|Transition from Fir Forest to Brushland|
Crews form the Ukiah California Conservation Corps built the original nature trail when the area first opened in 1978. Winter storms in 2005 & 2006 damaged a culvert and caused increased sediment flow into Little Creek. In 2012 the Little Darby Environmental Education Area was closed briefly so the Ukiah C.C.C. could provide trail realignments, riparian area restoration, downed tree removal and storm damage repair. In the meantime students from Humboldt State University spent the semester designing the graphics and text for new interpretive signs at Little Darby. Students from Willits Charter School created artwork inspired by their field class that was held at Little Darby each Friday in the winter and spring of 2012. BLM staff members from Arcata joined the students for projects including plant and fungi identification, water quality monitoring, wildlife camera maintenance and geomorphology lessons.
After you pass the first sign there will be a small bridge leading to an opening with two benches, this is the study/outdoor classroom area. Just south of the bridge Big Canyon Creek and an unnamed creek come together. From the bridge the trail continues up hill through the Douglas Fir forest. Here in the under the canopy in the canyon the forest cool. Every few hundred there is an informational sign reveling insights about the immediate surroundings. The trail will eventuality fork near two large toppled Fir trees, you can continue straight/left and return to the picnic area on the Forest Loop or turn right and head up the Brushland loop.
|Sanhedrin Mountain in the Distance|
I visited this spot with my kids and I highly recommend taking your children if you have any. We stopped at each informational sign and learned about our surroundings. The trail, if you take both is less than 1.5 miles long with an easy climb. One could easily hike the trail in about 40 minutes but if you are taking young ones and plan on really taking in the area give yourself at least 90 minutes and consider taking lunch, the newly installed concrete picnic benches are nice. Also remember you can take you dog off leash as long as its under your control. Best seasons are spring, fall and winter, normal California environmental hazards; ticks, bees, rattlesnakes.
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