Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Summer recreation programs begin June 23 in the Summit and Mi-Wok ranger districts of the Stanislaus National Forest.Most are free, though some have a fee.Here is the schedule.

Regular Weekly Programs


"Junior Rangers," 10 to 11 a.m., June 23 to Aug. 4. Hands-on activities will introduce children age 4 to 12 to the world we live in and how to care for the outdoors. Meet at the Pinecrest Amphitheater.

"Hit the Heights!" 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., June 23 to Aug. 4. Learn about geology and history of Sonora Pass on a leisurely two-part hike. Start at Columns of the Giants and end at Donnells Vista. Meet at the Summit Ranger Station at 11:30 a.m. or Brightman Station at 12:15 p.m.


"Tall Tales and Silly Songs," 10 to 11 a.m., June 24 to Aug. 5, $1 donation. Meet at Pinecrest Amphitheater for an hour of interactive songs with Bill Roberson and his alternating cadre of storytellers, Cynthia Restivo, B.Z. Smith and Jennifer Aguirre.

"Critters, Conifers and Clay," 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., June 24 to Aug. 5, $10 materials fee. Learn about the plants and animals of the forest by creating clay projects. Children under 7 must be assisted by an adult. Space is limited.

"Journaling Through Nature," 2 to 4 p.m., June 24 to Aug. 5. Create a nature journal while on a short hike with interpretive staff. For ages 8 to adult. Meet at the Summit Ranger Station.


"What's Buggin' You?" 10 to 11:30 a.m., June 25 to Aug. 6, $5 materials fee. Discover life within the aquatic ecosystem. Make a T-shirt with stamps depicting creatures of the water world. Meet at Pinecrest Chalet, about one mile up Dodge Ridge Road on the right (look for the wooden bear).

"Fishing For Small Fry," 2 to 3 p.m., June 25 to Aug. 6. Children learn how to bait a hook, cast and reel in a fish, then try to catch one. Meet interpretive staff at the Pinecrest Lake ADA concrete fishing platform.


"Weaving Life Stories Into Baskets," 10 a.m. to noon, July 10, 24, Aug. 7, $10 materials fee. Arvada Fisher will help you start a pine needle basket while sharing stories of her Me-Wuk heritage. Meet at the Summit Ranger Station and bring a chair.

"Me-Wuk Lifeways," 10 to 11 a.m., June 26 to Aug. 7. Carlos Geisdorf of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians will tell stories of his cultural heritage. Meet at Summit Ranger Station.

"Where Am I?" Compass orienteering, 2 to 3 p.m., June 26 to Aug. 7. Learn how to use a compass to find your way through the woods. Meet interpretive staff at Trail of the Survivors. For ages 7 to adult.


"Trees and Trails," 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 27 to Aug. 8. Discover the wisdom of nature on hikes that last two to four hours depending on the destination. Gas up your car, bring lunch, water and sturdy walking shoes. Meet at Summit Ranger Station. Call 965-3434 for the destinations.

"Pinecrest Junior Rangers," 2 to 3 p.m., June 27 to Aug. 8. Hands-on activities will introduce children age 4 to 12 to the world we live in and how to care for the outdoors. Meet at the Pinecrest Amphitheater.


"Rise and Shine Pinecrest Lake Hike," 9 a.m. to noon, June 28, July 12, 26, Aug. 9. Meet at the Pinecrest Amphitheater for a hike around the lake.

"Rise and Shine Trail of the Gargoyles Hike," 9 a.m. to noon, July 5, 19, Aug. 2. Meet at the Summit Ranger Station to car caravan.

"Nature Detective," 2 to 3 p.m., June 28 to Aug. 9. Look for clues in the forest and become a nature detective with interpretive staff. Meet at Pinecrest Amphitheater.


"Birding Hikes," 8 to 10:30 a.m., June 29 to Aug. 10. Explore the beauty of birds in the Stanislaus National Forest. Meet at Summit Ranger Station to carpool. Binoculars are available. Call Summit Ranger Station at 965-3434 for information.

"Nature Crafts," 2 to 3 p.m., June 29 to Aug. 10. Make an art project using the gifts of nature including leaves, rocks, cones and more. For ages 5 to adult. Meet at the Pinecrest Amphitheater.

Special Evening Programs

Mondays, 8 to 9 p.m., Pinecrest Amphitheater

"Wilderness Magic," June 23. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, revel in the beauty and importance of wilderness areas on the Stanislaus National Forest and across the nation, with Christine Meyers.

"Fire! The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," June 30. Learn about the benefits and dangers of forest fires, with Marie Malo. Meet Smokey Bear.

"Wildfire to Wildflowers," July 7. Following wildfires, the Sierra Nevada are often covered with colorful jewels - wildflowers. Learn about the different types you can expect to see and where to find them with Marie Malo.

"Dreams, Hopes - Then Came the Sierra Nevada," July 14. Imagine all the adventures that awaited pioneers who traveled over the Sierra Nevada while pursuing their dreams.

"Wild Things," July 21, $1 donation, special start time 7 p.m. Discover wildlife up close in this program featuring an assortment of rescued California birds and mammals. Learn about these creatures and how to let wildlife be wild.

"Things That Go Bump in the Night," July 28. Have you ever wondered what that sound was outside your tent in the middle of the night? Join Marie Malo for a presentation about life at night in the Stanislaus National Forest.

"Green Gold," Aug. 4. Learn about the trees in the area, why they are valuable and the history of logging camps in the area, with Christine Meyers.

Wednesdays, 7 to 8 p.m., Pinecrest Amphitheater

"The Spirit of John Muir With Lee Stetson," June 25, $1 donation. Relive some of Muir's most thrilling adventures in his beloved western wilderness.

"Songs and Tales From the Fire Lines," July 2, $2 donation. Enjoy an evening of songs and stories with Patrick Karnahan highlighting the history of fire and tradition of firefighting.

"Friendly Fire: A 49er's Life with the Me-Wuk People," July 9, $1 donation. Thomas F. Maguire stars in this drama about a gold miner in 1851, his new appreciation of the Me-Wuk world and his struggle to deflect catastrophe.

"Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Singers and Dancers," July 16, $1 donation. Through song and dance, members of the Me-Wuk tribe will share their cultural traditions.

"Snakes Alive!" July 23, $1 donation. Mike Sutton returns with a living showcase of different reptiles to view and touch.

"Batty About Our Insect-Eating Friends," July 30, $1 donation, special start time 8 p.m. Live bats of California native species are presented for viewing and discussion by NorCal Bats. Learn the importance of bats in the environment and the myths that surround them.

"Tales of the Mother Lode," Aug. 6, $1 donation. Hardluck Lin spins yarns of the Gold Rush much like the early California Argonauts who sat about campfires warming hands, drying britches and sharing tales.


"Star Parties," 9 to 10 p.m., June 27, July 4, 11, 18, 25; 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Aug. 1, 8, $1 donation. Tour the heavens from a star-studded location with astronomers. Meet at Bald Mountain Helibase on Highway 108 across from Little Sweden. Program may be canceled due to fire activity or weather. Call the Summit (965-3434) or Mi-Wok ranger station (586-3234) to confirm. Bring chair or blanket. Smoking, glass containers and dogs are prohibited.