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The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center will host a hike on November 20th at Oso Flaco Lake to Myrtle Pond, which sits just north of Guadalupe and offers visitors one of the most scenic — and definitely well hidden — natural areas along the state’s coastline.

The easy hike starts at 9:00 a.m., and participants are asked to meet at the trail head, located inside the white gate inside the parking lot area. Hikers will begin their adventure walking through a wooded area of arroyo willows and wax myrtle, where numerous species of songbirds make their homes, as they head to a bridge that crosses the lake.

Once across the lake, Ray will lead the group into the stabilized area of the dunes complex, where silver dune lupine, coyote bush, deer weed and dunes paintbrush flourish, and a wide variety of birds, reptiles, mammals and other plants also live and thrive.

Then, hikers will make their way along a 1 1⁄2-mile wood boardwalk that winds through the sand dunes and ends at the foredunes — the area of the dunes closest to the ocean — where a viewing platform allows visitors to take in sweeping views of Point San Luis to the north and Mussel Rock to the south.

Finally, hikers will be led through the Dunes to Myrtle Pond. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists created Myrtle Pond at Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes NWR in 2013 to provide much-needed water and habitat for amphibian species and other wildlife. The pond also provides important habitat for the federally Threatened California red-legged frog, a species that has historically used many of the freshwater marshes and ponds in the dune ecosystem for breeding. In 2019, Myrtle Pond was documented as the only wetland holding permanent surface water on Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes NWR. Among the diverse range of flora and fauna that call the Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes region home are some of the most imperiled plant species in the nation.  La Graciosa thistle, Nipomo Mesa lupine, marsh sandwort, and Gambell’s watercress are among the rarest plants on the planet, all facing common threats of invasive species, groundwater decline, climate change, and habitat loss. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists are working with neighboring land managers and conservation partners to support recovery efforts for these species, including propagation and re-introduction. Like no place else on Earth, the Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes is an ever -changing jewel.

 

*** PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A MODERATE HIKE THROUGH THE DUNES. CLOSED TOED SHOES MUST BE WORN ON THE REFUGE, LONG PANTS ARE HIGHLY ENCOURAGED.***