Catalina Island News

Haypress Picnic Area Re-opens

Catalina Island Conservancy

The popular Haypress Picnic Area - restored, fresh and green - re-opened to the public December 13 following restoration efforts by the Avalon Lion's Club, Boy Scout Troop #400, and the Conservancy that began in October and will continue throughout December.

"Instead of a forest of burnt trees that pose a danger to visitors, you will now find a new, living pine forest," said Mark Hoefs, retired Director of the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden and now project manager of the Haypress Restoration Project.

"About 135 dead trees and their roots have been removed and hauled away," Hoefs said. "The remaining 25 healthy pine trees not destroyed in the fire have been supplemented with about 70 Torrey pines that are native to a small portion of coastal San Diego County and on Santa Rosa Island in the California Channel Islands," he added. 

Presently, the young, healthy Torrey pines are between 12- and 15-feet tall.

"It will take the trees five to seven years to attain some significant growth," Hoefs said. "The trees will provide shade in 12 to 15 years, and will eventually grow to 50- to 75-feet tall."
In addition to planting the Torrey pines, restoration crews replaced burnt-out barbecues and benches with new ones. Hoefs said that some benches and barbeques were placed in closer proximity to the playground so that parents would have a better view of their children at play.

"I would especially like to thank the many members of the Avalon Lions Club and Boy Scout Troop #400 for spending a good part of their weekend helping us with these finishing touches," Hoefs said. "Of course, Lenny Altherr (Conservancy's Director of Facilities) and his crew have been out here since day one."

Crews are continuing to plant approximately 55 Catalina cherry trees just below the Summit Vista Native Plant Garden along Stagecoach Road. Following the installation of that grove, the crew will plant about 30 Island oaks across the street from Haypress, near the entrance to the Laura Stein Volunteer Camp. The last grove that will go in will be along Stagecoach Road approaching Haypress from the east, and will be an endemic Catalina ironwood grove of about 90 trees.
The close proximity of these Island endemics to Stagecoach Road is designed to give residents and visitors a good look at the beautiful Catalina ironwood trees, that are found on Catalina and no where else in the world, and the Catalina cherry and Island oak that are native to the California Channel Islands.

The Conservancy is offering an opportunity for individuals to sponsor trees in one or all of the groves as a holiday gift or in memory of family members or loved ones. Sponsorships are $500 per tree. Sponsors will receive a handsome certificate suitable for framing.

To become a sponsor, please call Chuck Wright, Director of Development, at (562) 437-8555 ext. 225.

- By Bob Rhein