Parkway Trust hikes explore San Joaquin
Winter is a great time to hike with the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust.
Two nature walks are scheduled this weekend: a special tour of Ball Ranch (7:30 a.m. Saturday) and the regular Historic River Hike (10 a.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Ball Ranch in winter features a variety of nesting birds and budding plants, so bring binoculars, snacks and water, and wear appropriate clothing and shoes. The entrance is off Friant Road, about a mile north of Willow Avenue. (Look to your left after crossing a dry creek bed). The hike is scheduled for four hours. There are no fees, but donations are appreciated.
The Historic River Hike, which visits Owl Hollow, represents the first public access to the San Joaquin from the Hallowell River Center (11605 Old Friant Rd, Fresno). The two-hour hike lasts three hours. Fees are $10.
Register for either hike at riverparkway.org or call (559)-248-8480 for details.
Nordic Holiday Race
For 41 years, Badger Pass has celebrated cross-country skiing along Glacier Point Road. The 18-kilometer "classic" race starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by a telemark race at 1 p.m. Sunday and is highlighted by the 38K "freestyle" race to Glacier Point and back at 9 a.m.
Registration is $40 ($30 for juniors under 18) and for all three races, a half-day lift ticket and evening awards party. Details: yosemitepark.com/nordic-holiday-race.aspx.
News & notes
-- Shaver Lake fishing guides Jack Yandell, Dick Nichols and Lee Gates will discuss tips and techniques for trout and kokanee at 6 p.m. today at Herb Bauer Sporting Goods in Fresno. Shaver Lake's 2-year-old trophy trout program also will be a big topic. The event is free and includes free raffle prizes.
-- Snow removal on Yosemite's Tioga and Glacier Point roads could be delayed as much as four weeks due to reduced staffing from impending federal budget cuts, according to National Park Service information acquired by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees. The March 1 cuts would impact more than 1 million visitors at 12 national parks.
-- Dan Mazur, a renowned mountaineer who has climbed Mount Everest four times and also reached the summits of K2, Lhotse and Denali, will make a special appearance March 6 at the Fox Theatre in Visalia. Tickets are $10 with proceeds benefiting the Mount Everest Foundation and the Visalia Educational Foundation. Buy tickets at foxvisalia.com.
-- Let's hope the four all-terrain vehicle riders (two adults and two juveniles) who had to be rescued last weekend from the mountains near North Fork were honestly lost and not intentionally riding off trail, which isn't only illegal but also gives responsible ATV users a black eye.