PISMO BEACH, Calif. – The inaugural panels for the Western Monarch Trail at Pismo State Beach Monarch Grove were installed on Friday, officially opening the trail on Earth Day 2022.
The trail follows the migration route of the western monarch butterfly, with sites along the trail to provide shelter for butterflies during the winter, nectar to feed the migrating monarchs, and native milkweed to feed their larvae, according to Kristin Howland, Executive Director of Central Coast State Parks Association.
November marked the beginning of monarch season and over 20,000 butterflies were reported at the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove on Thanksgiving in 2021, which is 10 times more than the 2,000 reported in 2020, Howland said.
The concept for the trail came to fruition just under one year ago, and now visitors will be able to walk along the path and read signage that identifies crucial overwintering and nectaring locations for the butterflies while staying up-to-date on the migration status, Howland said.
It was born out of a brainstorming session while planning the annual Butterfly Ball in order to support the conservation of the western monarch.
"We were looking for ways to make a meaningful impact on the overall western monarch population that would go beyond just our local groves and overwintering sites," Howland said.
The trail is a multi-agency collaboration with representatives from federal and state agencies, non-profits, and private entities taking a grassroots approach to advocating for the western monarch, Howland said.
For more information about the Western Monarch Trail, click here.