Photos above: Sign amid charred terrain reads, "As these habitats recover from fire, a colorful variety of bird liife will return."
By Miriam Raftery
March 28, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – One month after a controlled burn at Cuyamaca sparked controversy, as ECM reported , the State Park Service has failed to answer any of our questions. Two elected officials have issued statements supportive of burn policies despite mature pines and cedars being torched in a park an estimated 99% of its mature pines to the 2003 Cedar Fire, which charred 95% of the entire park.
But new photos taken after the burn reveal that the fire also burned d15-foot-tall saplings planted after the Cedar Fire, foot bridges, and a “habitat restoration” area for wildlife replanted as part of reforestation efforts after the Cedar Fire.
Cal Fire has insisted that the burn did not jump out of control, though local cabin owner Craig Maxwell says a state park ranger told him it did. But if firefighters did not lose control of the burn, this raises an even more troubling question: Why would State Park officials charged with protecting our public parks order the destruction of some of the last remaining mature pines and cedars, as well as plantings established to replaced what burned in 2003?
Moreover, this region has also been decimated by oak-boring beetles that have killed thousands of trees locally, making protection of what remains even more critical.
By Miriam Raftery; photos by Tom Lemon
February 23, 2014 (Cuyamaca) – “The meadows should be green, Cuyamaca Lake full. Not so,” Tom Lemon writes after a trip to the mountain area. “The area is tinder dry and the lake down six or eight feet.”
Still, he found some interesting sights, as thees photos reveal.
August 17, 2013 (Julian) -- Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District invites the public to an open house at the Julian Fire Station on Saturday, September 28 from 10-4 p.m. The station is located on Farmers Road (which becomes Main Street) just east of Julian's historic downtown district.
Guests can enjoy games, firefighters' competitions, food, music in the park, demonstrations, as well as tours of the station, trucks, ambulance and helicopter. The event also offers home fire prevention supplies, injury simulation ocmplete with makeup and "treatment" by paramedics, and chance to win four raffle packages.
An East County Eater Review
By Ariele Johannson
Photos by Stephen Harvey/Grossmont College photographer
January 25, 2013 (El Cajon)--Spring semester begins January 28 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in a restorative vein, with hundreds of classes added back as the result of California voters’ approval of Proposition 30, the governor’s sales and income tax measure.
The November victory at the polls allowed the colleges to restore 235 course offerings for the new semester that had been cut when the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District approved its budget .The action was taken to prepare for the worst-case scenario of the district losing $5.6 million in funding had voters rejected Prop. 30.
Peg Marcus, Grossmont College’s student body president, shares a laugh with the campus mascot, Gizmo, this week as the campus prepares for the start of the new semester Monday, Jan. 28.
December 31, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- A blanket of snow envelops our local mountains and rural areas this New Year's Eve. Melody Ponchot arose early to snap sunrise photos as the morning's first rays illuminate snow dusting trees across her ranch in Boulevard (left, right, and below, right)
Julie Salmons also sent in an image of the Laguna mountains (below, left), viewed from Descanso, wearing a crown of winter white.
December 29, 2012 (Cuyamaca) -- While driving through Rancho Cuyamaca State Park last week, ECM editor Miriam Raftery spotted several groups of deer grazing in the sun-dappled woods, including this doe, which paused to pose for a picture-perfect moment.
The best time to see deer is in the last hour before sundown; this photo was taken shortly before 4 p.m. just two days after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
December 29, 2012 (San Diego’s East County ) - A storm moving through our region today and tomorrow is expected to bring rain and in mountain areas, snow. By tomorrow, snow is forecast to drop down to 4,000 feet—low enough to include Julian and Lake Cuyamaca—popular destinations for families seeking to frolic in the snow.
Gusty winds are also forecast in mountains and on desert slopes late Sunday. The storm system is expected to move east and out of our county on Monday, so if you’re planning a trip to the mountains it’s best to wait until after the weekend.
Decenber 26, 2012 (Cuyamaca) -- Turkeys for Christmas may conjure up images of a holiday dinner. But photographer Tom Lemon spotted this flock on Christmas Day while driving through Rancho Cuyamaca State Park. He suggests these turkeys should be grateful that they're living in a protected area where hunting is not allowed--or, perhaps, hoping more folks will choose ham for their next holiday feast.
September 10, 2012 (El Cajon) -- Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges are holding public remembrances of the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and triggered the global war on terror.
The Associated Students of Cuyamaca College is sponsoring an on-campus display of 2,977 flags, with volunteers from the college, student leaders from Steele Canyon and Monte Vista high schools, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), area police and fire departments and the U.S. Armed Forces setting up the display in the grand lawn starting at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, the day before a community remembrance ceremony set for 12:30 p.m. at the college at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego.
Fallen trees block roads in Pine Valley and Rancho San Diego
March 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A weather-related problem with a power pole has left 38 utility customers without power in the East Descanso, Green Valley Falls and Cuyamaca areas.
According to SDG&E, the outage began at 2:25 a.m. and power is expected to be restored around 7 p.m. tonight, leaving customers without power for more than 16 hours amid chill winter temperatures and snow.
June 13, 2011 (Cuyamaca)-- Cal-Fire and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park will be conducting prescribed burns on Park lands opposite the Paso Picacho campground on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 and 15.
February 19, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy snowfall is making travel hazardous on East County roadways in mountain areas, resulting in numerous accidents and traffic delays tonight.
“The Cuyamaca area has received between 6 to 8 inches of snow and Mt. Laguna more than that,” Cal Fire’s Mike Mohler informed ECM in an e-mail. He advised people to avoid visiting these areas unless prepared.
By Billy Ortiz
View our “Winter Wonderland” Video
February 2, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Living in the San Diego area, it’s a rare treat to visit the snow in our local mountains. So on a cold day in January, when the weather report said the storm was over, I packed my cameras and headed east to the Laguna Mountains.
Story and photos by Miriam Raftery
October 1, 2010 (Julian) –If you’re heading up to the Julian Apple Festival this weekend, you’ll find plenty of sights to see along the way.
This time of year, watch for wildlife and glimpses of fall foliage as the trees begin to acquire their autumn shades of splendor, though the most spetacular fall colors are still a couple of weeks away in most areas. Still there are plenty of attractions right now to make a trip to the mountains worthwhile.
March 6, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory from 6 p.m. tonight through 2 p.m. tomorrow. Four to six inches of snow have been forecast above 4500 feet tonight in higher elevations including Palomar Mountain, Cuyamaca, Mount Laguna, and Ranchita.
A hazardous weather outlook has also been issued for most of Southern California.