Caveman Chuck Coker/Flickr
Joshua Tree NP is home to about 250 Nelson's Bighorn. If you want to know how many of those guys are in San Gabriel mountains, state Fish and Game wants to talk to you.
Bighorn, that is. Ovis canadensis. Nelson's Bighorn.
But first, the California Department of Fish and Game is looking for a few good volunteers to look for those sheep. Fish and Game is continuing its decades-long survey of bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel Mountains with some public elbow grease on the evening of Saturday, March 3 through all day Sunday. March 4. You don't even need experience! You are, however, encouraged to have binoculars or spotting scopes. And it ain't like a pleasant stroll down the pavement:
Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from either DFG, USFS or the Society. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although some survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral.
Orientation is at Verdemont Community Center in San Bernardino Saturday evening, and volunteers get free campsites (first-come, first-served) at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek Saturday night. Volunteers have pitched in for more than a decade, at least, always around this time of year.
Bighorn sheep once ranged over the San Gabriels freely. Fish and Game says the population's dropped over 80 percent in the last 20 years, but it seems to have leveled out. A report on restoration efforts describes the helpfulness of fire in creating habitat for bighorn in an increasingly competitive wilderness space.
State officials are signing up volunteers here.