Photo by Bing Huey

Of the brushy shrubs covering the slopes in San Pedro Valley Park, the chaparral-type is distinguished by vegetation that is primarily woody, usually with hard, leathery evergreen foliage.

Here in the park the stands of chaparral vary in their composition, from stands of manzanita, mixed with golden chinquapin and California huckleberry, to stands of hazelnut, often mixed with ocean spray. In places, such as along parts of the Brooks Falls Trail, the chaparral can feel quite forest-like.

In other, more inland locales, chaparral is notably associated with fire, with periodic burns needed for maintaining and renewing the component plants. Here at San Pedro Valley Park, the abundance of moisture from the nearby ocean has suppressed any major fires in recent history, for perhaps as long as 200 years. Accordingly, plants that comprise the specialized habitat type found here have been named maritime chaparral.

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