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Green Creek Wildlife AreaBy Robert Waldron
Californians wanting to trade the stress and demands of modern life for the quiet solitude of rich natural surroundings would not be disappointed by a trip down Highway 395 to Green Creek Wildlife Area, just south of Bridgeport in Mono County. The scenic route crosses lush valleys, passes cattle grazing areas, ascends to pine forests and ventures through a high mountain desert. From Highway 395, Green Creek Road leads four miles through rolling sage hills to the Green Creek Wildlife Area which covers 720 acres.
Purchased by the State of California in 1994 and managed by the Department of Fish and Game, Green Creek boasts many plant and animal species and is located in close proximity to many other attractive locales. The secluded Green Creek Wildlife Area begins at Dynamo Pond, a deep lake of incredible blue, and continues south, bordered by Toiyabe National Forest and Hoover Wilderness Area. Dynamo Pond originally was constructed for water storage to operate a hydroelectric power generating plant to supply energy for the now ghostly town of Bodie, a state park.
As close as it sits to many other California amazing natural features, Green Creek itself hosts a variety of habitats from wet meadows to montane riparian to riverine and even a fresh emergent wetland: all of which ensures that visitors will find something of interest.
Bird watchers may find blue grouse, bald eagles, mountain quail and various waterfowl and snipe active in the area. Those with an interest in mammals might find beavers and deer. Of course, the area is also inhabited by bears and mountain lions, which though illusive might have left evidence of their presence in the form of tracks and other telltale signs. Even more rare though possible would be the spotting of a Sierra red fox, or willow flycatcher.
Bitter brush and sage line most of the hills offering photographers excellent opportunities for scenic shots. The occasional Jeffrey pine or small aspen groves will offer some shade in the heat of the day, as well as tremendous subjects for film.
The upper portions of Green Creek meander creating excellent still water, and the secluded nature of Green Creek Wildlife Area means its perfect for fly- fishing. Skilled anglers have a good chance of catching brook, brown and rainbow trout, but with the clear water conditions be careful not to spook the fish.
A pleasure to drive during spring, summer and fall, visitors should know that Green Creek Road is impassible during winter months. Before planning an outing to the area, contact the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce at (760) 932-7500 or the Bridgeport Forest Service Visitor Center just south of town on Highway 395 to check on conditions.