Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Rabbit Hill Land Management Plan under way

MIDDLETOWN – The small, but much loved, 9.5-acre parcel of Rabbit Hill in Middletown received special attention recently in anticipation of a land management plan being created for the site.


Co-Directors of UC-Davis McLaughlin Reserve Paul Aigner and Cathy Koehler, Lower Lake, volunteered to walk the site to survey the site’s ecology and make recommendations.


Entering the trail head at 21281 Stewart St. at Callayomi Street, Paul and Cathy noted Rabbit Hill’s distinctive serpentine rock, few non-native plants and unique vegetation.


They identified shrubs and trees and observed birds including western scrub jay, Hutton’s vireo, lesser goldfinch, California towhee and western bluebird.


Aigner and Koehler will do a more thorough plant survey next spring, while Land Trust Director Brad Barnwell will conduct a formal bird survey.


This ecological information, and more, will describe Rabbit Hill for the land management plan and help fulfill preservation objectives of protection; education, scientific and passive recreation uses; and any needed restoration.


Rabbit Hill is special to generations of Middletown area residents who received handmade gemstone rings when they started kindergarten from Hugo “Huck” and Juanita “Skee” Hamann, who lived on the site.


In a recorded oral history of Rabbit Hill, Middletown Librarian Gehlen Palmer remembers visiting the Hamanns as a youngster, playing scrabble during stormy weather, and listening to classical music.


The Hamanns left their land to Sonoma County’s Madrone Audubon Society, which later deeded the property to Lake County’s Land Trust for protection.


Rabbit Hill Committee members are Land Trust Directors Susanne La Faver, chair, and Jon Ambrose, Hidden Valley Lake; Pete McGee, Middletown; and Michael Friel, Lakeport.


For more information on Rabbit Hill, see http://www.lakecountylandtrust.org/r_hill.htm .


Lake County Land Trust President Pete McGee will lead a stroll up Rabbit Hill for the Sierra Club-Lake Group Sunday, Nov. 15. The group will meet at Perry’s Deli at 9 a.m.

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