26 September 2015

Carbon Canyon Regional Park's 40th Anniversary Bash

Booths at the Carbon Canyon Regional Park's 40th Anniversary event today.
Today was a very nice event at the redwood grove deep in a corner of one of our area's great treasures, Carbon Canyon Regional Park, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Set in a clearing among nearly 250 redwood trees planted on space leased to the county from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which built the adjacent Carbon Canyon Dam, the confab featured such organizations as the state Department of Fish and Game, California State Parks and the Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association, the Olinda Oil Museum, and others.

More displays at today's bash.
Live animal shows were given, there was face painting, and a really creative balloon maker, and hot dogs, hamburgers and chips were served to all guests.

Orange County Historical Commission member Pamela Harrell and former Olinda resident Jack Smith spoke about the Olinda Museum and the oil community in which Smith lived.  In fact, his family in 1943 bought a home built by the Armstrong family, for whom a grove of trees at the northeast corner of the park was named.

The folks at the Olinda Oil Museum, including former Olinda resident Jack Smith and Orange County Historical Commission member Pamela Harrell, at their booth, with two of their displays at the left.

Situated at the corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Traverse Street, which went a short distance to the south in what is now the park grounds, the home was where Smith lived while he was the last student to graduate from the Olinda School and up until he finished high school.  He is a walking memory book of an oil town that has long been dismantled.

The live animal demonstration was really interesting and kept kids and adults engrossed while the presenters talked about a variety of snakes and reptiles.

A presentation  of snakes and reptiles drew the attention of many attendees at today's festivities.
This blogger also gave a 15-minute presentation about Carbon Canyon history, giving a highlight reel of sorts about everything from the formation of the canyon by receding glaciers to the founding of Olinda Ranch by William H. Bailey, to the establishment of La Vida Mineral Springs, to the gradual addition of housing developments and on up to current issues.

A table provided by Orange County Parks featured collected items (all of which have been included in this blog over the last seven years), such as some two dozen postcards of La Vida and other canyon sights, mineral water soda bottles from the La Vida Bottling Company, maps of the Olinda oil field and a AAA "strip map" of a drive through Carbon Canyon; and more.

This blogger's display of historic real photo postcards, La Vida mineral water bottles, maps of Olinda and Carbon Canyon Road, and other items were available for visitors to enjoy.
Even though housing developments have surrounded much of the redwood grove, the walk out from the main portion of the park and time spent strolling through the grove still give a feel of being "away from it all."

One of the two recently-installed display boards noted that a local bank, back in 1970, was giving away redwood seedlings to new customers, which has to be one of the strangest promotions imaginable, in light of the usual calendar, pen-and-pencil set, paperweight, and so on that were handed out.

Other than their smaller size and lighter color, these trees look like they could be from the northwestern reaches of California, where redwoods are natives.
The leftover seedlings were donated to the county, which planted them at the park site.  A total of 241 trees survived and, though they don't get as tall or as green as those in the native northern California groves, they've done pretty well in our arid environment, with the tallest tree topping out at 92 feet.

The park has many amenities, included a goodly number of tennis courts, lots of shelters for family picnics (there were at least two family reunions going on today), excellent playgrounds, and a nice lake.

Completed just within the last three weeks, this path fence provides for a nice addition to the beautiful redwood grove at the southeast corner of the park.
But, the redwood grove, hidden away as it is, has to be the park's most interesting and surprising feature.  It's been years since the last visit there and more regular jaunts out there are definitely in the offing.

Thanks to park superintendent Maureen Beckman and all the rangers, volunteers and others who put on this event.  It was a lot of fun and who knows who'll be around for the 50th anniversary?

The approach to and from the grove includes a crossing at what is called "Coyote Pass" through the now-parched bed of Carbon [Canyon] Creek.  The view here is back towards Carbon Canyon.

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