Heaps Peak Arboretum

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Heaps Peak Arboretum

Volunteers are always
welcome at
Heaps Peak
Each year more
than 100,000
forest visitors benefit
from ROWIA's
activities and
you can be a part
of the team.



We are looking forward to summer at the Arboretum now that our Memorial weekend Plant and Tree sale is over.

We were sad that we were not able to hold our usual Plant Sale in September, but we are relieved that there has been some moisture over the fall and winter months this year – not as much as Northern California got, but enough to make things green up here. The plants we have are drought-tolerant after they are established, so you can still conserve water.


Because of the mild weather, our volunteers have staffed the information booth on most weekends. A big thank you to Elaine Shaw, Sandra Koos, Emily Hill, Dinora Nilson, Christine Smiley, and Trysta Schwenker for their faithful service over the year. We have probably had a record number of visitors this year and we now have a survey card that they can fill out to give us feedback on their visit.


We have also established scholarships for mountain students who are interested in majors that are related to what we do at the Arboretum and will be awarding scholarships to one of the applicants. There is also a Boy Scout project underway involving fencing in need of repair.


Seven years ago, ROWIA was a major sponsor of a book on the flora of the Santa Ana River and environs by Oscar Clarke, who for many years was at UC Riverside. This year, we are again providing the major funding for reprinting of the book. Our sponsorship will be acknowledged with its dedication in memory of our founder, George Hesemann.


So we are happy to report to you that what George began many years ago is being carried on by others who care about this special place, Heaps Peak

Arboretum. Have you noticed how good the Demonstration Garden and the front of the Arboretum looks? Many thanks to a new volunteer, Ellie Maitre, who has devoted countless hours to that backbreaking chore. Thanks also to Ken Witte  and his helpers including Ron Espinosa. And once again, we want to let you know that we can always use any help that you are able to give us. Just contact Elaine Shaw at 867-7187 to volunteer.

We hope you visit the Arboretum this summer so you can see what we’ve been doing.
Gloria Anderson, President



June 30 is the 32nd anniversary of the dedication of the Arboretum. It was the vision of George Hesemann and a group of like-minded individuals that helped to make the Arboretum a reality. The program for the dedication had   a short history of what led up to that day.; June 30, 1984 will be recorded as the official dedication and opening of the Heaps Peak Arboretum, but its story actually started more than sixty years ago. 1922 witnessed a huge fire that left this site completely devastated. 1928 welcomed the first planting of new trees by the Lake Arrowhead Women’s Club and students from Lake Arrowhead Elementary School. 1931 saw this site officially designated as the Heaps Peak Reforestation Project. For the next decade, the Lake Arrowhead Women’s Club faithfully continued their tree planting efforts. With the outbreak of World War II, all tree-planting activity came to an end  1956 saw fire again ravage the area. Fortunately, many trees were able to survive. 2½ decades passed before attention was again directed to this site. 1982 welcomed the interest of the newly formed Mt. Chapter of the San Bernardino County Museum Association to develop this site into an arboretum.

Permission was secured from the U.S. Forest Service and construction com- menced August 10, 1982. Today, construction continues and will well into the future.

The program also listed those who provided refreshments: Arrowhead Lu- theran Camp, Grumpy’s of Running Springs, Lloyd’s of Running Springs, and Arrow-wood  Camp

The August 1986 newsletter contained an article about an Arboretum facelifing; Duane Banner donated his time and equipment to grade the front of the arbore tum last month. Duane was a real artist in pushing and placing the large rocks into their final positions. Bob Burmeister, manager of Owl Rock, will donate the concrete for over 700 feet of curbs. Steve Gibson is in the process of putting in the forms. 2,500 square feet of cobblestone pavers have been purchased. Three cedar benches have been completed and are ready to be installed. Fifty gooseber- ry bushes are ready to be planted. This is the biggest project that our association has ever attempted


Botanical Corner


The Dogwood Family (Cornaceae) consists of approximately 110 species of trees and shrubs worldwide. The arboretum

has 2 native species: Pacific Dogwood- Cornus nuttallii and Red-Stemmed Dogwood- Cornus sericia. Dogwood are best known for their showy floral displays, and fall colors.

Flowering dogwoods are typically found grow- ing on the edge of wooded areas in partial shade; local species typically grow best in slightly acidic, well-drained, humus-rich soil. Dogwood that are planted in the landscape require supplemental water in the summer and fall until they are estab- lished, and especially during hot, dry conditions. Adding a generous layer of mulch around the base of the plant will help retain moisture in the soil.

Cappiello, Paul. 2005. Dogwoods: The Genus Cornus. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.

Gina Richmond



We lost seven trees this year from the wet snow, and we almost lost a young knob cone pine, but thanks to Ron Espinosa and his brother, it was saved.

There are two Eagle Scouts working on projects involving fencing One project extended fencing to protect the young Sequoias, and also at the east end of the parking lot to keep people from entering there. The other project will be to place  a split rail fence around the parking lot at Switzer Park and to create a panoramic picture display with the help of the Mountain Photo group. It will orient visitors to what they see in the valley from that point.

The parking lot has been sealed and striped.

We are having over 1000 people a week come through the Arboretum. Infor- mation on the bulletin board is updated weekly, and we have a box that visitors can access at all times for copies of the National Forest Visitors Guide, Lake Arrowhead Magazine, and the Off Road Visitors Guide.

Some projects we expect to do include widening the Sequoia Trail at the north end around the rock outcrop, removing three dead Giant Sequoias and buckthorn that is trying to overgrow the trail. Additionally, we are monitoring the wildlife pond above the Quaking Aspens.

We appreciate the hard work that Ellie Maitre, a new volunteer, has done on  the roses and demonstration gardens. We also appreciate the work that Ron has done fixing fences and putting up the fence at the switchbacks to keep visitors on the trail, and both of them for keeping watchful eyes on our Paradise in the Sky.

Kenneth Witte, Vice President



We are pleased to announce the implementation of our Rim of the World Interpretive Association (ROWIA) scholarship program. Our mission is to foster a better understanding of the natural history and resources of the San Bernardino Mountains. To that end, we asked the applicants to take their area(s) of interest, apply it to the interpretive experience within any area of geology, conservation, forestry, ornithology, botany or any other applicable field of study. Our scholarship application requested Rim High seniors to develop an innovative and interpretive experience for the public in the Arboretum or on the internet. We will be awarding our first scholarship at Rim High’s Scholarship Night, Wednesday, June 8th

Sandra Koos



Last night, April 24, 2017 the Scouts of Troop 251 were the hosts of an event at Switzer Park to dedicate a brochure that covers the history of the site that was created by Eagle Scout Ethan Morales. Present were Dr Ken Witte Vice President of ROWIA, Rhea Tetley from the historical society, Joe Whyte from the Mountain Arts Photography Group, whose stunning panoramic photo graces the center of the brochure, plus many others.


There is so much history on our mountain which we know so little of, but much of the beauty and access to it was made possible by those who came before us. With this brochure, Ethan aims to educate and inform visitors in the hope that they will then take better care of the park with the knowledge of the hard work that it took to create this little known special place in our mountain rim.


































































































































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