How do wetlands protect land and water?

Juniper Flats has seeps, springs and riparian wetlands. This article explains some of why protecting them is important.

Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!

Originally, wetlands were thought of as wasted land that could be drained for agriculture, building housing developments and other structures. Even the word “swamp” implies that they are areas with little meaning. The truth is, wetlands are a crucial part of the earth’s ecosystem, one that we cannot do without!

water lily pads in a wetland Water lilies, cattails and other plant life thrives in wetlands, and become an important part of the ecosystem. Lilies provide homes for insects, and calm waves; cattail roots are used as food for muskrats. Credit: SV Fisk

In the late 1980s, wetlands were recognized for the services they provide to our environment. Wetlands provide flood control, improve water quality, and are a vital habitat for wildlife. They are a huge part of the “Earth’s Kidney’s” – to read more on that, click here.

What exactly qualifies as a wetland? Wetlands are transitional areas between land and water ecosystems. The…

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Are wetlands really the “Earth’s kidneys”?

Juniper Flats has some wetlands that although small are high quality. This article explains part of why protecting them is in everyone’s long term interest.

Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!

Yes they are!

Healthy kidneys filter wastes and water from your body 24 hours a day. They never take a break. Soil works the same way for the earth – at least when it’s healthy.

Water from rain and snowmelt moves through the soil. When there is a heavy rainfall that water runs across the soil surface and downstream. Gentle rains soak into the soil where it is available for plant roots to take it up. But in most climates, some of that water eventually flows through the soil to the groundwater or to a stream.

stream in foreground, mountain with snow in background Streams, like this one in the Rockies, accept snowmelt year-round. Credit: SV Fisk

As the water moves over or through the soil, it can pick up particles or chemicals present in the soil. For example, excess fertilizers from lawns or farms might be picked up. Bare soils are a big source of soil…

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Arrastre Falls Trail Head

Friends of Juniper Flats

Arrastre Falls Trail provides an easy hike to a permanent riparian area overlooking the Victor Valley of San Bernardino County in Southern California.  Although the falls may be dry during the summers of drought years, the area still supports cool, lush vegetation.  I enjoy visiting the falls after a long day at work or when I only have a few hours to visit a natural area on an otherwise busy day.

Arrastre Falls View from Top of Arrastre Falls looking North Towards Victor Valley

There are two trail heads for the falls.  Both provide a short and easy hike to Arrastre Falls.  When time and energy permit, there is also a more strenuous path up the ravine behind the falls.  Climb to the top of the rocks over the falls for a fantastic view over the Mojave Desert.

Bear Valley Road and Central Rd

bear-valley-rd-and-central

These directions start from the intersection of Bear Valley…

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2017 Year in Review

In 2017 the Friends of Juniper Flats continued to work through many challenges including restoration of closed routes, installing open route signs, and mapping proposed hiking trails. With support from our members, we were able to increase awareness of the area and its resources.  Friends of Juniper Flats worked with the Bureau of Land Management … Continue reading 2017 Year in Review

Why should I stay on the trail while using motorized vehicles in parks?

The concepts presented in this article apply to desert scrub even more than forested areas. A heartfelt thanks to the Soil Science Society of America for putting this together.

Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!


Riding ATV’s and motorcycles around the forest can be incredibly fun and exhilarating. But in order to make sure those trails stay open, it’s vitally important to limit erosion in the areas you enjoy. Going off trail risks your safety, as well as the safety of the plant life and soil itself.

blue all terrain vehicle ATVs can provide a lot of fun, but they can be destructive when used off trail. Source: Morguefile

And though it might not seem related, did you know that just over half of the nation’s water supply originates in forestland?1 Snowfall melts, and rain sinks through the soil. That precipitation in forests is what eventually supplies our cities and private wells.2 Water for our homes and businesses, including agriculture, relies on healthy forest soils.

Forest stream Forests account for over half the U.S. water supply – but the soils can’t work to absorb and move water if overuse…

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Wildflowers at Bonita Vista Trailhead

A 2 mile hike on March 15, 2017 from the Bonita Vista Trailhead produced a list of over 28 wildflowers in bloom! A list has been put in the information box. There were carpets of gilia and coreopsis on the hillsides. It was exciting to see an owl back in the area.  The Bonita Vista trailhead is accessible from … Continue reading Wildflowers at Bonita Vista Trailhead