Earth Day Herb Hike on Sunday, April 23

Celebrate Earth Day with an educational Herb Hike to Matilija Campground with Ojai native plant educator Lanny Kaufer on Sunday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. “This trail will take us into the Matilija Wilderness,” explained Kaufer, “one of my favorite locations in the Los Padres National Forest. The views of the surrounding mountains are stunning and there is a great diversity of riparian and chaparral plant life to identify, sample and discuss.”

As usual, Kaufer will stop along the way to answer participants’ questions and to discuss and demonstrate the many uses of native plants while exploring their relationships with birds, insects, and other life forms in their environment. Once at the campground, the group will practice cracking open and eating sweet Southern California Black Walnuts, one of the foods that foragers covet.

This hike is another in a series of backcountry hikes under a Special Use Permit from the Los Padres National Forest for guides offering interpretive services to the public. It is an easy-to-moderate hike on a well-used trail with little elevation gain, suitable for anyone physically fit enough to walk a total of 4 miles and stand for periods of time.

The day will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a carpool to the trailhead from the Maricopa Plaza, 1201 Maricopa Highway, in Ojai. There is no obligation to participate in the carpool but there is limited parking at the trailhead.  “I am always interested in cutting down on my group’s exhaust emissions as much as possible, especially on Earth Day,” Kaufer added. Participants who wish to join in the carpool should be prepared to either take a few passengers or share in the gas cost.

Hikers will start walking from the trailhead at 9:30, cross Matilija Creek, and walk about 2 miles to the campground for a lunch stop, and return to the trailhead at approximately 2:30, putting them back at the Maricopa Plaza by about 3:00 p.m. Light rain will not cancel the hike but heavy rain will. Status will be updated for those registered as the day gets closer.

Register now at or by emailing [email protected].  For more information, call 805-646-6281. No prepayment is required. Registrants will receive a confirmation email several days before with all necessary information.

The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-and-older, and $15 for students 13-18. Kids 5-12 can go free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No dogs or smoking, please.

Heidi Anderson between Lower and Middle Matilja Camps

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