Friday, November 6, 2009

Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Mesa Tour

If you are looking for a way to get out of the house this weekend and stretch your legs, take a scenic drive on Pacific Coast Highway to Huntington Beach and take a free walking tour of the beautiful Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Stepping outside and experiencing the beauty and wildlife that resides in your local area serves as a great reminder that conservation starts at your front door, and that areas such as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands are just one of the many areas that are effected by pollution, as are the many species of bird life that can be seen there.

Per the website:
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is one of California's most significant coastal wetlands. This 300 acre sanctuary is a popular attraction for tourists and local residents. Other nearby wetlands include Newport Beach's Upper Newport Bay State Ecological Reserve and Ballona Wetlands near Playa del Rey. Visitors to Huntington Beach often look for a family-oriented outing that both educates and entertains the youngsters and adults.

Bolsa Chica Wetlands or Ecological Reserve features a 1.5 mile trail loop around a water inlet. Believed to be a popular hunting ground to native American tribes at one time, in the early 1900's it was transformed into the Bolsa Hunting Club, a prestigious duck and fowl hunting club with steep membership fees. A Los Angeles Red Car train system included a stop here. In World War II, a portion of the wetlands was used by troops to watch for enemy attacks. The facility is now a protected wetlands. The public can park for free in a paved lot and walk along trails, watching and learning about birds. Dogs, horses, pets and bicycle riding are prohibited.

The best place to observe wildlife is from the footbridge and trail adjacent to Pacific Coast Highway. Several volunteer groups offer free tours leaving the parking lot at this location.


The Amigos de Bolsa Chica tour is on the first Saturday of each month from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The Bolsa Chica Land Trust tour is on the third Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. to Noon. Meeting planners can arrange for private group tours by calling the numbers listed in the paragraph below.

Both tours follow a loop trail through the wetlands and are hosted by trained guides who discuss identification of birds, ecology and history of the wetlands. No reservations are required. Open to foot traffic. Trail parking is accessible from the northbound lane of Pacific Coast Highway one mile south of Warner (across from the Bolsa Chica State Beach entrance). For more information contact the Amigos de Bolsa Chica at 714-840-1575.

The Bolsa Chica Land Trust can be reached at 714-860-1001.For more information on the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, please visit:, or

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