Group Hikes Across Catalina In Memory of BZ Jones
Catalina Island Conservancy
Sixty-eight intrepid hikers, most of them members of the Catalina Island Conservancy’s Marineros support group, crossed the Island at its widest point on the 12.5-mile BZ Jones Cross Catalina Hike on Saturday, March 16.
“We had such a wonderful time on this hike,” said Ann Muscat, president and CEO of the Conservancy about her and her husband Jack Baldelli’s participation. “It offered an extraordinary opportunity to talk with friends, relax and commune with nature while we had an exhilarating workout.”
Organized by Marineros President Brad Avery of the Newport Beach Yacht Club, the route took the hikers from Ben Weston Beach on the Island’s Windward shore to White’s Landing on the San Pedro Channel.
"We had a really fun group of hikers this year, with many returning for another trek up to Black Jack and down to White's Cove,” said Avery. “The weather was perfect, and our pace was faster than last year, but there was still lots of good conversation on the trail. Everyone enjoyed a great spring day on Catalina."
The late Graham “BZ” Jones was a sailor, adventurer and ardent supporter of the Catalina Island Conservancy. The extended Jones family, including BZ’s brother, Nelson Jones, and sister-in-law, Mimi Jones, joined in the March 16 adventure by taking Jeep Eco Tours with Conservancy-trained naturalists, and enjoying the breathtaking views as Catalina’s spring green chased winter away. All proceeds from the hike benefitted the rehabilitation and relocation of the historic Eagle’s Nest Lodge to a new site in Middle Ranch. The former stagecoach stop and hunting lodge, built in 1896, will be moved 1.7 miles to the east along Middle Ranch Road, where it will become an educational and interpretive center.
BZ Jones was an enthusiastic participant in Conservancy’s activities in the 1970s. He and his wife, Rosemary, spent countless hours with the Conservancy’s second president, Doug Probst, exploring the Island in a four-wheel drive vehicle.
“BZ was such an adventurer and he gave so much back to the Conservancy,” Muscat said. “I thank the Marineros for sponsoring this hike in his honor and we’re looking forward to next year.”
BZ Jones was also a Founding Member of the Marineros, the first Conservancy support group. He and other boaters started volunteering at the Ackerman Native Plant Nursery two days a month for nine months out of the year.
The tired hikers at White’s Landing were invigorated by a ride back to Avalon aboard the William B, a restored tugboat owned by Gary and Sandi Hill, members of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Avery’s instrumental work in reviving BZ’s memory with the hike is only one of the Marineros’ activities. Next Year’s BZ Jones Cross Catalina Hike will follow a new exciting trail route to explore Catalina – in the best tradition of BZ Jones.
By Bob Rhein