Indian rocks of Black Star Canyon

By Michele Manville

Driving home, admiring the rolling green hills entering Silverado, I caught a glimpse of movement at the sandstone cave near the road. Some folks, dangerously close to the oncoming cars, were climbing around and inside of the cave. At first, I thought the man and the four boys were just exploring, until I noticed the telltale hand motions indicating a more malicious endeavor. I turned back, and asked the man if he knew he was allowing his charges to vandalize a natural formation. After some argumentative banter, while the kids continued to carve their initials, he packed them up and drove off in his silver Mercedes, leaving me to ponder the audacity of their behavior. From pioneers to modern movie stars and tourists, people seem driven to carve their names into stone, trees and even monuments. Why? Perhaps they liken it to signing a visitor’s book, leaving their name for posterity to marvel at their accomplishment of reaching a remote site, making whatever mark they can in their short time on earth. Whatever the reason, it is becoming increasingly prevalent in the canyons.

Making your mark

Canyonites have been busily working to weave their mark into the fabric of the earth by beautifying their yards, planting flowers, and displaying yard art in celebration of the early spring-like weather. Conversely, many visitors to the canyons are bringing along  their  own  beautification ideas via spray cans, markers and doggie bags. As Black Star Canyon enjoys a rare spectacle of lush green foliage and early-blooming  flowers, its trails are lined with a rainbow of multicolored doggie waste bags, cigarette butts, snack wrappers and tagging displays. This past weekend, new signage, indicating the distances to “Beek’s Place,” OC Parks and Black Star Falls, appeared. Weekend hikers included serious trail-blazers and inexperienced and inadequately clothed youngsters sans water, but carrying sixpacks of beer. Prior to the signage, these sorts of “hikers” would ask, “How far to the falls?” Whereup-on, they would be warned of the perils and often turn back. While the hike to the currently dry Black Star Falls is just over four miles, it is intense, and includes negotiating patches of poison oak while scaling large boulders hosting rattlesnakes out of hibernation early.

Bites worse than bark

If you’d like to avoid those toxic and costly rattlesnake marks on your dogs, get them trained in rattlesnake avoidance at this spring’s SMRPD K-9 Rattlesnake Aversion Training Classes. Professional trainers from Natural Solutions will offer two classes at Silverado Community Center on Saturday, March 19, and Sunday, April 10. It is recommended that dogs take at least two classes and a review course, if they haven’t been trained in a while. The cost is $75 per dog, and $15 will be donated back to SMRPD.  Call Chay Peterson to make an appointment at (951) 532-9169, or email The ICL would like to put its stamp of approval on your major home projects.The Inter-Canyon League, in its effort to uphold the Sil-Mod Specific  Plan,  is  working  with the county to form an official Project Review Board for the Sil-Mod area. These types of boards, which have no formal power over project approval, have been created in other specific plan areas. They submit their review and conclusions of project plans, which can then be considered as part of the permitting process. Though the ICL is working to create such a board, board members are appointed by county supervisors and not the ICL, according to Steve Duff, ICL vice president. Steve Carter needs your help to fix the “Old Shadybrook Store,” after someone complained about it being a potential fire hazard. Please go to Go Fund Me, and search under the same name.

Easter Extravaganzas

Plans for canyon celebrations are in the works. Volunteer firefighters are hosting  pancake breakfasts in both canyons. The Modjeska Easter Pancake Breakfast will be held Easter morning, March 27, from 7-11 a.m. at the fire station. Volunteers are needed for set up on Saturday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. Just drop by Station 16. Serving help is also needed for Sunday; contact Paula La Bar at (714) 649-0664 or to sign up. Flower donations and help are needed for arrangements; contact Sheri McNeil, (714) 649-0566 or Karen Buller will be organizing egg-dyeing the morning of the 26th. The Silverado Easter Breakfast will be held on the 27th, from 7 a.m.-noon at the Silverado Community Center. There will be a pancake breakfast, live music by the Canyon Creek Ramblers, raffles and a children’s Easter egg hunt. The price is $6 for adults, and $4 for children. To volunteer at the breakfast, contact Station 14, (714) 649-2211. Contact SMRPD Director Chay Peterson about the egg hunts (714) 649-2820, and Mary Schreiber about the prize drawing (714) 323-9181.

March 2016

Canyon Beat:

Scratching the surface