Tameobit in Lake Los Angeles is first on this list. By - Shirly Harriman
It's all new to us and so much is to be learned and appreciated.
All around Lake Los Angeles are Wildlife and Wildflower Sanctuaries owned and managed by the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks & Recreation.
The list includes some familiar names but some that are not so well known that deserve to be visited by community members.
Starting toward the north is Phacelia. The Phacelia Wildlife Sanctuary is described on its website as it takes its name from the ever-consistent display of beautiful Fremont Phacelia and is the northernmost sanctuary in the Antelope Valley. Visited by motorcycle enthusiasts, hikers and campers, this sanctuary offers scenic views with creosote bush scrub, small Joshua trees with wildlife including zebra-tailed lizards and roadrunners.
Then south of Phacelia is Butte Valley Wildflower Sanctuary located just one mile north of Saddleback Butte State Park and is approximately 351 acres. The dominant plant communities are Joshua Tree Woodland and Creosote Bush Scrub. This wildflower sanctuary has few signs of public use. It is home to such animals as the burrowing Antelope Ground Squirrel, Desert Night Lizard and the Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion.
To the east and south is the Carl O. Gerhardy Wildlife Sanctuary which is the largest of Los Angeles County’s fourteen Antelope Valley Wildlife Sanctuaries, covering 547 acres. Carl O. Gerhardy, a County of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation employee from 1944 -1964, found and recommended the acquisition of many County Parks and Sanctuaries, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors honored his accomplishments by naming this Sanctuary after him. The Sanctuary is carpeted with seasonal wildflowers ranging from Mojave Lupine, Desert Primrose, Evening Primrose, Hole in the Sand Plant to Mohave Apricot Mallow, and you can observe desert reptiles including the Yucca Night Lizard, Red Racer snake, Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard, and Southern Desert Horned Lizard. Observe the Antelope Ground Squirrel or a beautiful Violet Green Swallow while enjoying the sanctuary and let the stunning desert landscape inspire creativity with landscapes that capture the expanse of the Antelope Valley to the west, the Desert Buttes, and the lofty peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains to the south.
Then over to East Avenue O west of 170th Street East where Big Rock Wash, Alpine Butte and Betty Steeth are located.
• Big Rock Wash Wildlife Sanctuary has 37 different species of annual wildflowers including Indian Rice Grass, Desert Calico, Checker Fiddleneck and abundant displays of Dune Primrose. Following a monsoonal thunderstorm in the late summer months, the wash can be full of water turning the sanctuary into an oasis, a respite from the summer heat. This virtually undisturbed area is comprised of a desert-wash community including creosote bush scrub and Joshua tree woodland and is one of the most diverse of the Antelope Valley sanctuaries in terms of plant life.
• The Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary lays on the southern slope of Alpine Butte a Mesozoic granitic rock formation marked by the presence of dinosaur, marine and flying reptile fossils. This 320-acre wildlife sanctuary is ecologically rich area consisting of small sand dunes, large rock formations, creosote bush scrub and Joshua tree woodland home to some of the tallest Joshua trees in Los Angeles County! Indigenous wildlife at the sanctuary includes the federally threatened Mojave Desert Tortoise, Mojave Sidewinder Rattlesnakes, Zebra-Tailed Lizards, Badgers and Kit Foxes making this sanctuary ecologically and historically rich and ideal for school field trips and interested hikers alike.
• There is no information available for the Betty Steeth Sanctuary, but some will be found.
Tameobit in Lake Los Angeles is located adjacent to Stephen Sorensen Regional Park is the newest and more information is forthcoming.
Jackrabbit Flats Wildlife Sanctuary is close to Lake Los Angeles It is a Wildlife refuge located at 36202 116th St E, Littlerock and has signs on East Avenue T. Comprising 114 acres, it has the most consistent wildflower displays year after year of any of the Los Angeles County Sanctuaries! The dominant plant communities include Joshua tree woodlands and Creosote Bush Scrub, both equally represented throughout. Various cacti exist from Golden and Silver Cholla to Beavertail that offer spectacular blossoms in the spring! The consistent wildflowers bring out the Black Tailed Jackrabbits, and if you haven’t seen the native hare, you are in for a treat! Some mistake these giants for a fox or coyote at first; however, once they jump up to 20 feet in a single bound traveling up to 35 miles per hour, everyone recognizes them as the iconic Jackrabbit.