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 Panther Meadows

Winter / Spring 2011

Highlights of the 2010 Season
at Panther Meadows

by resident naturalist Johnny Dame and meadow monitor Garth Balazs

Spring came late to Panther Meadows in 2010, as predicted from the observations of Heather Vole activity the autumn of 2009. The intense winter storm in January 2010 (which broke records for precipitation and caused so much damage to the town of Mount Shasta and the adjacent forests), did not appear to affect the forest around Panther Meadows.

With one of the best snowpacks in many years, winter conditions held strong on the Mountain well into summer, and Everett Memorial Highway didn’t open beyond Bunny Flat until July 26.

In the course of the season, we were priviledged to witness the amazing song of the Hermit Thrush, several observations of a cinnamon colored mother Black Bear and her three cubs, and some spectacular sightings of a Bald Eagle, a Golden Eagle, and a White-Tailed Kite, as well as the Goshawk that hovered between Panther and Sand Flat all summer long. These are only a few examples of the ongoing wildlife show to which we were treated daily.

Due to the late snow-melt, all wildflower activity was four to six weeks later than normal. The heather bloomed in Panther Meadows after the snowmelt with a torrent of bright pink-purple flowers which stayed nearly half the season. By far the most impressive show this year was the Red Indian Paintbrush, which covered vast stretches of the meadows for four weeks.
On August 29 we had our first late summer freeze, with the Purple Asters’ bloom signaling the beginning of the autumn phase. Then on September 18 a weather system moved in, dumping an enormous amount of rain at Panther Meadows.

The campground stayed full well into Indian Summer. On 10/10/10, we got a taste of what the 2012 phenomenon might be like. 10/10/10 was a world-wide event that had been heavily publicized. We were not prepared for somewhere between 400 and 500 visitors that came, some from as far away as New Zealand and Poland, to participate in the event!
During the third week of October, Heather Vole activity in the meadow increased dramatically, as did the gathering activities of both Ground Squirrels and Clark’s Nutcrackers.

On October 22 and 23, moisture from the Pacific and freezing temperatures brought significant snowfall to Panther Meadows, bringing a peaceful close to the season.

Thanks to all the Ecology Center Volunteers, as well as the dedicated Forest Service employees. These caring and dedicated people have shown again and again that we’re on the correct path to preserving Panther Meadows and the surrounding areas for future visitors to enjoy for many generations to come!

Volunteers restoring Panther Meadows

Volunteers restoring Panther Meadows ‘Friends of Mountain Meadows’ is created Photo by D.G. Balazs

Volunteers restoring Panther Meadows


At the end of last summer, a new sub-project, “Friends
of Mountain Meadows,” was created. It will serve as a forum for training volunteers and as a vehicle for donations to make improvements at Panther Meadows and campground and also
at South Gate (formerly Squaw) Meadows.

Volunteers for
meadow monitoring and campground duties will be especially needed in 2012, when we expect a large influx of visitors.

A committee has been created consisting of Johnny Dame, Resident Naturalist for the Forest Service; Kai Allen, Recreation Officer for the Forest Service; and Garth Balazs for the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center. Some of the needs identified at Panther Meadows are five new picnic tables (at $500 each), structural improvements to the restroom (estimated at $500), and interpretive signage ($6,000). The project has a special account under the Mount
Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, where people who love the meadows can make donations. Checks can be made out to “MSBEC—Friends of Mountain Meadows” and sent to MSBEC, PO Box 1143, Mount Shasta, CA 96067. Or, donate online via PayPal at Specify “Friends of Mountain Meadows” in your PayPal transacti
on comments box.

Panther Meadows in Spring Panther Meadows in Spring




Copyright © 2008 Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center