While camping at Idyllwild Park last August, and after moving to Idyllwild last October, I discovered the wonderful trails within the park’s over 200 acres.

I live near the park’s western end and hike the trails or walk the paved road nearly every morning or evening with my leashed dog.

Riverside County Parks requests a day use fee. Although small, I frequently meet Idyllwild residents who believe they’re exempt and walk early or late to avoid the park ranger.

Maybe they don’t realize that, in lieu of the day use fees, they can purchase an annual membership with Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks.

The membership provides access to the county park facilities and to the Hillside, Summit, Perimeter and Nature Center trails for a year. It also grants free admission to the Nature Center, to all programs and events, invitations to the semi-annual potluck dinner, and a 10-percent discount on all items in the Nature Center shop. Members also receive the Tahquitz Telegram newsletter, publicizing upcoming events. And memberships are tax deductible.

Finally, the membership supports the Friends, which offer a variety of natural history interpretive programs, exhibits, equipment and resources for Idyllwild residents, school groups and visiting families, to engender an appreciation for the San Jacinto Mountains and for nature in general. What better way to ensure that the natural beauty of Idyllwild is preserved?

The annual family membership works out to less than 10 cents a day, something even those on a fixed income can afford. Higher donation categories and volunteer opportunities are available.

Pay up, Idyllwild!

Kathy Keane