Wunderlich Park Natural Features

Wunderlich County Park comprises 942 acres of steep mixed forest and meadowland. It consists of four general areas: a lower area of boarding stables, riding facilities, and a horse ring that was the Folger Ranch complex; an open meadow midway up the slope of the park; and then extending up through beautiful canyons with a running stream and numerous springs through dense second growth redwood groves, an upper meadow area at a general elevation of 2,000 ft. Exceptional vistas are found in all directions.

Several different plant communities offer a varied habitat for the creatures found in the park. Along the streams and in gullies, the majestic coast redwoods provide a cool, well-shaded environment. Here sword fern and redwood sorrel provide luxuriant cover for large, yellow banana slugs that inch slowly on their way.

In contrast, the chaparral areas are hot and dry. Few trees exist here. Shrubs, such as manzanita, chamise, chaparral pea, and yerba santa form a thick, almost impenetrable mass of brush. Here the visitor can see jackrabbits, brush bunnies, chipmunks, and lizards scurrying through the underbrush. Birds that are often seen and heard are quail, scrub jays, and wrentits.

Bordering the chaparral and the redwood forest is the mixed evergreen forest, which covers most of the park. Here trees, such as tanbark oak, madrones, California laurel, coast live oak, and Douglas-fir are dominant. Beneath the trees are many shrubs, including sticky monkey flower, wild lilac, toyon, wood rose, and poison oak. Brilliant wildflowers, such as western hound's tongue, Indian warrior, and Fremont's star lily (Zygadene lily) are found along with the graceful wood fern.

Black-tailed deer, raccoons, black squirrels and, less commonly, bobcats, coyotes and grey foxes may be seen. Common birds include acorn woodpeckers, chickadees, towhees, and Stellar jays.

Integrating with the other plant communities in the extreme lower part of the park is the foothill woodland characterized by large white (valley) oaks, black oaks and bay laurel trees.

Prepare for a safe and enjoyable visit to Wunderlich Park and other San Mateo County Parks by being aware of your natural environment.

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