‘A Morning Hike with Mark’ — Learn about the environmental legacy of the nation’s largest, hydraulic gold mine from retired State Park Ranger Mark Michalski | TheUnion.com

‘A Morning Hike with Mark’ — Learn about the environmental legacy of the nation’s largest, hydraulic gold mine from retired State Park Ranger Mark Michalski

Submitted to The Union

The Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins present August's Discover Malakoff! special outing — "A Morning Hike with Mark."

This interpretive program, the latest in the Discover Malakoff! monthly series, is specially designed to bring new visitors to this remote state park throughout the entire year to ignite interest and support for the wide spectrum of resources and activities available to the public at Malakoff.

The first hike will take place from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, 23579 North Bloomfield Road, Nevada City.

The Diggins is a unique setting and the site of the first significant environmental regulation in California's history. The Diggins Trail offers a close look at the landscape created by hydraulic mining and the natural reclaiming by plants and erosion.

There is also an artistic dimension to the fascinating geologic history, exposing a pallet of colors in the mine's gravel banks dating back millions of years.

About the hike

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The guide: Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park presents this special hike led by Mark Michalski, a retired State Park Ranger who worked 38 years for California State Parks.

Michalski has a deep connection to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park and its preservation. He worked as a Park Aid starting at 18, met and married his wife, Paula there, and has lived off of North Bloomfield Road for the past 38 years.

Early on he became well known for his gold panning tours and campfire programs including "The Shrunken Miner with Patrick, the Gold Sniffing Donkey." Seasonally he worked as a naturalist in Environmental Education, and park technician for the National Park and U.S. Forest Service.

Michalski received his degree from UC Davis in Environmental Planning and Management, with a specialty in Cultural Interpretation. He has developed interpretive and volunteer programs in environmental education, cultural history and natural resource preservation.

Michalski worked at Empire Mine State Historic Park and he was one of the first Rangers at South Yuba River State Park. He completed his career as the Museum Collections Manager at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park at Sutter's Mill in Coloma.

In retirement, when not hiking worldwide, he just can't seem to get campgrounds out of his blood. He's served as a lead campground host for the past four years at the California WorldFest campground supporting The Center for the Arts and he is on the executive committee for the Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins.

The folks at Malakoff Diggins State Park are delighted to share Michalski's deep knowledge and understanding of this special place for a fun, informative, experience. Every hike is different, and you never know what you will discover, but you're sure to find some precious gold in its walk through history.

Malakoff is also home to the still-standing "ghost town" of North Bloomfield. After the guided hike, visitors are encouraged to linger and have a picnic lunch, take part in the park staff-led town tour at 1:30 p.m., and gold panning demonstrations at 3 p.m.

What to bring: Water (2 liters), sack lunch, hat, sunscreen, camera, shoes suitable for uneven ground and wet (muddy) crossings. Bring a small backpack for your food and water. Please leave your dogs at home for this event, since dogs are not permitted on the trails we will be hiking.

Logistics: Meet at the Park's Museum and Headquarters in the center of North Bloomfield. To facilitate parking we'll share a short car pool ride to the Diggins trailhead, then hike approximately 2 miles, for 1.5 hours, with a 200 foot elevation gain.

Transportation: Carpooling is encouraged. Interested participants will meet at the museum/park headquarters. Accessing the park from Tyler Foote Road is recommended, as the shortest route via North Bloomfield Road is very rough, and unpaved from Edwards Crossing.

Detailed directions: The park and historic town of North Bloomfield are located 26 miles northeast of Nevada City. From Nevada City, turn north onto Highway 49 toward Downieville for 10.5 miles.

Turn right onto Tyler-Foote Crossing Road. There you will see a Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park sign. Follow the pavement (and double yellow line) for 15 miles.

The road name will change to Cruzon Grade, then to Backbone. When the double yellow line ends, (the road ahead is gravel) turn right onto Derbec Road and proceed about one mile down the hill to North Bloomfield Road.

Turn right onto North Bloomfield Road. Travel 1.5 miles to the historic town of North Bloomfield, and park headquarters. (This route takes about 45 minutes from Nevada City.)

For more information call 530-265-2740 or email friends.nbmd.publicity@gmail.com.

Learn more about Malakoff: http://malakoffdigginsstatepark.org/ and https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=494.

Source: Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Discover Malakoff! “A Morning Hike with Mark”

WHEN: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11

WHERE: Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, 23579 North Bloomfield Rd., Nevada City

COST: Free for the Guided Hike (donations gladly accepted to benefit educational and interpretive programs); $10 day-use parking fee, using self-registration envelopes. Pre-registration requested, limited to 25 participants. Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/discover-malakoff-morning-hike-with-mark-tickets-48229307156

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