Ask a Ranger

Ask a Ranger

For a while in Foothills Park we had index cards (remember them?) and a pen available in the lobby of the Interpretive Center. Ranger Rich Bicknell (retired) answered just about every question that was asked, from banana slugs to fossils to uniforms and politics. 

If you are curious about something in Open Space, please ask. We will do our best to answer. You can contact the rangers at open.space@cityofpaloalto.org

Meanwhile, enjoy these questions and answers.

Which trails in Open Space are accessible?
Revision Date: 9/4/2008
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Do you kill and stuff animals to put them on display?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Is there a trail [in Foothills Park] that has the Anna’s Hummingbird?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 6/25/2009
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What is "Ask a ranger"?
Revision Date: 8/4/2008
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Revision Date: 2/4/2008
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Are banana slugs native to this [Foothills] park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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A hundred feet or so inside the entrance to Los Trancos Trail in Wildhorse Valley, there is a large tall maple. Is that a big leaf maple?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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What is the biggest animal in the park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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What’s the biggest fish in the lake and what type of fish are in the lake?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Why are the squirrels here black but in New Jersey they are gray?
Revision Date: 2/3/2009
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Why are the squirrels here black but in New Jersey they are gray?
Revision Date: 11/11/2008
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Have any bobcats or foxes been spotted recently? When do they have their babies?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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How many bobcats are in the park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 6/8/2011
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What time of the year does Foothill Park have the most butterflies?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Are you allowed to camp here?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Do Chamise flowers smell like vanilla?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Do you have a chicken farm and/or a petting zoo?
Revision Date: 8/13/2008
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Why don't you clean your potty's more often? :-(
Revision Date: 2/23/2010
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Revision Date: 2/15/2009
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When does mom coyote bring her pups out? I have never seen a baby one here.
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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When are coyote pups born?
Revision Date: 2/3/2009
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Revision Date: 11/2/2010
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Did Dr. Lee donate land for the park? I remember him from the 1960's. Is that why the grove is so named?
Revision Date: 12/9/2009
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Where do I look for Dirca shrubs?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 1/2/2011
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Have any of the animals here ever been domesticated?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Where was Dr Lee's house located? Was it in the meadow? Was the meadow there 50 - 100 years ago or was it forested?
Revision Date: 12/30/2009
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What is the name of the black duck with white beaks in the lake?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Which flowers displayed near the fireplace are edible?
Revision Date: 2/9/2010
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Are there any endangered animals here?
Revision Date: 7/8/2008
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Please make your FANTASTIC wildflower display available to us – either: to take on hikes 1. digital photos on website (we’ll take it from there) 2. or in a book (we’ll pay a lot?)
Revision Date: 6/10/2010
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Suggestion: Why don’t you give out field guides that tell you what plants are on what specific trails? It’d spark my interest.
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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What type of fish are in the park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Why do flies and mosquitoes buzz?
Revision Date: 9/22/2009
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Are there fossils in the park? If so, what type?
Revision Date: 8/4/2008
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Revision Date: 11/2/2010
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Do you have any extra "real" gophers that are dead (taxidermied) so we could take one home to look at and we wouldn’t have to feed it?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 4/9/2009
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How big is a full grown raccoon?
Revision Date: 6/17/2008
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How long do deer live?
Revision Date: 7/17/2008
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Revision Date: 6/8/2011
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Are humans affecting the wildlife ecosystems here? If so, how and why?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Where can you hunt?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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What is the largest butterfly in Foothills Park?
Revision Date: 1/24/2010
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Great park! Great clubhouse/info center. Why not replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescents?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 11/2/2010
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What types of lizards can you find on the walk?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 1/2/2011
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What’s the loudest noise a squirrel has ever made?
Revision Date: 11/11/2008
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Revision Date: 4/13/2009
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Do you find the animals in the case shaped they way they are? Where do you find the animals? Where is the male ruddy duck?
Revision Date: 2/26/2008
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How come there isn’t a mountain lion statue up there? [On display in the Foothills Park Interpretive Center]
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Where is the most common place that people have seen mountain lions?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Is Mule Fat (B. douglasi) found in the park? Is that what I see in the drier areas that looks a little like small Toyon bushes?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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How come at day time we never see any of the animals. Are most of them nocturnal?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 2/15/2009
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How about building a trail from Panorama Trail to the [Foothills] park entrance? It is a short distance that would nicely close the loop.
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Are the park rangers full time employees? How do I go about getting a job as a park ranger?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 1/2/2011
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How does one become a park ranger or work for the Deaprtment of Forestry?
Revision Date: 8/26/2009
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Where do you find rattlesnakes in the park during rattlesnake season?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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When do red foxes have their offspring and do they have big liters?
Revision Date: 12/9/2009
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Do you have any red-winged blackbirds and/or orioles here?
Revision Date: 7/17/2008
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How old are the redwood trees in the Lee Grove?
Revision Date: 10/22/2009
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Are only Palo Alto residents allowed in the park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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What happened to the scale model of the park? Where is the scale model of the park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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When I was here as a boy, 60 years ago, there were more birds. Why are there so few birds now?
Revision Date: 1/12/2010
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Do squirrels communicate through making sounds with their claws on the trees?
Revision Date: 9/4/2008
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Revision Date: 11/2/2010
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What is the strangest thing you’ve ever found in the park? Have any famous people ever come to the park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Are there tarantulas here? I think I saw part of a dead one. How do they mate?
Revision Date: 11/27/2009
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What is the best way to spot tarantulas and how late in the fall can they be spotted?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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Revision Date: 1/30/2008
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How long have turkeys been in the park?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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What are the different types of animals in Foothills Park?
Revision Date: 2/3/2009
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What is the best time to view hawks and where in the park?
Revision Date: 1/9/2008
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Where are the animals in the morning?
Revision Date: 6/10/2010
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Revision Date: 4/13/2009
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Why is it called Los Trancos?
Revision Date: 1/12/2010
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Revision Date: 6/25/2009
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If I found a baby squirrel in our backyard (possibly fallen from the tree) what can I do to help them? Where can I take them to? Can I bring them here?
Revision Date: 12/7/2007
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