Earth Day at Grasslands Park
April 11, 2006
By Beth Gabor, Yolo County Public Information Officer
Did you know that April 22 is Earth Day and April 23-29 is National County Government Week? You could celebrate both this month at one of Yolo County’s regional parks – specifically Grasslands Park – a 323-acre county park located 3.5 miles south of Davis along Mace Boulevard.
Grasslands Park, deeded to the county in 1972, was originally part of McClellan Air Force Base’s Davis Global Communications site used for air force radio communication operations for the pacific region of the U.S. Since then, the park has become an attractive gathering point for recreational uses and for researchers studying the natural resources on the site, including rare and endangered plant and wildlife species. In 1991, portions of Grasslands Park were planted by volunteers with stands of valley oaks, and more recently, a 65-acre area was set aside for establishment of a burrowing owl preserve as part of a conservation agreement with the City of Davis. Funding was also provided for an off-leash dog park and picnic areas.
A master plan for Grasslands Park was adopted in concept last year by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and is based on maximizing opportunities for general public use of the park. The plan supports existing uses, including archery, model airplane gliding, wildlife viewing, off-leash dog opportunities, horseshoe pitching, oak woodland management and habitat and native grass restoration. The master plan also contains provisions for improved general public use of the park, including picnic areas, trails, interpretive elements and environmental education and restoration.
Grasslands Park provides ongoing inventory and management of endangered species with the site containing vernal pools, seasonal wetlands and grasslands that provide vital habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife, including state and federally protected species such as vernal pool fairy shrimp, Swainson’s hawk, and one of the last known populations of Solano grass. Yolo County is currently evaluating transference of a remaining 315-acre portion of the property still owned by the federal government. This acquisition would further Yolo County’s objectives to protect and preserve important biological resources and provide educational opportunities to the general public.
On April 22, the California State Parks Foundation will be holding one of their annual statewide Earth Day restoration and cleanup projects, sponsored by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, at Grasslands Park. Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to come out to help with planting of native California grasses, spreading of native grass straw mulch, installation of an irrigation system, chipping of brush and installation of an educational/information kiosk. Volunteers will be greeted at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and bagels, and then put to work with the morning’s activities culminating in a picnic. Come one and all and enjoy a gratifying opportunity to contribute to the county’s environmental stewardship in Grasslands Park and to celebrate both Earth Day and National County Government Week.
For more information about the county parks system contact Dimitrios Georges at (530) 666-8806. For more information about the California State Parks Foundation Earth Day restoration and cleanup project see http://www.calparks.org/programs/earth-day/.