Tips & Guidlines

Stowe Trail Permit

We have finally located where you need to go to get a permit to use the Stowe Trail.  Permits are only good for one year and everyone over the age of 10 must have one for walking, hiking, horseback riding, and biking.

Stowe Trail Permit will take you to the webpage set up by the Marines.

Here are some Q&A’s regarding the use of the trail.

Q1. What is the age required to obtain a permit?

A1. All U.S. citizens, 10 years of age and older, must obtain a permit in order to access Stowe Trail.  Approval of permits will depend on the results of background checks for adults and the completion of appropriate paperwork by all applicants.  Permit holders under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult permit holder.  Children under the age of 10 may access Stowe Trail with a permit-holding parent or legal guardian provided that the permit holder has a signed liability waiver on file for each child.

Q2. What will occur if someone accesses the trail without a permit?

A2. Persons who access Stowe Trail without a permit may be subject to citations, fines, and any other punitive measure as determined by the U.S. District Court. Specifically, these persons may be subject to a $500 fine and confiscation of property.

Q3. What are the ramifications of going off the trail?

A3. Persons who trespass onto trails other than Stowe Trail, and all persons who lack a permit, may be subject to citations and any other punitive measure as determined by the U.S. District Court. These persons may be subject to a $500 fine, confiscation of property, and loss of permit.

Q4. How do I know the boundaries of the trail?

A4. There are signs along the trail to ensure permit holders stay within the boundaries of the trail.

Q5. What is the helmet policy?

A5. Helmets are required while riding a bicycle aboard all U.S. Marine Corps installations.

Q6. Am I allowed to ride a motorized vehicle on the trail?

A6. No, motorized vehicles are prohibited from using Stowe Trail.

Q7. What forms of transportation are authorized on the trail?

A7. Activity while on the trail is restricted to recreational bicycling, hiking, and horseback riding; no intentional delay or other unauthorized activity is permitted.

Q8. Are there canine restrictions?

A8. Full or mixed breeds of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, canid/wolf hybrids, and any other canine breed with dominant traits of aggression, present an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of personnel on Marine Corps installations and are prohibited.

Q9. Can my permit be revoked?

A9. Any disruptive, disorderly or illegal conduct may result in the permanent revocation of trail privileges and be subject to enforcement by law enforcement officials and prosecution under U.S. code.

Q10. Are items prohibited from being on the trail?

A10. Prohibited items include firearms, knives, replica or toy weapons, pepper spray, mace, stun guns, martial arts weapons, or other weapons of any kind (regardless of permit);  alcoholic beverages; drones (i.e. quad or hex copters); lasers or laser pointers;  and federally-banned substances such as illicit narcotics and marijuana.  State laws regarding medical and recreational marijuana are NOT recognized aboard MCAS Miramar, including Stowe Trail.

Q11. Are trail improvements and maintenance allowed?

A11. Any modification or other “improvement” of the trail is strictly prohibited unless specifically authorized by the commanding officer of MCAS Miramar.

Bugs Wildlife

What in the World is a Tarantula Hawk?

When you hear of a tarantula hawk the first thing that comes to mind is that it is a hawk that eats tarantulas.   But you’d be wrong.  It is a spider wasp which hunts tarantulas.

Tarantulas have earned a deadly reputation as a predator capable of killing mice, lizards and small birds.  But the spiders are known to run in fear from the tarantula hawk.   The tarantula hawk wasp preys on its namesake, engaging in a ferocious battle that leads to the spider being paralyzed with a highly painful sting.   Once stung, the tarantula becomes paralyzed within seconds. The condition will last for the remainder of its life.   The tarantula hawk wasps then drag the sleeping spider – which can be up to eight times their weight – to a burrow, lay an egg on the tarantula and seal up the tunnel. The young wasp devours the tarantula in order to develop into an adult, eating the non-essential organs first to keep it alive for as long as possible.

Tarantula hawks have not only worked out how to successfully attack a predatory spider but also to reserve the best meals for their most valuable offspring. The wasps are able to decide the sex of their baby by choosing whether to fertilize the egg or not, fertilized eggs produce females while males come from unfertilized eggs.   Males, unlike females, do not have to find and battle tarantulas, they simply seek flowers and a mate and as a result they are not required to grow as large as females.

Females are not very aggressive, in that they are hesitant to sting.  So you don’t really stand a chance of being bitten by the fearless wasp, unless you do something incredibly stupid like handle the wasp… but the sting is extraordinarily painful.  The sting has been described as beyond imagination.  It only lasts about 2 to 3 minutes, but it is unsurpassed in intensity by any other stinging insect.

And if you do get bitten…

“There are some vivid descriptions of people getting hurt by these things,” says Ben Hutchins, invertebrate biologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife. “Their recommendation – and this was actually in a peer-reviewed journal – was to just lie down and start screaming, because few if any people could maintain verbal and physical coordination after getting stung by one of these things. You’re likely to just run off and hurt yourself. So just lie down and start yelling.”


Information courtesy of the BBC and

The photo below is of a Mexican Tarantula Wasp (Pepsis mexicana)

Tips & Guidlines

8 Tips for How to Hike with a Dog in County Parks

You grab your leash, and your dog automatically starts heading for the door.  He knows it’s time for a walk.    Now its time to learn how to properly how to hike with a dog.

But this time it’s no ordinary walk around the neighborhood. This time you’ve decided to go for a hike in a San Diego County park and you’re bringing your canine companion along for the journey.  But now you need to learn how to hike with a dog in San Diego County.

The good news is dogs are allowed at virtually all County parks.  The only exceptions are Wilderness Gardens Preserve and the trails at Agua Caliente.  Assistance or guide dogs are always welcome at all parks as long as they are in compliance with all regulations and check in with park staff.

Before you head out, there are some preparations to follow and guidelines and tips you’ll want to keep in mind to make the hike enjoyable for both you and your dog. (How to hike with a dog in San Diego County.)

  1. First, plan out your hike. How long is the trail you’re hiking and what’s the terrain like?  You should know your dog’s fitness level so you can match that with the type of trail you choose.  You can check out all the County parks trails online.
  2. Your dog should be up-to-date on vaccines and have a collar or been treated to prevent ticks and fleas. Also make sure your four-legged friend has current ID tags and a well-fitted collar in case you get separated.  If your dog does become lost, contact the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services.
  3. Make sure the time of day you choose to hike with your dog is appropriate temperature-wise. Unless you hike with your dog often and they are used to that type of rigorous exercise, they could succumb to heat exhaustion.  Dogs are much more susceptible to heat stroke than humans.  Dogs’ only sweat glands are on their feet.  If the ground is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
  4. Always have plenty of water for both you and your dog. It’s better to bring along a little extra than not enough.  You might also want to pack a few doggie treats and search for a shaded area to take your breaks.
  5. Stay on the marked trail. In all County parks, dogs are required to be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length at all times.  A leash prevents dogs from becoming lost and protects them from having an unexpected encounter with a rattlesnake, mountain lion or a sick or injured animal.
  6. Make sure to maintain control of your dog at all times. Dogs that are out of control or that pose a demonstrated risk to others may be asked to leave by a park ranger.
  7. Always clean up after your dog. Practice the Leave No Trace principles that allow everyone to enjoy our parks.
  8. If you decide to make it a weekend or an overnight in a County park with camping, the fee for dogs in camping parks is just $1 per dog per night. You must be able to furnish current license and vaccination information as well.

Know how to how to hike with a dog.

Hiking with your dog in a County park is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy a change of pace from your usual walks around your neighborhood.  If you observe the above tips and guidelines, you’ll be sure to enjoy your hike and some quality bonding time with your pup.  NOw you can see you really know how to hike with a dog in San Diego County