Habitat and History at Fort Ord, Monterey, California
- Help restore the rare Central Coast Maritime chaparral ecosystem at one of the country's newest national monuments
- Discover this hidden gem of land next to the Monterey Peninsula
- Enjoy meals emphasizing abundant local agriculture
- A group trip to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium
- A drive-to campsite that is exclusive & restricted
- All meals and snacks prepared by an expert cook
|Dates||Sep 29–Oct 6, 2013|
This trip has already run. Here are a few others you may enjoy:
- City in a Garden: Spring Service in Chicago, Illinois (Apr 27–May 3, 2014)
- Red Rock Eden, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (Apr 27–May 3, 2014)
- A Past to Recover: Service at Carrizo Plain National Monument, California (Apr 27–May 3, 2014)
To search our full lineup by destination, date, activity, or price, please visit our Advanced Search page. Or give us a call at 415-977-5522 to find the trip that's right for you.
The trip will be based at Fort Ord National Monument, now managed by
More than a million service people passed through Fort Ord when it was an active military base. We particularly welcome those on the trip who spent time at Fort Ord when it was an active base. Hearing their recollections was a compelling aspect of the inaugural trip in 2012. (See also the Sierra Club's Military Families and Veterans Initiative.)
We will spend three days working on the Fort Ord National Monument, which is managed by
We will assemble at the campsite adjacent to the
On one of the days off there will be a planned group outing to the Monterey Bay Aquarium at the historic Cannery Row in Monterey. On the other day off the group activity will be visiting the beaches around Monterey Bay and the ocean.
There are numerous alternative options that participants can choose to do on their own, either in lieu of the planned activities, or before or after the trip. Those wanting a wilderness experience can explore the 86 miles of trails on 7,200 acres of land within Fort Ord National Monument, or hike some of the rugged coastal peaks in the area that offer breathtaking views of the Pacific. There are multiple ways to experience the nearby Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary -- scuba diving in the kelp beds, going on a whale watching cruise, horseback riding on the beach, kayaking, etc. Literary types might want to visit the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, 20 miles to the east, which pays tribute to the Salinas native, John Steinbeck. For history buffs, several of the 21 California missions are a short drive away (Carmel, Santa Cruz, and San Juan Bautista). Feel free to contact the leader (a Monterey local) for more information on these activities.
The Monterey airport is less than 15 miles away, and the campsite can easily be reached by a short taxi ride from the airport. The campsite is accessible by a private paved road that we will be able to use, but is not open to the general public. The San Jose airport is 65 miles to the north, and the San Francisco airport is about 100 miles to the north. The trip leader will provide accepted participants with detailed instructions on accessing the campsite and roster information to facilitate ride-sharing.
Accommodations and Food
We will be tent camping in a site set aside for future development as a youth camp. You will need to provide all of your own camping gear, including your tent. Currently this is a very rustic site, with only an open shelter available to serve as our kitchen area. There is no running water (however, water will be provided), no electricity and no flush toilets (there will be Porta-Potties). Think of our week as a hybrid experience between car camping (the site is accessible by a paved road, which is closed to the public) and backcountry camping. This will be a great opportunity to see how you like a "backcountry" experience if you have never tried it. We will have the site to ourselves, with the exception of the occasional runner or mountain biker going through on one of the trails.
This area of California is considered the salad bowl of America and the options to purchase local, organic vegetables and fresh-caught local seafood are abundant. As much as the budget allows, we will use these local sources when planning our menus and purchasing our groceries. Menu planning also has to take into account that the only refrigeration will be using coolers with ice, some foods must be protected from animals, and only portable propane stoves will be available for cooking.
We have a group commissary with everyone taking turns in food preparation and kitchen cleanup. Our first meal will be dinner on day one and our last meal together will be breakfast on the final day, with the option of packing a "to go" lunch.
Before applying for the trip, people with food allergies and/or strong food preferences should contact the cook to see if accommodations are possible.
All service trips are considered to be moderately strenuous. However, our work will involve only light-duty hand tools and there will be a variety of tasks to suit each person's abilities. We'll each work at our own pace. Health and safety is a very high priority, and you are the best judge of your abilities.
Equipment and Clothing
The Monterey area is known for its misty fog, which provides natural air-conditioning, so it rarely gets too hot. However, October often has more sun than fog, and we could experience summer-like conditions or rainstorms. Prepare for all options, and plan on dressing in layers.
We will provide food and the necessary equipment for cooking. You will need personal eating utensils such as bowl, cup, and spoon. A plastic food container (preferably two) with a tight-fitting lid is necessary for carrying your lunch to the work site each day.
We will provide a first-aid kit for emergencies, but you should bring moleskin, Band-Aids, and Tylenol (or the like) for dealing with the little aggravations of life, as well as any personal medications you require. Please do not forget that all participants must have a current tetanus shot within the past 10 years. This injection is most commonly available from your doctor or at your local public health department for a modest cost.
A full list of needed equipment will be sent to you after you've been accepted onto the trip. If you have questions please contact the trip leader.
- Outings discount for military families: http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/military-discount.aspx
- President Obama's designation of Fort Ord National Monument: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/20/president-obama-sign-proclamation-designating-fort-ord-national-monument
BLM's Fort Ord National Monument: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/content/ca/en/fo/hollister/fort_ord/index.html
- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/
- Kayaking: http://www.montereybaykayaks.com/
- Whale Watching in Monterey Bay: http://www.gowhales.com/trips.htm
- Horseback riding on the beach: http://www.montereybayequestrian.com
- Scuba diving in Monterey Bay: http://www.scubadiving.com/travel/pacific-western/monterey-bay-calif?page=,0
- National Steinbeck Center: http://www.steinbeck.org
- California Missions: http://www.missionscalifornia.com/
- Palumbi, Stephen R and Carolyn Sotka, The Death and Life of Monterey Bay, a Story of Revival.
- Steinbeck, John, Cannery Row.
- Steinbeck, John, East of Eden.
- Steinbeck, John, Sweet Thursday.
- Steinbeck, John, Tortilla Flat.
- Uhrowczik, Peter, The Burning of Monterey: The 1818 Attack on California by the Privateer Bouchard.
We will learn about the different habitat types, such as riparian forest, perennial grasslands, and vernal pools that the
After the Fort Ord military base was decommissioned a large chunk of the land was given to
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