Boggs Ridge Nature Trail: The Little Park Behind Cobb Elementary – By Kathleen Scavone

A weekend walk in the woods along the Boggs Ridge Nature Trail is always a treat. Not to be confused with the nearby, but much larger Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest, this little park is situated behind Cobb Elementary School in a quiet woodland of around 50 acres. It is located within the Putah and Cache Creek Watersheds, and is a living outdoor classroom to the fortunate school children up here. Pine perfumes the air creating a sort of live incense, while underfoot a cushion of pine needles absorbs sound to render this walk hushed and cathedral-like in its ambiance. Descriptive interpretive panels dot the well-maintained paths and talk of the plants, people and geology within the watershed in which the park sits. The miracle of the watershed, a hydrologic system, eventually finds its way to the Pacific Ocean. Here’s what the park’s interpretive panel states:

” Water from the north side of Cobb and hwy. 175 drains into Kelsey Creek which in turn drains into Clear Lake… Clear Lake’s only outlet is Cache Creek at the southern end of the Lake, which borders Anderson Marsh State Historic Park. From there, Cache Creek winds its way south passing through Cache Creek Dam and then entering the Capay Valley. As the Creek leaves Capay Valley it enters the northern Central Valley. The Creek becomes smaller and smaller as farms along its banks remove water for irrigation of crops. The Creek eventually enters a settling basin east of Woodland with excess water flowing through a flood control canal into the Sacramento River.  Water from the south side of Cobb and Hwy. 175 drains into Putah Creek which flows into Lake Berryessa. That water  is used by local cities with some of the excess water continuing to flow down Putah Creek below the Lake and eventually enters the Sacramento River. The Sacramento River drains into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which in turn drains into the San Pablo Bay. The same water that falls as rain where you are standing turns into runoff and travels hundreds of miles through creeks, lakes, and bays and then enters the San Francisco Bay and its final destination the Pacific Ocean.”

The plants that thrive here in this conifer ecosystem consist of white fir,  Douglas fir, California fescue, California bay laurel, coffeeberry, sugar pine, Pacific madrone, mountain dogwood,  canyon live oak, California black oak and many more. The animals that call Boggs Ridge Nature Trail home include dusky-footed wood rat, gray fox, black bear, striped skunk, mountain lion, western gray squirrel, Sonoma chipmunk, black-tailed jackrabbit, black-tailed deer, raccoon along with a host of other forest-dwellers.

Like reading the past, here at Boggs you will be amazed at the interesting geology, such as the remarkable Boggs Mountain andesite boulders. Andesite, an igneous volcanic rock began in a scorching fluid state. Since Boggs Mountain State Forest sits upon a lava cap that is around a mile wide, by 3 1/2 miles long, andesite is exposed throughout many areas of the forest. These flows are understood by geologists as having originated from a Clear Lake volcanic lava flow, and are one to two-million years old!

From the Friends of Boggs Mountain website I learned a bit of prehistory about this area. The lands up here were once home to the Eastern  and Southeastern Pomo, Clear Lake Wappo, Lake Miwok and Patwin Indian groups. It has been determined, archaeologically that some groups lived in the area for thousands of years where they hunted and thrived. Temporary Indian camps found in the vicinity explain this via lithic workshops and arrowhead chipping stations. 

Boggs Mountain garnered its name from Henry Boggs, a  Missouri resident who first set foot in Lake County in 1864, arriving over a decade after John Cobb. Boggs wore many hats and controlled ventures such as a gristmill, a steam-powered sawmill and  a wood planer along the eastern portion of Boggs  Mountain Demonstration State Forest. Boggs bought and  logged much of the area by 1884. Then later, Boggs was clear-cut by subsequent owners all of the way up to the year 1949. Next, the California Division of Forestry, now called CAL FIRE acquired 3,433 acres to complete their demonstration forest.

A certain vivid aliveness envelops anyone who walks these woods today.  The season has allowed for forests and lakes to thrum and thrive with migrating birds and waterways that dash and flow. We have but to step out the door to view the wild spaces  as they glisten with new growth.

Kathleen Scavone

Kathleen Scavone, MA., is a retired educator who has resided in beautiful Lake County for over 45 years. She freelances fiction, poetry, nature writing, curriculum ideas, and local history. She writes for The Press Democrat, Napa Valley Register, News From Native California, Green Prints, etc. She has published three books, a play and a poetry chapbook. The second edition of her locally set historical novella, People of the Water- a novella of the events leading to the Bloody Island Massacre of 1850 is available in local museums and stores, as well as on Amazon.com and IngramSpark in both paperback and e-book formats. She has written Anderson Marsh State Historic Park- A Walking History, Prehistory, Flora and Fauna tour of a California State Park, and Native Americans of Lake County. Kathleen is a photographer and potter. Her other interests include hiking, assisting on archaeology digs, travel, gardening and reading.

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