Monday, September 21, 2015

14th Annual Hi Mountain Condor Lookout Campout and Open House Event - Sat, Oct 10, 2015

Come and discover one of the largest and most endangered flying birds of North America!

California Condors are radio tracked from Hi Mountain Lookout, flying near release sites in Big Sur and Pinnacles National Park in Central California and Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge, the Sespe Condor Sanctuary, and Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Southern California. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about condor biology and the reintroduction of these magnificent birds back to the wild. The Hi Mountain Lookout Project is a collaboration between Morro Coast Audubon Society, U.S. Forest Service at Los Padres National Forest, U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service California Condor Recovery Program, Cal Poly Biological Sciences Department, Ventana Wildlife Society, and Pinnacles National Park.

Hi Mountain Lookout has been restored as a biological field research station and visitor center. Tour the interpretive visitor center with condor and other local wildlife displays and an extensive library of local natural history references. Meet with our staff, college interns and community volunteers. Cal Poly student interns will discuss their ongoing field research projects in the Hi Mountain area, including small mammal live trapping, bird surveys, and vegetation analysis.

The open house event will include condor radio tracking demonstrations, native plant identification, bird watching, and a local geology walking stroll. Volunteers and staff will be participating in several work projects throughout the day. Join us for a picnic lunch at noon. Overnight camping is optional.

For driving directions and other information go to

Visit the Hi Mountain Lookout Facebook page at To RSVP for the event please contact Steve Schubert at # (805) 528-6138 or e-mail at

Sunday, September 7, 2014

13th Annual Open House/Campout Event Schedule - Oct. 11, 2014

Please RSVP if you are planning to attend the event and the number of people in your group by contacting Steve Schubert at or phone # (805) 528-6138

The open house event at Hi Mountain Lookout formally begins at 12:30pm, with introductions, condor program updates, lookout tours, guided field trips, potluck dinner, evening program presentations, star gazing, and an optional overnight campout.

Visitors will find parking available close to the lookout throughout the day. Note: high clearance vehicles with 4-wheel drive highly recommended for the unpaved 6 mile drive from Pozo to Hi Mountain – rough road conditions in places.

Morning activity:
Bird watching field trip 9:00am - 11:30am
Pozo to Hi Mountain (elev. 3,199 ft), Santa Lucia Mountains, Los Padres National Forest
Meet 9am at Pozo Ranger Station. Field trip participants are encouraged to car pool from Pozo.
Habitats: grassland, riparian woodland (at Salinas River crossing), oak woodlands & chaparral
Field trip leader: Jessica Griffiths, Morro Coast Audubon Society
NOTE: advanced registration is required to attend the birding field trip, limited to 15 participants
Register with Steve at or phone # (805) 528-6138

Schedule of open house activities at Hi Mountain Lookout:
Kids’ activities - 11:00am to 2pm, ongoing  
-making plaster-of-paris animal tracks; condor biology and radio tracking demonstrations

Picnic lunch   11:30am -12:30pm   (bring your own lunch)   
-tour the Hi Mountain Lookout facilities and Interpretive Center
- sign the guest register

Welcoming comments   12:30pm

Introductions of Hi Mountain Lookout staff, volunteers, and college student interns
by Steve Schubert, Lookout Project Volunteer Coordinator, Morro Coast Audubon Society &
Dr. Francis Villablanca, Professor, Cal Poly Biological Sciences Department

Morning birding field trip report by trip leader
Led by Jessica Griffiths, Morro Coast Audubon Society

Updates on the California Condor Recovery Program
by Condor staff  

Condor radio tracking demonstration
by Hi Mountain Lookout volunteers
Note: Those interested in becoming new volunteers for the lookout project are encouraged to meet with our staff to arrange future training for condor radiotelemetry, facilities use, and scheduling

Auction of donated items and merchandise sales   1:00pm  
Lookout Project annual fundraiser

Afternoon activities and field trips:
Geographical landmarks - a 360 degree view from the Pacific Coast to the Sierra Nevada - and demonstration of the original Hi Mountain Lookout firefinder
Led by Kevin Cooper, Zone Wildlife Biologist, Los Padres National Forest

2:00 pm   
Native Plant Identification and Geology Walk along the crest of the Santa Lucia Mountains on Hi Mountain Lookout Road
Led by Dr. Dirk Walters and Dr. David Chipping, San Luis Obispo Chapter, California Native Plant Society

3:00 pm
Birding by ear (songs and call notes) and watch for raptors in flight - meet on the lookout catwalk
Led by Jessica Griffiths, Morro Coast Audubon Society

California Condor talk by Vince Gerwe and Martin Fletcher, Friends of California Condors Wild & Free

Sunset watch and dinner   6:00 – 7:00pm   Saucelito Canyon Vineyard &Winery wine serving, compliments of Nancy and Bill Greenough, owners

Gas stove and oven in the lookout facilities are available for cooking and heating food.
Participants are encouraged to bring a potluck dish to share with their friends and guests.
Note: no open campfires, camping stoves or backpacking stoves are permitted for cooking or during the overnight campout.

Evening programs   beginning 7pm (wear layered clothing)   PowerPoint slide show presentations:

7:00 -7:15 pm
The summer internship program and biological field research projects at Hi Mountain, presented by the summer 2014 Cal Poly student interns

7:15 -7:30pm
Condor nesting update by Vince Gerwe, Friends of California Condors Wild & Free

7:30 -8:15 pm
Movie presentation “Life in a Condor Cave” by Molly Astell, California Condor Nest Technician, Santa Barbara Zoo

Astronomy observations
Telescopes will be set up for observations of the evening skies

Optional Hi Mountain campout
Camping sites are available Saturday night at ‘Cypress Hill’ near the lookout.  Bring your own potable water.  No open campfires, camping or backpacking stoves permitted – extreme fire hazard

Monday, October 7, 2013

Open House Photos!

Thanks to Steve Schubert for taking a bunch of photos of the 12th Annual Open House event. If you have photos from the weekend you'd like to share, please email them to!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Open House will still be this Saturday!

There are some issues impacting the open house event this Saturday because of the government shutdown and our event almost got cancelled, but we are still on!!

Hi Mountain Campground is closed to all public access and no camping allowed, so all camping this Saturday night will be at 'Cypress Hill' by the lookout.

No campfire permits can be purchased so that means that not even backpacking or camping stoves will be allowed for use, but folks are encouraged to heat their food using the gas stove inside the lookout.

No smoking. Fire danger will be severe, with warm temp. and offshore winds predicted.

We must lock up the lookout/gates and vacate fairly early Sunday morning. The gate before the campground is being kept open for our event, but will get locked after we are out. We will need some volunteer help from those camping out with locking things up.

Please help out with forwarding this information to your friends, colleagues and guests to help get the word out. Thanks!! See you there!