hamlett · some rights reserved

Woodland Skippers are common in chaparral in the late summer and fall. The larval host plants are grasses, but the adults nectar on a wide variety of plants.

You can see all of the Biodiversity Day observations here.

We’re back! Second Saturdays have resumed

The City of Claremont has lifted the restrictions that prevented the Friends from holding Second Saturday events in the Park. We had a “soft open” with a few volunteers on July 10, when we were visited by Claremont Mayor Jennifer Stark, and a regular Second Saturday event on August 14.

The second Saturday volunteer program is a collaboration of the Friends of the Wilderness Park, CHWP Rangers, and City Staff.  On the second Saturday of each month, for four hours Friends’ volunteers:

  • Answer questions about the Park.
  • Provide directions (with a map that visitors can photograph).
  • Remind visitors to take adequate water for themselves and their dogs.
  • Give water and/or refillable water bottles (or a drink from a dog bowl) to those in need.
  • Remind visitors to keep dogs on leashes and not play music out loud. 
  • Hike the loop, picking up trash and answering questions along the way.

We are always looking for volunteers for Second Saturday, so if you’re interested, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Vicki Salazar at, or if you’re in the Park, stop by and say, “Hi”.

A bagful of trash collected by some of the the Friends on the August 14 Second Saturday. ©Greg Glass.

Celebrate Biodiversity Day at the Wilderness Park!

September 7, 2019 marks the first official celebration of California Biodiversity Day, an annual event created last year to celebrate the state’s exceptional biodiversity and encourage actions to protect it.  The city of Claremont Park Rangers together with the Friends of the Wilderness Park will be observing California Biodiversity Day 2019 at the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park.

Join us this Saturday, September 7th from 6:30am to 9:30am and learn how to use your phone to contribute to science and the Wilderness Park with iNaturalist!  Just look for the canopy near the North Mills entrance for more information!

Already an iNaturalist user?

Please come and help show others to use the iNaturalist app!

New to iNaturalist?

iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature. iNaturalist is a collaboration between National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences.  Anyone can participate in iNaturalist!

Before arriving on Saturday please:

  1. Go to and create a free account. You should see “SIGN UP” featured prominently on the homepage.   Otherwise, there’s a “Sign Up” link in the top right corner.
  2. On your smart phone, go to the Apple Store or the Google Play store and download the iNaturalist app.

Once you’ve signed up, you can enter observations from either your phone or computer.  The iNaturalist site has a really good explanation here:

The page also has links to video tutorials.

The Wilderness Park Biota Project:


The Friends of the Wilderness Park have created an iNaturalist project for documenting the plants and animals of the Wilderness Park.  If you make iNaturalist observations in the Park, they will automatically be collected and added to the project!

If you’d like to check out the CHWP project and see what’s already been reported, just go here:

A few tips for best practices:

  • If feasible, crop your photos to feature the subject, especially if it’s not clear whether the subject is the bird or the tree, for example.
  • Include a little description. For one thing, you can use the description to say what’s the subject.  But you can also note any additional details, interesting behavior, type of habitat, odors, etc. that may not be obvious from the photo.
  • Give the most specific ID you can, even if it’s not to the species level. For instance, “insect”, “snake”, or even “plant” or “animal” is better than just having “unknown”.
  • Give a little info about yourself in your profile — it increases your credibility.


Saturday sights

March 9th was the Friends’ Second Saturday program, and we saw lots of folks enjoying the Park, including some large groups:


Some folks recorded the sights with photos:


The recent rains had swelled the seasonal stream near the entrance, making entering the Park a bit tricky. One pup wore booties:


While mountain bikers just powered through:


Leaviong hikers to carefully pick their way across the rocks in the stream:


Sometimes with a little help from their Friends:


We hope you’re out enjoying the Park! If you’re there on a second Saturday, please say, “Hi,” or, even better, come volunteer with us!