Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve seeks volunteers for planned reopening of more trails and vernal pool

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The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve remains closed except for one trail but is slowly, but surely, recovering from the Sept. 4, 2019, Tenaja Fire and the COVID-19 closures.

Except for the Sylvan Meadows MultiUse Area, the reserve has remained closed to the public since the fire to protect sensitive habitat areas damaged and cultural resources exposed by the lighting caused blaze.

However, plans are now underway to partially reopen the Hidden Valley and Vernal Pool trailheads, located on Tenaja Road and Via Volcano Road, Friday, Saturday and Sundays in the fall, according to the Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District officials.

With the possible reopening of the pool and trailheads, the parks department is launching a robust recruitment effort to recruit over 100 adults, ages 21-64, to serve as trailhead, gatekeepers and trail protection volunteers.

The Sylvan Meadows trailhead will remain open daily Monday through Sundays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. This new volunteer crew will be instrumental in the successful partial reopening of the trailheads and ultimately help the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation with the full reserve opening in the future. In addition to the support needed for the partial reopening, volunteers will be on the list for other future volunteer opportunities at the reserve.

Assignments will consist of three-hour shifts between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Applicants should be aware that certain assignments may require a 2.5-mile round-trip hike into designated volunteer posts. All volunteers will be required to complete a RivCoParks’ application and background check that requires fingerprinting, participate in volunteer training, adhere to COVID related social distancing and face mask mandates and sign a liability waiver. To receive a volunteer application, send an email with subject line SRP volunteer to programs@santarosaplateau.org by Sept. 30. Visit http://www.rivcoparks.org for additional information about County parks and the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.