It was a group effort on a recent Saturday where students and volunteers installed a signage post on Rabbit Hill and trimmed shrubbery along the trails and table there
Anyone who has been to the top of Rabbit Hill in Middletown knows that the small peak, almost in the middle of town, offers views of surrounding mountains that are breathtaking. It has long been a dream of the Lake County Land Trust (LCLT) and local citizens to place directional signs at the summit of Rabbit Hill to point out each significant peak in the panoramic 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains, including St. Helena, Cobb, and Harbin.
On a recent Saturday morning, the signage project was started with the help of Hidden Valley Lake resident Jean Goulart, who has become a volunteer for the LCLT and will be overseeing the Rabbit Hill Park. Jean is a UC CA Naturalist and Climate Steward and a new member of the LCLT Stewardship Committee. Jean gathered students from Middletown High School (MHS) to work on the sign project as part of their community service. Meeting Jean were Cade Dubose, Jose Montanez and Evan Johnson.
Lake County Land Trust volunteers, including Middletown’s Gail Wright, Stewardship Committee member, Bob Schoenherr, and LCLT board member, Val Nixon joined in the effort. Many thanks to Hardester’s Market in Middletown for donating the use of an auger to dig the hole for the post where the directional signs will be mounted. Hardester’s also donated spray paint to paint the concrete picnic table at the top of the hill.
After the pole was placed in cement, the MHS students pruned overgrowth along the path and near the cement picnic table. They removed steel post fencing and did general cleanup of the area. Painting the concrete table was postponed because of the wind.
The small 9-acre park was originally donated to the Madrone Audubon Society in Sonoma County by the late Skee and Huck Hamann. The beloved couple lived atop the little hill and hosted many education programs for local school children. Over 20 years ago Madrone Audubon transferred ownership to the Lake County Land Trust. Since that time the Land Trust has worked with the local Middletown Art Center (MAC) and Middletown residents to improve and care for the park. There are now comfortable benches, a picnic table, and art installations. Soon the public will be able to enjoy informative signs.
The Park is open to the public and is used by many local residents for exercising and dog walking. Besides its stunning views, it features native serpentine vegetation that includes wildflowers, Forbes, and native grasses.
The Lake County Land Trust, founded in 1994, is a charitable non-profit dedicated to protecting natural habitats, wetlands, and valuable open space in Lake County; go to www.lakecountylandtrust.org.