Islay Hill

Islay Hill CNPS-SLO Field Trip

Sunday, March 22nd at 9:00 am

Join us for a relaxed, easy to moderate hike up Islay Hill, one of the Morros, located at the south end of San Luis Obispo.

At this time, many of the natives are in bloom or on the verge of blooming. There are over fifty genera to be found. The objective of this field trip is to catalog and photograph many, if not all of the native plants on this hill for future use and reference.

The hike is 2.5 miles with a 500 foot elevation gain and should last approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Meet at the end of Sweetbay Lane. To reach the trail head, take Tank Farm Rd. east past Hwy 227 and past Islay Park (located at the Orcutt Rd. intersection), take the next right-turn onto Spanish Oaks Dr. Stay on Spanish Oaks Dr for 1/2 mile, turn left onto Sweet Bay Lane, and park at the end of the street.

Bring a hat, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, camera, paper and pen, water, and a snack.

For more info, contact John Doyle (805) 748-7190.

Heavy rain cancels this field trip.

Carrizo Plains

Please see for an update

Saturday, 28th March 2015, 8 am, Carrizo Plains

Please note the changes to this field trip announcement:

Meet at the Santa Margarita park-and-ride (freeway exit, State Route 58 at Hwy 101) at 8:00 am.  We will caravan from there.  There will be no bathroom stops for about two hours thereafter, so please use the facilities prior to our departure.

This field trip requires us to drive on mountainous, one lane, dirt roads.  Only high clearance vehicles and SUVs can make the trip.  You may be able to carpool with someone who drives this type of vehicle.  Carpool adjustments to accommodate passengers will be made at the park-and-ride.

Make sure you have plenty of gas, water, as well as food, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, layered clothing, and a hat.  We will be doing some walking, but no long hikes. We’ll be back to Santa Margarita about 6:00 pm.  Those planning to participate in this field trip should contact: George Butterworth,, by giving their name and telephone number.

Rare Plant Monitoring Program Training

As I mentioned during this month’s CNPS meeting in Atascadero, we are gearing up to create a group of rare plant enthusiasts with adequate botanical training to assist in a rare plant monitoring program here in SLO County. If you know of someone with these skills and adequate free time to offer to CNPS, please let them know there will be a training session this Wednesday, 18th March with CNPS Rare Plant Specialist, Danny Slakey.

We will meet at 3:00 pm at the Cal Poly Herbarium (third floor north end, Fisher Building – 33, Cal Poly Univ.). Afterwards, we will take a walk up Poly Canyon to practice identification and documentation skills. Please RSVP to Bill Waycott (, if you or someone you recommend, plans to attend. This is an exciting development for our CNPS chapter!!


The SLO Chapter Sudden Oak Death Blitz will be the week-end of May 15 to 17, 2015. Training will be Friday, May 15 beginning at 6pm). Sample collection will be on your own time Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17.

A bin in a central location (likely San Luis Obispo) will be set up for sample drop off by 6pm, Sunday May 17.

Additional information will be posted on our chapter website ( and in the May newsletter, or you can contact Lauren for additional information (, 805-460-6329).

Coreopsis Hill

Coreopsis Hill

CNPS-SLO Hike to Coreopsis Hill in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

This annual field trip scheduled for Sunday, April 12, 2015, from 9am to around noon. This hike is sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Chapter of CNPS, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Dunes Center, and will be led by Lauren Brown, Dirk Walters, and other local botanists and volunteers.

The hike will begin at 9:00 AM (please plan to arrive between 8:45 and 9:00), leaving from the south end of Beigle Road at the USFWS access road (fenced road). It will be a casual walk through the dunes to the top of Coreopsis Hill.

This is a moderate hike, about 3 hours round-trip. Dress in layers, bring water and snacks, and have your “Dune Mother’s Wildflower Guide” by Dr. Malcolm McLeod for the trip. Long pants and closed shoes are recommended as the habitat is coastal dune scrub and there is the possibility of poison oak and ticks in the natural dune areas (we will watch for and point these out so they can be avoided).

For more information call Lauren Brown at 460-6329 or 570-7993. Heavy rain cancels this trip (light rain, bring appropriate clothing).

Directions from the north: Take Hwy 101 south from San Luis Obispo. Turn right (west) at the new Willow Road off ramp (Exit 180). Proceed west on Willow Road for about 4.3 miles, to Highway 1. Turn left (south) on Highway 1 and proceed for 2.7 miles, to Oso Flaco Lake Road. Turn right (west) on Oso Flaco Lake Road. Proceed west on Oso Flaco Lake Road for 2.5 miles to Beigle Road. Look for a 6’ tall wire mesh fence and galvanized steel gate.

Directions from the south: Take 101 north to Santa Maria and take the Main Street exit toward the town of Guadalupe. Turn right onto Highway 1 and head north to Oso Flaco Lake Road (about 3 miles north of Guadalupe), turn left onto Oso Flaco Lake Road and proceed 2.5 miles to Beigle Road (on left).

Parking: We will have people posted at the entrance of the USFWS fenced road to direct parking. The gate will be open around 8:30. Please do not park on Oso Flaco Lake Road near the gate as there is not much room and it could be hazardous. There should be plenty of room to park along the USFWS access road. The Oso Flaco Lake State Park lot is another ¾ miles west of Beigle Road, if you need to use a restroom before the hike (there are none along the hike route). Note: Pets, tobacco products, or alcohol are not allowed on the Refuge, including the parking area. Pets may not be left in cars in the parking areas.

coreopsis giganteaAbout the Dunes

The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes-Point Sal Coastal Area contains the largest, relatively undisturbed coastal dune tract in California and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974. Five major plant communities are represented including pioneer/foredunes; coastal dune scrub; riparian woodland; coastal dune freshwater marshes, ponds, and swales; and active interior dunes. The flora includes many endemic plant species and the dunes habitats support numerous rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals.

La Purisima Burton Mesa Wildflower Walk

CNPS and Sierra Club Spring La Purisima Burton Mesa Wildflower Walk

Sunday, 12 April 2015 9AM

Meet at the La Purisima Mission Parking Lot, corner of Purisima and Mission Gate Rds. (2295 Purisima Rd. Lompoc) at 9 AM for this annual California Native Plant Society and Sierra Club spring tour of the beauties of the Burton Mesa Chaparral.

This is turning out to be a fair year for wildflowers, annuals as well as shrubs; Optional afternoon tour. Sturdy shoes, lunch & liquids, camera and binoculars advised.

For more information, call Charlie at 733-3189 or Connie at 735-2292

Pine Mountain – Stadium Park

Saturday 18TH April 2015, 9 am, Pine Mountain / Stadium Park, Atascadero

This field trip will be an easy to moderate three mile hike with a 500 foot elevation climb on Pine Mountain in Atascadero. This is an excellent area to learn common trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in oak woodland and chaparral habitats. The walk leader will explain how to note different features on trees and shrubs to aid in identification such as leaves, bark, fruit, buds, tree shape and habitat.  Blooming wildflowers will also be identified. Participants will be given a list of over 25 common trees, shrubs and wildflowers with key identifying features.

Meet at the Stadium Park trailhead at the corner of Capistrano Avenue and Hospital Drive, below the Hwy 41 bridge. Be sure to bring water, snacks, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and layered clothing for warmth, if needed.

For more information call David Ledger at (530) 355-8542 (walk leader) or Bill Waycott at (805) 459-2103,

Rain cancels.



Please note the change to the location for the upcoming field trip to Tejon Ranch

We will meet at the Tejon Ranch Conservancy office located at the Lebec exit off of Interstate-5 (Exit 207) in Lebec, CA at 9 am

View the Field Trip post for a map, information on carpooling, and reservations.

Conservation – March 2015

Fast-tracked Solar and Wind Projects

CNPS continues to testify to the SLO County Planning Commission regarding plans to change local zoning to allow solar and wind projects to be “fast-tracked.”
This, in effect, removes any biological reports for projects from review by CNPS as comments on a Draft EIR, as these documents will no longer exist. Projects
as large as 160 acres will instead be granted ministerial approval by the Planning Department. The County claims that projects will be subject to a presence/absence
criteria of the plants considered under the CEQA process, where presence kicks the project out of fast track, and an additional filter which will only include
“disturbed” lands under fast track. Our problem is that we have been able to catch major errors such as plant surveys being conducted in hard drought only after
having access to the CEQA documents. As a 20 acre solar panel array would cost 2.5 million dollars, these are not “ma-and-pa” investments and projects and the
small amount of time required to give peer review is not going to speed things up (they have to do the biological survey anyway). There are significant issues
concerning inclusion of suitable but currently unoccupied habitat, concerning the definition of “disturbed”, considering conflicts between “fast” and surveys made
in drought, and also that projects under 3 acres can already be fast tracked under existing legislation. If this goes before the Board of Supervisors we hope we will
get some protests from CNPS members.

Three Bridges Project

On a lighter note, CNPS’ Lauren Brown and Bill Waycott testified before the Atascadero City Council in support of Atascadero Land Preservation Society’s Three Bridges Project, which will allow a staging area for a series of trails that will climb the east face of the Santa Lucia Mountains, and perhaps eventually connect
with the Los Padres National Forest. The project was given a universal approval. CNPS will help ALPS with educational information such as trail guides to the

– David Chipping

Tell us your priorities!

From Bill Waycott:

Your thoughts about our local chapter and its priorities for the coming year are important to me. During the February meeting, I presented some ideas attempting to illustrate where we have been up till now and where we might like to go in the future. The list was long.

Major areas where we are engaged right now are:

  • Monthly meetings and banquet
  • Website and Facebook
  • Newsletter and e-mail notifications
  • Bookstore and CNPS apparel
  • Plant ID workshops
  • Field trips
  • Plant sale
  • Work at the Hoover Herbarium
  • SOD blitz
  • Rare Plant Treasure Hunts
  • Los Osos Middle School
  • Boothing at regional events
  • Conservation reviews
  • Educational grants, awards, and scholarships

And, areas we might want to expand into:

  • Fire-safe gardening with natives
  • Presentations at area schools and libraries
  • Public native gardens
  • Training to identify rare plants, invasive plants, medicinal and edible plants
  • Plant conservation plans for regional governments
  • Plant lists for popular trails and local parks
  • Nursery Best Practices workshops
  • Interpretative signage in area parks
  • Milkweed project
  • Photo contests


Please take the survey by 4th of March to ensure your votes are counted.

Take Survey!

If you would rather, please send your three priorities to my e–mail at and we will make sure your votes are counted. The results of this survey will be presented at the March meeting in Atascadero. Thanks a lot!