Caspers Wilderness Park Project
Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park is one of over twenty parks managed by Orange County Parks in Southern California. Located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains only a few miles inland from the Pacific Coast on CA Highway 74, known to locals as Ortega Highway, Caspers Wilderness Park is composed of 8,000 acres of natural wilderness preserve. Vast areas of coastal scrub, chaparral, grasslands, and Coastal Oak and Sycamore enhanced riparian corridors all add to the diversity of herp habitats in the park. Caspers Park is also home to many local species of birds and mammals, the most notorious of which is the Mountain Lion. These big cats are occasionally seen in the park itself and in the surrounding hills and mountains.
With the permission of Supervising Park Ranger Vicky Velasquez, NAFHA members Noah Anderson, Dick Dunn, Rich Rang, Kent VanSooy and Steve Bledsoe began a herp survey of the park in October 2011. In addition to conducting the survey, our NAFHA members have volunteered to conduct Herp Talk & Walks for park visitors. The program will entail a series of scheduled herp oriented lectures followed by a walk of AC boardlines that have been set up in the park. The "boardwalks" will hopefully allow interested park visitors to see native snakes and lizards and other secretive species that they would normally not have an opportunity to observe in the wild.
Native reptiles and amphibians initially recorded in the park by our voulnteers while exploring potential study sites within the park includes the Baja California Treefrog Pseudacris hypochondriaca, the Orange-Throated Whiptail Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingii, the Coast Horned Lizard Phrynosoma blainvillii, the Great Basin Fence Lizard Sceloporus o. longipes, the Common Side-blotched Lizard Uta s. elegans and the Two-striped Gartersnake Thamnophis hammondii. Three of these species are currently on the State of California Species of Special Concern List.
This post will be updated with survey results as time progresses. For more information regarding Caspers Wilderness Park and other OC Parks, please visit the OC Parks website at this link: http://www.ocparks.com/