What does the Sacramento area have that no place else has? The Kings! The Sirens! The Monarchs! The Delta and its attendant breezes! The Crest Theatre! The American River Parkway! Merlino’s freezes and Gunther’s Quality Ice Cream! And let’s not forget the Pine Hill ceanothus!
This low-growing shrub, which produces clusters of tiny white flowers that resemble jumbo marshmallows from a distance, is one of three species of plants found only in western El Dorado County’s Pine Hill Preserve. The preserve covers nearly 4,000 acres, from Salmon Falls in the north to Cameron Park in the south, and contains an incredibly diverse plant population. Ten percent of all the plant species in California can be found at Pine Hill, including five plants on the federal endangered-species list. Though most of the area’s flora is rapidly disappearing under housing developments, the Bureau of Land Management has vowed to maintain Pine Hill Preserve for public appreciation and biological study.
The public is encouraged to visit the preserve on one of six guided tours scheduled this spring. The wildflowers are blooming, and trained volunteers are eager to show them to you. The tours begin on Saturdays at 9 a.m., from April 17 through May 22. Space is limited, so reservations are required. For more information or a reservation, call (916) 985-4474 or drop by the Bureau of Land Management Folsom Field Office, located at 63 Natoma Street in Folsom. The Pine Hill ceanothus is awaiting a visit from another of the Sacramento area’s unique residents: you!