Wednesday, June 5, 2019

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review

A Brief History Of Lawrence "Larry" Moore Park

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review
A Trail in Larry Moore Park, March, March, 2018, © B. Radisavljevic

I first saw Larry Moore Park, as it's commonly known here in Paso Robles, after I moved to this area in 1993. Larry Moore Park was actually established in the 1980's when the Riverbank Track across the street from it was built. My mother bought a home in this tract in 1995 within walking distance of the park. I visited her regularly and often took a walk in the park after the visit. I was delighted to live close to a river for the first time in my life. I have featured some of my photographs of the river itself here. 

At first the Riverbank tract homeowners were assessed by the landscape and lighting district that maintained the park. But by the end of 2015 it became evident that this would not be enough. The city made plans to take jurisdiction over the park and its maintenance and the city now owns the park. It has built a new playground and has plans to later build a new ball field and a parking area within the park. In 2014 after my mother's death we moved into her house and became Riverbank residents ourselves. 

Not all of us are thrilled that our "wild" space will become so much more developed than it is now. We don't exactly welcome the parking lot and the added traffic and the glaring stadium lights that are coming. I'm not sure the river walk will be the same after that. We were hoping that at least park maintenance would improve, but so far about all the city has done is build the new playground. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review: New Playground
Part of New Playground, November, 2018, © B. Radisavljevic

The River Walk Trail Entrance

The main trail for the Salinas River Walk begins at the south end of Larry Moore Park right across the from the west entrance to the Charolais Corridor Trail

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - West Entrance Charolais Corridor Trail

At the south entrance of the Salinas River Walk in the park you will find a park bench, trash cans, and some very large rocks marking the beginning of the trail. Here's how it appears if you stand in the park and look toward the Charolais Corridor Trail entrance you see above. The road itself turns into a cul-de-cac just past these trail entrances and one can park along the curb.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review: Salinas River Trail Beginning at South End of Park
South Entrance to Salinas River Walk at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
 In front of the bench is a very large oak tree and an access path heading west to the Salinas River. The flora you see in the photo below is typical of that which dominates the park in spring and summer. The yellow flowers by the rocks are mustard. The white flowers near the right middle are poison hemlock. In front of the blooming poison hemlock is a mallow plant, but its purple flowers are too small to see here. I show the blooms later under Flora.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review
Bench at South Entrance to Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic, June 3, 2019



"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review

To take the trail get up from the bench and turn to your right. You will see the trail heading northeast in this photo. It curves slightly parallel to the river until the trail seems to end just past some benches and a river access pass through. You will notice that one of the benches is broken. Maintenance in the park is almost nonexistent except for the playground, playing fields, and restrooms.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review


Here is the river access just before the trail turns. Notice the broken fence between the bench and the river access pass through. I took this photo and the one below looking west from the east.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - River Access


Above you see that the trail is turning. It will soon lead to the footbridge. The trail from the south turns onto the bridge by the elderberry tree. I was coming from the other direction when I took this photo.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Footbridge over Creek


 Not long after crossing the footbridge you will come to a fence that borders a riparian mitigation area. Most of what's behind the fence looks like what's below. Lots of poison hemlock is in bloom there in June.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Poison Hemlock in Bloom
Riparian Mitigation Area that Borders Trail, Poison Hemlock in Bloom, © B. Radisavljevic

The trail then parallels the fence until it crosses the park to the east and reaches a dead end. At this point you can turn south toward the southern exit to the Riverbank Tract or you can turn north toward the Veterans' Memorial Bridge underpass that takes you on a trail that continues north and east to 13th Street. Here's a view of the intersection on January 9, 2017.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Trail Intersection

I took the photo below on June 3, 2019. You can see farther down the trail to the north here. It goes past the Kohl's store. A block wall separates the commercial area from the trail. Near the trail intersection you can see the shopping carts the homeless leave there as they go back and forth to where they like to camp in the riverbed. You will find these abandoned carts scattered through the park.

There is a vacant lot beside that sign that leads to the J.C. Penny parking lot where some homeless folks park before walking to where they plan to camp in the park. Some hikers also park in the J.C. Penny lot because it's close to the park trails going both north and south.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Intersecting Trails
Trail Intersection at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic

Although you can't see it above because the trees hide it, the fence for the riparian mitigation area borders the north side of the east-west trail from the river. If you were standing where the north pointing arrow is above, looking back toward the river, you'd see this.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Homeless Campsite
Looking West Toward River and a Homeless Encampment (illegal at the time), © B. Radisavljevic

In October 2017, I left my house during some construction in search of some quiet and spent some time photographing the park entrance from the bench by the trail entrance. You can see all those photos and the video I made that day at What I  Observed from my Bench at Larry Moore Park.

Here is a photo of the large rocks along the trail entrance taken in October, 2017. I was tempted to crop out the piles of mulch so the rocks would be more prominent, but I simply didn't have the heart to crop out most of that magnificent sky just to get rid of the mulch. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - South Entrance
Rocks at Park South Entrance, October 2017

Here's a better photo of the rocks in January, 2012, without mulch piles. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - South Entrance
Rocks at Park South Entrance, January 2012 

Larry Moore Park is a Great Place to Photograph the Sky


I really appreciate the clear view of the sky I have from the Salinas River and the River Walk. It's a great place to photograph the sunset, or, as you can see above, cloud formations. 

I often walk as the sun is setting. I took the photo below through those trees you can see from the park bench near the entrance. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review -  Sunset Behind the Trees
Sunset behind Trees, © B. Radisavljevic


I shot the photo below near the river at Larry Moore Park. It's one of my favorite sky views so I used it to make this inspirational poster at Zazzle. 


I also made a poster of this pastel sky from the park. I made it part of my blog post on Medium: What a Glorious Gift is the Sky! The blog contains other views of the sky, mostly taken from the Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Paso Robles. If a photo seems not to have loaded, just click it to make it appear.


This next sky view comes from the other end of the trail closer to the northern Riverbank Lane entrance.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Bare Cottonwood Tree in the Sunset


Here's one more. It's hard to stop.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Sunset

Below is another interesting sky effect framed by one of the park trees. Some people call this a buttermilk sky.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - "Buttermilk" Clouds


I like the pink contrails in this one.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Pink Contrails
Pink Contrails over Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic

I could share many more sky photos taken at Larry Moore Park, but there simply isn't room. There's much more to see here than sky. The sky will probably appear in many other photos I will share below.

Accessing the Salinas River from Larry Moore Park

Larry Moore Park offers the easiest access to the Salinas River in Paso Robles. Even when the riverbed is dry there is plenty to see. My favorite access path is near the south entrance I showed you at the top by the large oak tree. It is featured in this Zazzle poster. When taking this trail you need to be careful of the poison oak that lives on the right side of the trail. It's especially dangerous in winter when it has no leaves to warn you of what it is. The path can also be slippery in the wet season.



In the poster photo above you can't see the steep part of the path. Here is what it looks like looking up from the riverbank or riverbed, depending on the season. Perhaps by now you will recognize the bench at the top near where this path begins.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Access Path to Salinas River
Access Path to Salinas River, © B. Radisavljevic
Although many people use this path to reach the river, it's only one of many unofficial paths they use to get there.

The more official designated entrances meant for accessing the river look like this and are found along the main trail fence. I think these pass through "gates" are designed to let people in and keep horses and vehicles of all kinds out.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - River Access Pass Through

After entering at one of these access "gates" you will find your own way down. If you are fortunate, you will find a path through the brush somewhat like this one.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - River Access Path


Take a Short Walk On the North End of the Trail with Me

I made this video to test the camera on my new Galaxy Note 9 phone last November (2018). So it's an autumn walk. It will show you some plants in the park I haven't featured below and autumn views of some I have, like the jimson weed.



Fauna at Larry Moore Park

I confess I've paid more attention to the flora than the fauna, since the fauna are better at keeping out of sight. I've seen birds, ants, bees, gophers, squirrels, hares, tadpoles,lizards, and cottontail rabbits. I've not yet seen a snake or any deer in the park. But that doesn't mean there aren't any.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Squirrel
Not exactly in the park when I took the photo, but I took it from the riverbed just south of the park. Squirrels tend to roam, so I'm sure this one got to the park when I wasn't looking.
I'm not good at identifying birds, but these are very common in the park. It's also common to see birds of prey, probably hawks or turkey vultures, flying high above.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Birds
Birds I See Often at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Tadpoles

It occurred to me when I saw a very shallow pool unattached to the rest of the river that it was tadpole season and I might find a few. So I went to explore. I expect we will later see frogs or toads in the park if they can survive after the river dries up.



People also walk their dogs in the park, and they don't always follow the rule to keep them on a leash. Many people let them loose in the riverbed or after they are into the park. They are not supposed to do this. Here are a couple of posts from my Paso Robles in Photos blog related to dogs in the park.


As I walked in the park today I saw a rabbit rush into the brush before I could even aim my camera. I stepped over many anthills of red ants. A lizard skittered across the path in front of me a couple of times. And I also saw this.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Lost Cat?
Had to Shoot with a Zoom - A Black Cat in the Park, Hunting, June 3, 2019, © B. Radisavljevic
Last month I saw another cat by the river. I'm not sure if these are abandoned or feral cats or whether they come to the park from the tract for some wild time.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Cat in Tree
Tuxedo Cat in Tree by Salinas River,  © B. Radisavljevic


Flora in the Park

I love to photograph the plants in the park during every season -- in and out of the riverbed. Some of the most common plants there are jimson weed, telegraph plant, poison oak, poison hemlock, and milk thistle. Milk thistle and poison hemlock usually grow next to each other in the park. Click the link to learn more about them.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Blooming Milk Thistle and Poison Hemlock
Milk Thistle and Poison Hemlock in Bloom at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic

Poison oak also grows abundantly at Larry Moore Park. So be careful, especially in winter when the stems are bare and there are no leaves to warn you of danger. One of the places you really need to watch out for is under this spreading cottonwood (or is it a willow?) tree near the center of the park between the street and the trail. There is open space all around it. See that shady place under the tree? Poison oak loves to grow there.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Large Tree in Middle of Park
Poison Oak Loves to Grow in that Shady Space Under Tree, © B. Radisavljevic
Here's a closer look. See all that poison oak? It loses its leaves in winter and you'd never know what it was, but it's just as dangerous as when it has leaves. See more details and photos of this tree in other seasons and information about other places poison oak lurks in the park in Watch Out for Poison Oak at Larry Moore Park.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Green Poison Oak in June
Poison Oak Growing Under Tree in June, © B. Radisavljevic




Today I found a jimson weed flower in bloom and a several potential forests of the plant. Learn more about jimson weed here. The mustard adds some happy color to this photo.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Blooming Mustard and Jimson Weed


Below is an enlargement of the blooming mallow plant we saw in front of the bench when we entered the park.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Mallow in Bloom
Mallow in Bloom at Larry Moore Park in June, © B. Radisavljevic

I don't often see poppies in the park, but I did on June 3, 2019. This bit of color was snuggling up to a baby oak tree.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - California Poppies Snuggling with Baby Oak

I photographed this cottonwood tree near the river on May 22, 2019. If you have allergies, I suggest you come at a different time of year. The seeds were still flying through the air like snow on June 3.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Cottonwood Tree in Bloom
Cottonwood in Bloom May 22, 2019, © B. Radisavljevic
Here's how the ground looks under this cottonwood tree.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Cottonwood "Cotton" Under Tree
Cottonwood "Snow" on Ground, May 22, 2019, Larry Moore Park, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic
Here is one of the many elderberry trees in bloom in the park during June.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Elderberry tree in Bloom
Elderberry Tree in Bloom in June, © B. Radisavljevic


These are just a few examples of the flora that grow in Larry Moore Park. It has both willow and cottonwood trees. Elderberry trees seem to be everywhere. And, of course, there are oaks. It would take another post to show you all the flora. 

Park Facilities

The park has restrooms that stay open during the hours the park is open, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. I looked at them today, June 3, 2019, and they were clean.  They lock them at 11 p.m. when the park closes. The drinking fountains next to the restrooms were also functioning.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Restrooms
Restrooms at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic


Besides the trails, the park has non-regulation soccer and baseballs fields and a basketball court for shooting baskets. None of these fields were built for competitive play. They were built for neighborhood residents to play for fun. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Basketball Court and Playground

There are very few picnic tables. The city website for the park says there are barbecue areas. They are probably located near the playground beside the one picnic table I saw. There may be more in that clump of trees behind the playground. That's the one area I did not inspect today. 

Vandals have thrown many tables in the creek and in other places where they don't belong and torn them apart. There has been a huge problem with vandalism in the park in the past. Many hope that since the city now owns the park it will patrol more often. 

It is better to visit the park during daylight hours. As I've mentioned above, many homeless camp in the park, especially in and around the riverbed. Some neighbors who use the trail have complained that they have been threatened by men carrying sticks when walking north of the bridge underpass or near it. I have never had a problem myself, but I've not recently walked farther north than the trail I've detailed here. I now stay in the park south of the commercial development and the path intersection I showed you that leads north. 

The park is a wonderful recreation area, especially during the season when there is water in the river. The trails and the riverbed are great for hiking, biking, and walking dogs (on leashes, please). There are many plants and animals to study or just enjoy. There are gorgeous sunsets to observe. But it's probably best to walk with a dog or a friend at dusk. 

And if you happen to be in the park at the right time, you will probably see and hear the Amtrak trains coming and going. I usually see one go  past between 4:30 and 5 p.m. I rather enjoy that. Both the tracks and the 101 freeway are just on the other side of the river from the park. 


"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Amtrak Train Seen from Park
Amtrak Heading South.  I used a zoom lens so the train is really not in the park but across the river. © B. Radisavljevic



I hope you've enjoyed your photographic guide to the park. I know it's just scratched the surface, but that's all there is room for today.





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13 comments:

  1. I have to laugh now that I realize how close my husband was to your home when he walked along the Salinas River path. He stopped several times and sent me pictures of his walk, including one of the poppies. It will be a real shame when they add the sports field and parking lot. I guess I am not surprised the homeless "hang out" around there, but it does pose an element of danger for sure. You know my opinion would be that the city should worry about providing a place for the homeless instead of turning a lovely park into a parking lot and sports field.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HOw long ago was your husband there? It would be interesting to get his perspective on the park as an "objective" user.

      The city is working on building a shelter on the other side of town and on the coldest nights the churches rotate hosting warming stations. One problem is that many of the homeless will not use shelters because they don't want to abide by shelter rules. Someone went as far as to suggest that the old internment camps from WW2 where the Japanese were held be opened for voluntary use by the homeless. Don't think that suggestion will get very far, but someone did throw the idea out. It's becoming such a major problem that the state has legalized homeless camping on any public lands, whatever the city's laws may have been. I guess they don't want them to continue to camp on the edges of the freeways.

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  2. Interesting to take this virtual walk with you through your favorite 'River Walk', Barb. I've seen many of your wonderful photos in other places and on your Zazzle products, so it was nice to see them again all in one place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have done a lot of blogging all over about my park walks here. The park is where I spend the most time when I'm outside of the house and not attending meetings or running errands. I thought it would be good to provide the basic information and show the scenery in one place so that people planning a day trip would know what to expect. As I was searching for information online I noticed that there really wasn't very much there that answered some basic questions. Many travel bloggers don't bother with our fair city unless they want to review our wineries. The city website has only the scantest information about the individual parks.

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  3. Wow! Fabulous tour.... love the photo with the red trails through the sky!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We live close to a couple of army bases here that fly jets around almost every night from the north. The Paso Robles airport is to the east and it has a few jets that fly in and out, as well. We always seem to have contrails.

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  4. I agree completely with Sylvestermouse that caring for the homeless population (and doing routine maintenance of the park) should be a much higher priority than adding a parking lot and a sports field. But your local park is still a treasure. Thanks so much for taking us on such a detailed tour of it with your excellent descriptions and terrific photos. Those shots of the sky really sing to me!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Only someone who lives with and loves a place can write what the travel bloggers and city website writers don't bother to tell you. Many of them visit once and go on to the next place. City employees who write the web pages may not have even visited the park and may be working with information and pictures someone else provided. The best thing about writing a post on a place a short walk from your house is that if you see you're missing a picture of something you wanted to talk about, you can go snap it.

    Yesterday I called the city about a tree I saw down that was still alive. It had split. I sent a picture that would pinpoint its location very close to the trail and nowhere near the wild area along the river. It's possible part of that tree could still be saved. It will be interesting to see if they do anything about it. The cottonwood tree near the intersection of the trails has been dying for years and may have finally crossed the line this year. They finally got around to cleaning up most of the dead branches that had been on the ground for years after the city took ownership. They may be delaying fixing the fences and benches I showed near the footbridge until they put the new ball field in that area so they can do all the work at once.

    As for the homeless problem, please see my reply to Cynthia, above.

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  6. This post should prove helpful to visitors to Paso Robles and for locals who are less familiar tha tyou with the park!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Barbara, your pictures are amazing and it's obvious that you love this area. You certainly have made me put it on my "want to see" places. One day soon, hopefully I will get that chance to see with my own eyes what you have been sharing with me. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Olivia. How I'd love to show you around. The park, wine country, everything.

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  8. Absolutely the go to post for visitors to Paso Robles. Of course I've never been there, but my goodness it's truly gorgeous and would love to visit. Your pictures, as usual, tell the story of the beauty.

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