Interpretative trail to follow the western states migration path of the monarch butterfly
After months of planning, the Western Monarch Trail was officially launched at the Pismo State Beach Monarch Grove on Earth Day, April 2022. Informative panels installed by California State Parks staff are the first of many to be installed along the western monarch migration path throughout the western states.
The panels identify overwintering and nectar locations, providing information about the butterflies, the efforts to restore their populations and what the public can do to help. The panels at the Pismo Beach grove are in Spanish and English.
More locations at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, Los Osos, San Simeon and Big Sur are being announced soon. Other sites in Carpinteria, Ventura and Port Hueneme are also adding panels with more California sites being added in the coming months. Visit the westernmonarchtrail.com frequently for updates.
A declining monarch butterfly population has concerned scientists and butterfly enthusiasts since 2014 but 2021 brought hope. Approximately 250,000 butterflies were counted in California by the Xerxes Society during the annual count. This is a significant increase over the 2000 butterflies counted in 2020, but the society reports this increase represents less that 5% of the former population numbering in the millions.
Kristin Howland, executive director of the Central Coast State Parks Association (CCSPA) expects sites in Oregon, Washington, Idaho Utah, Nevada and Arizona to start Western Monarch Trail projects in early 2023. The enthusiasm from state and federal agencies throughout the western United States has been very encouraging said Howland, “I have been surprised by how effortless it has been to work with so many different agencies and how willing they have been to come on board.”
The Western Monarch Trail, spearheaded by CCSPA, is the result of collaboration with California State Parks, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Xerces Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Native Plant Society, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and many more agencies and organizations across the Western United States.
The Pismo State Beach Monarch Grove is located at 400 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach. For more information about the butterflies or the Western Monarch Trail, visit westernmonarchtrail.com or parks.ca.gov.