Previous month:
March 2010
Next month:
June 2010

Yosemite's GreenPath is Getting Greener


Environmentally Friendly Lodging & Habitat Open in Yosemite Valley


Yosemite Habitat DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.  Visitors to Yosemite National Park should get ready to experience the best side of green with the debut of the Park's totally earth-friendly Habitat store and some very green lodging options.

With products ranging from tee shirts made from recycled plastic bottles and children's games made of soy, to organic snacks and solar powered water bottles that double as flashlights, the new Habitat store offers a range of affordable gifts, clothing and outdoor gear in a completely eco-friendly retail environment.

 

Operated by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc., Habitat exemplifies the company's award-winning GreenPath® environmental stewardship program. Its 1,000-square-foot interior is a floor-to-ceiling exhibit of green interior design and retailing. Habitat's display fixtures are made from recycled items that have been used within Delaware North Companies Parks & Resort at Yosemite's operations.


Yosemite Habitat Store DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. Throughout Habitat shoppers will find educational signage focusing on Yosemite's environmental stewardship projects, and impressive statistics about waste diversion, energy savings and water usage. A selection of phrases can be found throughout the store, such as "Yosemite recycled 28 tons of plastic in 2009. If you laid the bottles end-to-end they would equal 111 miles or the distance of over seven round trips from Yosemite Valley to Half Dome."



Habitat is currently open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning May 26, 2010, Habitat will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The store is located at 9015 Village Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389. For additional information, please call the store at 209-372-8453.


If this isn't enough green for you, the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls just unveiled two prototype guest rooms on the cutting edge of environmentally-friendly interior architecture and design. The two rooms at The Lodge are the first of their kind in Yosemite National Park.

 

The eco-friendly guest rooms were designed with an eye toward an eventual roll-out throughout the Lodge's 245 rooms. The prototypes offer an opportunity for Delaware North Companies and the National Park Service to evaluate the success of the overall design and gather guest feedback from those who stay in the rooms. An additional goal is the eventual certification of Yosemite Lodge at the Falls as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Energy Star property.


Yosemite Green Room Lodge DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. The "green" rooms are elegant...warm and welcoming. Here's a little something about all that's environmentally-kind on the inside:

Room Entry

A new electronic key card entry system integrates with the room's energy controls, using a lock that requires 50% fewer batteries than older locks, with the batteries lasting for nearly four years. After unlocking the room, the guest places the key card in a wall slot just inside the door. With a faint click, the key card activates select circuits that power lighting and electronics. When the guest removes the key from the slot upon leaving, the room reverts to its unoccupied, energy-saver state, automatically reducing the demand for power to circuits that feed the television and accessory lights.

Bedding & Linens

The American-made, 100% organic cotton sheets were produced in a solar-powered factory in Rhode Island. The bed's blanket cover, throw and window drapery are made from washable cotton matelasse.

 

Lighting

Handsome new steel wall sconces, pendants and floor lamps in the guest rooms  use energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, which use one-third the energy and last roughly ten times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.

 

Flooring

With fibers produced in part from recycled plastic bottles and a backing derived from old tires, the carpet tiles in the guest rooms add warmth and comfort underfoot with a small carbon footprint. 

 

Yosemite Lodge_GreenRoom_Bath DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc Vanity & Countertop

Produced just outside San Francisco, the countertop is made of 85% glass collected from curbside recycling bins. This striking surface alerts guests that there's something different and special about their room, especially when paired with drinking glasses made from wine bottles.

 

Furnishings

Richard Kollath designed a line of Old Hickory furnishings unique to the green rooms at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls featuring distinctive, inset bow tie joinery. Like other Old Hickory furnishings and accessories in the Yosemite Valley, this rustic, durable collection is made using mid-western hickory saplings - the hardest wood in North America (30% harder than oak) and a renewable source that continually re-sprouts from the same stump. 

 

Recycle Caddies

Kollath McCann's prototype divided recycling caddies were also made by Old Hickory.

Water

The new shower and bath fixtures in the Yosemite Lodge prototype rooms are high-performing, water-efficient models that will save nearly 5,000 gallons of water each year, using just 1.28 gallons per flush.


Paint

The rooms are painted using California-based Kelly-Moore paints with low- and zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds).

 

 

ABOUT GREENPATH®

GreenPath®, which began in Yosemite National Park over a decade ago, has since expanded to Delaware North Companies' 200-plus venues across the world. A sophisticated environmental stewardship program actively engaging employees at every level, GreenPath® ensures environmental considerations are incorporated into all business decisions. The program's initiatives are showcased in comprehensive recycling, composting and other waste-diversion programs, energy and water conservation, employee and guest interpretation and education, sustainable, local and organic food policies, strategic planning and partnerships, product purchasing and fuel consumption. As a result, Delaware North Companies is one of the first hospitality companies in the United States - and the first operating in a national park - to earn 14001 environmental management registration in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a worldwide federation of national standards from some 140 countries.


ABOUT DELAWARE NORTH COMPANIES PARKS & RESORTS AT YOSEMITE, INC.

The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and Wawona Hotel are operated by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, an affiliate of Delaware North Companies and an authorized National Park Service concessioner overseeing lodging, dining, guest recreation activities and transportation services in Yosemite.


Santa Catalina Island: So many reasons to visit

 Santa Catalina is waiting for Thee 

Catalina Island Avalon Green Pleasure Pier Credit Barbara Steinberg 2009 Hey you travel enthusiasts and lovers of all things California! Everyone talks about California's diversity as a destination. Do you really know what that means when traveling California? Beaches. Mountains. Deserts. Valleys. Vistas. Natural and man-made wonders. Urban and rural locales. Seriously, you can travel the globe in California enjoying every possible diversion and topography! Including islands!

There are a number of island getaways in California, but none more special than Santa Catalina Island. A trip to Catalina defines relax, renew, and rejuvenate.  And romance! Every visit is special and feels like a world away; each stay just as remarkable.

You know Catalina must be remarkable because there are only two ways to arrive: by sea or by air. Part of the Channel Islands, there's obviously no driving the 22 ocean miles to reach the atoll. The majority of people choose the water route via Catalina Express out of Long Beach, San Pedro (seasonal) and Dana Point. The other options from Marina del Rey and Newport Beach are a bit longer and have fewer arrivals and departures. Private boast of all kinds – motor, sail, and luxury yachts – also ply the waters to reach the protected Avalon Bay. Helicopters arrive on an infrequent basis as do small private planes at the "Airport in the Sky." You have to love that name!

California is full of unexpected experiences. And Catalina Island is at the top of the "unexpected" list. The comparisons you often hear are Mediterranean or Greek Isle...another country. It's all true. Terraced across the hillsides, the tiny hamlet of Avalon is the "capital" city of Catalina and the major population hub. An eclectic assortment of tiny shops, restaurants, cobbled walkways and colorful tile work create a visual delight. The other major island town, rustic Two Harbors, is definitely less urbane, but you certainly won’t lack for food, comfort, or the friendly camaraderie of other island guests and staff. Lodging options on this quieter side of Catalina include camping and cabins.  The 1910 Banning House Lodge is available for guests seeking more refined accommodations

P1040686  Back in Avalon, places to stay fall right in line with the diversity realm. From camping to luxury vacation rentals the choices are many. On a recent visit, ocean and hillside views greeted us each morning from a sunlit balcony at Hamilton Cove – a vacation rental community of fully-equipped villas. It was surreal. Mainland California is just miles away, right? Catalina Island Vacation Rentals at Hamilton Cove Villas offer couples, families, and friends lots of extra room to relax and a true feeling of an island escape. And always that lingering question, "Where are we?"

Hamilton Cove Villas have a variety of rental options sleeping up to six people. Spacious living space, balconies, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, full bath (one or two) and endless views of Catalina Island are standard! Fully-equipped kitchens and barbecues provide additional dining options – favorable for families. A small private beach, playground, pool, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, croquet, and putting green – does this sound like a dream? Plus, the rentals include use of a golf cart – after walking – the preferred mode of transportation. Avalon is a short cart-ride away. The fun just keeps on coming.

It's amazing to hear someone say, "Catalina! There's nothing to do there." Sorry, cross those folks right off the list. After multiple trips to Catalina I look forward to each return. The list of distractions seems endless and something new is always happening. A tour of the Art Deco-splendid Casino (Italian for "place of entertainment") is another of Catalina's many must-sees. Built in 1929, the ballroom hosted dozens of Big Bands and thousands of music and dance enthusiasts. Many Catalina Island special events are still held at the Casino including the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival every October. A new "Behind the Scenes Tour" was recently added, one of two Casino tours, both come highly recommended.

Catalina Fish Tacos on the Green Pier Credit Barbara Steinberg A wide-array of dining experiences fit right into the "island time" concept of Catalina Island. Relaxed and  easy. Options to eat "al Fresco" are many, particularly along Avalon Bay. What better way to start the day then with eggs sunny-side up on a sun-drenched deck at Antonio’s.  Grab something to go from the gourmet deli at C.C. Beau Deli before heading out on a day of exploration.  Oh, yes, the Airport in the Sky’s DC-3 Grill is famed for its buffalo burgers. If fresh seafood is what you seek...then your heart's desire is Catalina!  Fish tacos at the end of the Green Pleasure Pier are a must at Earl & Rosie’s/Avalon Seafood…a decades-long tradition…and one of the first places I go once my feet hit the island shore. Depending on your accommodations do a little grocery shopping, and enjoy an intimate meal from your very private balcony.

Wrigley Botanical Garden 2 Feasting on Prickly Pears Credit Barbara Steinberg The Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden is another delight from the already dreamlike island retreat.  The native plant gardens are impressive and showcase the diversity of species endemic to the California islands or, specifically, Catalina. The views from the Memorial are worth the hike – it’s an easy one – and the Art Deco architectural details will end any doubts as to Catalina’s exceptional attractions. You often find yourself alone in the garden, which presents terrific opportunities to reflect on Catalina’s beauty and peaceful nature. On a recent visit, a lone raven seemed to be crying out to us and followed our group up the stairs of the Memorial. Maybe it was the spirit of William Wrigley urging us toward the top to breathe in expansive views of Avalon Bay.

Every season is Catalina season. Check ahead for special and seasonal events. The flying-fish migration is reason enough to celebrate each July. Sign-up for one of the boat tours – you have to see it to believe this magical occurrence!  Plein Air, marlin fishing, silent films, jazz, wine tasting, marathon, and more; the list of events goes on and on. The shoulder months between the end of October and pre-Memorial Day holidays offer better rates and fewer people on the island.

Who said there’s nothing do on Catalina? 

Catalina Island Photo Gallery

 

 


Sacramento golfers should play through to Rancho Solano

There are many great golf courses in Sacramento. But what Sacramento courses don't have are hills. Let's face it, we live in the flat lands.  Sacramento golf fanatics should be let-in on the golf secret just 45 miles west atRancho Solano.

Rancho Solano is up in the Fairfield foothills, which contributes to its undulating fairways -- that translates to hills. Overlooking the Suisun Valley, Rancho Solano has elevated tees and large greens with well-placed bunkers. And the views are amazing. It was vote "Best Places to Play" by Golf Digest receiving 3-1/2 stars out of five. Incredibly it's a municipal course with a country club feel.

Voted a "Best Places to Play" by Golf Digest receiving 3-1/2 stars out of five, here's a great chance to see if Rancho Solano is all it's cracked up to be!

3rd Annual Swing into Spring Golf Tournament
Rancho Solano
April 23, 2010

• Regular and *senior division (55+)
             *Note: Senior division applies only if there are enough participants
• *9:00 shotgun start
             *Note: If not enough golfers to constitute a shotgun start, the tournament will
revert to an incremental tee time start.
• Cost: $49 includes green fee, cart fee, lunch and GREAT prizes!

• Registration deadline: April 16,2010

• Format: 2-person best ball. *Net score.
           *Note: If you do not have a handicap, please include your average dscore on registration form.

• Register at the golf shop or online at fairfieldgolf.com
For more information, call 707/429-4653

 After a round of golf, enjoy a little wine tasting in the Suisun or Green valleys. Celebrate your wins and/or losses. Either way, it's a great way to spend a day. Fore!


Redding eaglets and Justice makes three

Caltrans' Eagle Cam Delivers on Redding California Eaglet Triplets

   

It has been a very exciting last week in the Turtle Bay Eagle's nest.  All three eggs have hatched and there have been ample opportunities to watch the eaglets and their parents.  Below is a quick synopsis of the three hatchings, and the eagle's names as determined in the Caltrans eagle naming contest.

  • The first eaglet emerged at 7:22 p.m. on Thursday evening, March 25, and was named Peace 
  • The second eaglet emerged at 6:05 p.m. on Friday evening, March 26, and was named Shasta 
  • The last eaglet emerged at 8:55 a.m. on Monday morning, March 29, and was named Justice

For still shots from the nest and more nest happenings, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist2/eagles.htm

In order to view the live eagle cam feed, you need to have quicktime installed on your computer!  Many Mac users have been experiencing issues with their Firefox browsers.  Most have had more success with Safari!

Free Quicktime Download

Barbara L. Steinberg is amember of: California Watchable Wildlife

Caww logo