Chaparral is the shrubland that blankets our hillsides and valleys, from desert to coast. We don’t always recognize its beauty and its value, but that makes it ripe for exploration. We start where desert vegetation gives way to chaparral near Anza Borrego Desert, then follow it to the coast at Torrey Pines State Reserve. We take an up-close look at these “Elfin Forests” and the environmental pressures that make them uniquely California. And we learn why the chaparral is important to human survival.
Tour Guide Rick Halsey of the Chaparral Institute visits the four main chaparral habitats in San Diego County:
- The Anza-Borrego State Park desert chaparral habitat
- Montane chaparral at the Mt. Laguna Recreational Area
- Old-growth chaparral stand in the Cleveland National Forest
- Coastal sage scrub in Santee, CA
- Rare and endangered maritime chaparral at the Torrey Pines State Reserve, La Jolla, CA
- See chaparral up close at the Elfin Forest Reserve on the outskirts of Escondido, CA
Links to Resources
Chaparral Institute – californiachaparral.org
Anza-Borrego State Park – abdsp.org
Cleveland National Forest – fs.usda.gov/cleveland
Torrey Pines State Reserve – torreypine.org
Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve – olivenhain.com/elfin-forest-recreational-reserve
Escondido Creek Conservancy – www.escondidocreek.org
Special thanks to Darrell and Pat Straube and their Orchard Hill Country Inn in Julian, CA for their gracious hospitality and elegant accommodations while we were filming Chaparral, The Elfin Forest. Thank you also to Camp Stevens.