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HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue

New Book Authored by Former Lifeguard Chronicles the History of San Diego’s Lifeguard Service

San Diego, CA—San Diego is well known for its beaches, protected by the watchful eyes of highly trained lifeguards.  It is hard to imagine that this wasn’t always the case.  Michael T. Martino’s new book, HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue: A History of Their Service Volume 1 • 1868-1941, follows the evolution of the lifeguard services in San Diego, starting with the early pre-lifeguard years where citizens provided the aquatic rescues in bay and ocean. This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most significant events in the history of San Diego’s lifesaving service.

HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue: A History of Their Service • Volume 1: 1868-1941 | $19.95 | 9781941384398

The tragic event that spurred the growth of the lifeguard service happened on May 5, 1918. A rip tide resulted in the drowning deaths of 13 people, most of whom were soldiers stationed at Camp Kearny. An event commemorating the 13 victims will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station at the foot of Santa Monica at Abbott Street. The full details of this tragedy are fully documented in Martino’s book. Martino will be presenting the first copy of his book to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who will be attending the commemorative service. The May 23 event is also the official launch of Help!, which was 10-years in the making.

Serge Dedina, the Mayor of Imperial Beach, had this to say about the book: “Mike Martino has written a riveting and compelling history of ocean lifeguarding in San Diego that is an important look at the evolution of beach and civic culture in Southern California. Help! is a must-read for anyone who loves these beaches and the vital role of their ocean lifeguards in protecting visitors to California’s ultimate recreational destination.”

This very readable history of lifeguards along the San Diego Coast, is the most comprehensive ever written.  So comprehensive, in fact, that a second volume covering from WWII to present is scheduled for 2020.  Martino is uniquely suited to author these books as a former lifeguard who finished his career as an Aquatic Specialist, which is the Chief Lifeguard for the California State Parks system.

Commemorating the terrible event of 100 years ago reminds every one of the dangers of rip currents and large surf that continue to affect us today. As the beach season begins, what better time to review the ever important lifeguard message of beach safety that is so integral to the history of the profession. And, what a great read to take to the beach for summer reading. Martino will be signing books at a reception immediately following the ceremony on May 23.

Podcast “You Can’t Eat the Sunshine” Features Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Visit the link below to listen online or download a copy of the podcast to your computer.  An interview with ABDSP interpreter LuAnn Thompson starts at the 56:35 minute mark.  She highly recommends exploring the park with the Anza-Borrego Desert Region guidebook.

Episode #126: From Show Caves to Palm Canyons: Treasures of Southern California’s Desert State Park System

“Join us this month as we get an education from two devoted parks interpreters: LuAnn Thompson shares her favorite things about the landscape and creatures found in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Andy Fitzpatrick introduces us to the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, including the Route 66 roadside attraction turned State Parks resource, the astonishing Mitchell Caverns.”

Book Details How Kumeyaay Use Indigenous Plants

Source: KPBS, January 23, 2018
By Brooke Ruth, Maureen Cavanaugh

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Americas

The Kumeyaay Nation was once a vast territory, spanning the U.S.-Mexico border. For thousands of years, native peoples lived close to the land and learned to use indigenous plants for food, clothing, protection and medicine.

Some of that knowledge has been lost to time, but a surprising amount of it has been preserved in the memory of elders and now in a book by Cal State San Marcos anthropology professor Michael Wilken-Robertson.

“Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Californias” explores the plants the Kumeyaay use to make food, medicine and traditional arts.

Wilken-Robertson is giving a lecture and will be signing books on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center, 4355 Bonita Road. The event is free.

Wilken-Robertson joins Midday Edition on Tuesday.

Animal attraction: San Diego’s mammals get their own atlas

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, December 30, 2017
By Lisa Deaderick

Scott Tremor’s dad introduced him to the outdoors, creating a love of nature and research that later led him to study biology at San Diego State University. It was while he was studying mammalogy there that he noticed there weren’t very many resources on mammals in San Diego County. Fast forward 30 years to his current role as lead author and organizer of a new atlas on the county’s mammals.

“The San Diego County Mammal Atlas is a natural history of the mammals of San Diego County, the biodiversity of which is one of the greatest in the United States … this book covers the biology of all 91 terrestrial and 31 inshore marine visitors known to have occurred here during recorded history, since 1796,” he says. “(As a student at SDSU) I felt like there were few resources on the mammals of the county beyond a list, and that there wasn’t a lot of information on the natural history of the species. I think that’s when I got the inspiration (for the book).”

Tremor, 53, is a mammalogist with the San Diego Natural History Museum and lives in Pacific Beach. The atlas has been more than 10 years in the making, with maps, original photographs, illustrations of skulls, criteria for identification (including the echolocation calls of bats), and information on habitat, diet, reproduction, predators, behavior and conservation challenges. He took some time to talk about his work on the book, his passion for natural history and why conservation is so important to him.

Q: Tell us about the new atlas on the county’s mammals.

A: Many mammals of San Diego County face serious consequences from the continued growth of the human population and the expansion of terrestrial development, as well as increased marine harvesting. In a time of changing climate, with fires increasing and droughts intensifying, we are also seeing changes in the distribution of many mammals, including non-native species that may displace, depredate, compete with, or indirectly affect native ecosystems and species. These factors give rise to management concerns at every scale; land managers increasingly need better information to sustain wildlife.

This book is designed for use by land managers, wildlife biologists, scholars, and students from high school level and up. It is complementary to the San Diego County Bird Atlas, the San Diego Natural History Museum’s online San Diego County Plant Atlas, and the online Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California. Thanks to these scholarly works, San Diego County is now biologically one of the best-documented regions in the world.

Q: Why did San Diego’s mammals need their own atlas?

A: Given the complexity of our habitat and the onslaught of urbanization, San Diego County is home to many rare and endangered species. Facing threats such as climate change, fire, marine harvesting and land development, it is important that land managers have the necessary information to sustain a wild and healthy ecosystem.

Q: How do we know that “the diversity of mammals in San Diego County is greater than any other county in the United States …”?

A: Well, that’s a good question. Not all counties in the United States have been quantified for their mammalian diversity and it is possible that another county could take the lead one day, but to our knowledge, San Diego is currently the county with the highest documented number of mammals in the U.S.

Q: And why is this diversity in San Diego so much greater than other places in the U.S.? What is it about San Diego that lends to this level of diversity?

A: Being a coastal county, San Diego boasts a wealth of marine mammals as well as terrestrial mammals. The California bight (curved Southern California coastline from Point Conception to San Diego) draws many marine species in close to the coast, including a fascinating array of occasional visitors like the killer whale. On the terrestrial front, the amazing topography of our county has created both Mediterranean and desert environments, with a large number of habitats, which support species of many families. We also have a surprisingly high number of volant (flying) mammals, our bats, and we’re fortunate to have a dedicated bat biologist at the museum.

What I love about Pacific Beach …

Access to the bay and the beach and living in a very walkable community where there is always plenty to do.

Q: What is it about mammalogy that you enjoy?

A: I love the exploration of the natural world. Traveling to different parts of our diverse region and learning more about the animals that inhabit, and are unique to, our region is amazing to me. I love seeing so many different animals in the course of my work, and I really enjoy collaborating with the experts — so many incredible scientists who have dedicated their lives to one or more of these fascinating creatures. I am particularly passionate about natural history collections and the scientific documentation of our time. These collections are so integral to documenting and understanding our region, and contemporary collections are necessary to compare to historical data, but also to provide legacy data for future generations of mammalogists. I feel that in our collections, so many things are recorded that will undoubtedly tell the story of our time in a way that we cannot fully comprehend.

Q: What did you learn as a result of working on this book that you didn’t know before?

A: Although our county is better studied than most, I learned that there is a serious lack of information on many species. Although many remain, filling some of these knowledge gaps was fascinating. For example, I learned that the role of rabbits in the ecosystem is very important, and that the waxing and waning of grasslands is strongly affected by their foraging habits. Also, I learned that the ringtail (a member of the raccoon family) is more elusive than rare. The atlas inspired people to share data and report sightings of unusual mammals. Thanks to their efforts, we now know that this species is likely more abundant than previously believed.

Q: What were some of the fascinating discoveries you made in the course of working on this book that stood out for you?

A: The historical perspectives in the atlas are fascinating. Pronghorn, which look similar to antelopes, were numerous on the San Diego coast, foraging on planted fields in Point Loma in the 1800s. The last San Diego grizzly bear was also one of the largest in California and it was killed on Camp Pendleton in 1901. Some of the most fascinating contemporary data came from citizen science and the public. For example, for marine mammals, data from the San Diego Whale Watch gave us incredible insights into the seasonality and frequency of inshore cetaceans.

Q: What do you want people to understand about conservation?

A: San Diego species face many threats, and conservation of these species is an active and adaptive process as we learn more about the world around us. San Diego is a testing-ground for many kinds of conservation — including the Multiple Species Conservation Plans, the Habitat Conservation Plans, and Natural Communities Conservation Plans — which are all strategic ways to address the multiple threats to our region.

Q: Why is conservation important to you?

A: I think we are truly fortunate to have such great biodiversity in our county, and I feel it is our obligation to protect it.

Q: What does it mean to you to have completed a book like this?

A: I feel I have made a contribution to society, which provides a biological baseline for future generations.

Q: What’s been challenging about your work with this project, specifically?

A: Time. Having to sacrifice time with family and friends to complete this has been personally challenging.

Q: What’s been rewarding about that work?

A: I have grown as a scientist and as a member of the San Diego community.

Q: What has it taught you about yourself?

A: That with time and perseverance, I can bring a group of people together to accomplish an enormous task.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: Keep it simple.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

A: Even though I’m a terrestrial biologist, I love the ocean.

Q: Describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: A good Mexican meal, a bike ride along a quiet road, and a swim in the ocean!

Updated Anza-Borrego desert guidebook hits the shelves

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, December 31, 2017
By J. Harry Jones

For those interested in exploring San Diego County’s desert, there has been one widely accepted guide book for the past 40 years.

The Anza-Borrego Desert Region guide, published in 1978 and now in its sixth edition, has been updated for the first time in more than a decade.

Published by Wilderness Press and written by Lowell and Diana Lindsay, the latest edition provides hikers and motorists with new detailed charts, maps and descriptions of hundreds of hikes and routes through the 650,000 acres of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and adjacent areas.

“The biggest change is the hiking descriptions and charts we have in there,” said Diana Lindsay, 73. “It’s a mile-by-mile description as you’re driving down the roads, either the paved roads or the dirt roads, and it tells you at every stop what to see, what to look at, where all the hikes are.”

A warm-blooded look at San Diego wildlife

Source: San Diego Union Tribune, December 15th, 2017

By Deborah Sullivan Brennan

Mammalogist Scott Tremor, and Curator of Birds and Mammals Philip Unitt display collections of mammal pelts at the San Diego Natural History Museum. (Kate Johnson, San Diego Natural History Museum)

Around this time of year, birders flock to forests and lagoons en masse, hoping to top last year’s tally for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts.

While that century-long tradition helped establish San Diego as a hotspot for biological diversity, the mammals that share those woodlands and waterways have remained largely incognito.

A new volume from the San Diego Natural History Museum, the “San Diego County Mammal Atlas,” will help fill that gap, offering views of the county’s warm-blooded inhabitants, from bats to bighorn.

“This book is really designed to illuminate all the wonderful mammals we have,” said Scott Tremor, a mammalogist with the museum and editor of the atlas. “This county is more bio-diverse in mammals than any other county in the country. We’re finally bringing all this information together that has taken 17 years to compile. Hopefully, it will help people get answers to all the questions they have, and really open their eyes to what we have in our region.”

The book, set for release Dec. 19, follows the museum’s authoritative bird, reptile and plant atlases, and seeks to round out the record on San Diego’s abundant animal life. The 432-page volume includes all 91 terrestrial species and 31 marine mammals recorded in San Diego since 1769, along with rich images.

“All these wonderful photos help people identify, ‘Oh, maybe that’s what I saw,’” Tremor said.

Take, for instance, the long-tailed weasel: the sleek, russet creature poised on the atlas cover.

You may have seen a streak of auburn scurrying through a park or yard. Or you might not know that weasels live in San Diego. They’re here, inconspicuous but thriving.

“The long-tailed weasels I think are plentiful,” Tremor said. “The population is in great shape, and widespread…. They’re just elusive — you just don’t see them very often.”

Weasels are nomadic and voracious predators that devour entire colonies of gophers and ground squirrels before moving on to the next rodent buffet. And they have distinctive features.

“The black-tipped tail, the mask, the orange, rusty pelt and the movement — the slinky, sinuous behavior is really the giveaway,” he said.

Another lesser-known resident is the ring-tailed cat or miner’s cat. Not really a feline, it’s a relative of the raccoon.

“They’re just beautiful animals,” Tremor said. “The miners used to train them to eat rats in the mines.”

The atlas also highlights curious behaviors of some local mammals: the Mexican long-tongued bat that sips nectar of night-blooming plants; or the badger, which hunts in tandem with coyotes.

“The badger will start digging out a hole (into a squirrel burrow) and the coyote sits on the other end waiting for that ground squirrel to come out,” Tremor said. “Sometimes the ground squirrel comes out and sees the coyote, and runs back to the badger.”

Either way, one of the predators gets a meal, he said.

The tome also introduces the smaller mammals of San Diego. One of the rarest is the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat, said Wayne Spencer, a co-editor of the atlas and chief scientist at the Oregon-based Conservation Biology Institute. Their highly specialized diet has left them vulnerable to habitat loss, landing them on the endangered species list nearly 30 years ago.

More closely related to squirrels than actual rats, kangaroo rats have acute hearing and vision, with long tails and powerful hind legs that let them bound like tiny kangaroos.

“They’re beautiful little creatures, very gentle, very clean, seed-eaters,” he said.

At the other end of the spectrum is the minuscule, but mighty grasshopper mouse, a carnivorous rodent with daggers for teeth and an appetite for dangerous prey.

“They’re like tiny little rodent wolves,” Spencer said. “They even howl like wolves when they come out of their burrows in the evening. They have stiletto-like teeth for — it may be gruesome — killing other mice, insects and scorpions. They eat all these other things that other species can’t eat.”

Tremor had his own harrowing encounter with a grasshopper mouse, and another local mammal, on the eve of the Cedar Fire in 2003. He caught one of the little rodent thugs and popped it in a terrarium for photos.

“As I was photographing it, I was so excited,” he said. “When I looked up, I saw eye-shine 30 feet from me. It was a lion that was circling me. I just picked up the terrarium and walked backwards to my car. The animal slowly followed me, but nothing happened. My adrenaline was pumping. I let the mouse go.”

That’s the kind of encounter that makes mammals harder to study than other species, the researchers said. Many of the animals are nocturnal, they’re evasive, and not at all happy when they’re caught.

“We dedicate ourselves to often terrible hours in harsh conditions, very very hot, very very cold, capturing animals and releasing them,” Tremor said.

Even the larger mammals — so-called “charismatic megafauna” such as mountain lions and bighorn sheep — are also solitary or seclusive, and equally hard to spot and study.

The researchers hope the atlas will shed light on some of those animals, and help people see — and potentially save — some of the creatures they highlight.

Although mammals have gotten short-changed in the region’s habitat conservation plans, the atlas could help right that by illuminating the conditions and habitat they need, Spencer said.

“It’s a really good foundation moving forward for landscape planning that includes the mammals, which frankly have been somewhat neglected in our conservation work,” he said.

With detailed descriptions and distribution maps, it could inspire readers to explore new parts of the county to see elusive creatures, Tremor said.

“If someone went out to Borrego Canyon in the middle of the night, just to find a ringtail, they’re moving about there,” he said “We have this reserve land, publicly held open space, that will never be built upon, and harbors a wonderful diversity of wildlife.”

The book will sell for $49.95 in the museum store and online at http://www.sdnhm.org/. Proceeds will support the museum’s Department of Birds and Mammals. The museum will host a Nat Talk and book signing on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., the release date for the atlas.

Get to Know San Diego’s Fauna with the New ‘Mammal Atlas’

Source: Times of San Diego, December 4, 2017

The diversity of mammals in San Diego County is greater than any other county in the United States, yet there has been no synthesis of their identification, distribution, natural history, or the conservation challenges they face—until now.

The new San Diego County Mammal Atlas, which hits shelves later this month, will serve as the definitive guide to the mammals of San Diego County. More than a decade in the making, the 432-page, full-color book covers the biology of all 91 terrestrial species and 31 inshore marine visitors known to have occurred here during recorded history (since 1769). Species covered in the book range from the desert bighorn sheep to the abundant California ground squirrel seen in neighborhoods across the county to the immense blue whale found along our shorelines.

The San Diego Natural History Museum will host a Nat Talk and book signing on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., which serves as the official release date of the San Diego County Mammal Atlas. The book will be available for $49.95 at the Museum store and online, and proceeds will support the Museum’s Department of Birds and Mammals.

More than 40 biologists have contributed to this book, making it a work of the entire mammalogical community. Bringing it together as editors and authors are Scott Tremor, Drew Stokes, Howard Thomas, and Philip Unitt of the San Diego Natural History Museum, Susan Chivers of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Wayne Spencer of the Conservation Biology Institute, and Jay Diffendorfer of the U.S. Geological Survey. Other major partners include the San Diego Zoo and the U.S. Forest Service.

Although the book is focused geographically on San Diego County, it will be of interest to scientists, conservationists, and educators throughout the United States and Mexico. Readers will likely include students (high school and university), land managers, working biologists, amateur naturalists, and anyone with an interest in San Diego’s wildlife.

“San Diego County is a hotspot of biological diversity, species endangerment, and conservation planning,” said Scott Tremor, mammalogist at the San Diego Natural History Museum and lead author and organizer of the book. “But mammals have been somewhat underrepresented in San Diego’s innovative conservation plans, partly because of spotty information on the distribution, ecology, and conservation status of our local mammal species. The San Diego County Mammal Atlas is a highly collaborative effort to help fill these data gaps.”

Accounts of each species include identification, distribution, habitats, and aspects of natural history such as diet, reproduction, space use, activity patterns, predators, and behavior. They address the conservation issues each species faces in the county, including urbanization, habitat fragmentation, and the increased prevalence of wildfire. Techniques for detecting or surveying the species in the field are discussed, and key topics for future research are highlighted. A list of fossil mammals from San Diego County helps put the current mammal fauna in its evolutionary context.

Detailed skull drawings and photographs of most species help readers with identification. Maps depict localities of Museum specimens and the observations of biologists. Gaps in current knowledge are presented as challenges to inspire students and researchers to pursue in future studies.

San Diego County Mammal Atlas is complementary to the San Diego County Bird Atlas (Unitt 2004), the Museum’s online San Diego County Plant Atlas, and the online Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California. Thanks to these scholarly works, San Diego County is now biologically one of the best-documented regions in the world.

Anza-Borrego Desert Guidebook Helps Demystify California’s Largest State Park

Source: KPBS, November 29, 2017

California’s largest state park is in the Anza-Borrego Desert and covers 600,000 acres in eastern San Diego County.

The vastness of the park can be daunting, but the definitive guidebook for the region has been helping visitors explore the park for the past 39 years.

The sixth edition of “Anza-Borrego Desert Region: Your Complete Guide to the State Park and Adjacent Areas of the Western Colorado Desert” was released this month.

One of the authors of the book, Diana Lindsay, will join Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss visiting the park.

Lindsay and co-author and husband Lowell Lindsay will be holding a presentation and Q&A at Adventure 16 San Diego in Mission Valley Wednesday at 7 p.m.

 

 

The Journey of the Anza-Borrego Desert Region Guidebook

Source: Borrego Sun, November 16, 2017

Wilderness Press has just released a new 6th edition of the area guidebook entitled Anza-Borrego Desert Region: Your Complete Guide to the State Park and Adjacent Areas of the Western Colorado Desert. The first edition of this guide was originally published in 1978.

This new edition coincides with several 50-year anniversaries. Wilderness Press began as a publishing house in 1967, the same year that Lowell and Diana Lindsay, the co-authors of the Anza-Borrego guide, first encountered the Anza-Borrego Desert. It also is the same year that the Anza-Borrego Foundation was founded.

The Lindsays will have their book launch for the new edition at the Park Visitor Center on Sunday, November 19, from 2-5 p.m., with a presentation at 3 p.m. telling how this book came about and how this new edition is different from the previous editions. Their first presentation in the San Diego area will be Wednesday, November 29, at 7 p.m. at Adventure 16 Outdoor Retailer in Mission Valley with a “Happy ½ Hour” preceding the presentation. Other presentations are scheduled through the desert season, which include REI, Sierra Club, and the Borrego Springs Art Guild.

That first visit to the Anza-Borrego desert set a new course in the lives of the Lindsays. Lowell first saw the vast desert preserve while flying a helicopter during US Navy training missions over the area. In 1967 he brought a reluctant Diana to the desert who thought there was nothing there because why else would it be called a “desert?” Each successive trip introduced a new aspect and delightful surprises that continue to this day.

While Lowell served in the Navy, including two tours to Vietnam and as a Navy Survival School Instructor at Warner Springs, Diana attended San Diego State University researching and writing her Master’s Thesis in history and geography, which was subsequently published by Copley Books (a division of the San Diego Union-Tribune Publishing Company) as Our Historic Desert: The Story of Anza-Borrego Desert.

After his Navy career, Lowell worked for the YMCA in Orange County, during which time Diana and Lowell spent their free time exploring the Anza-Borrego desert. It was then that they became aware that the only guidebook for the area was old and that the author Horace Parker had no intension of updating it. They began working on their own guidebook and convinced Tom Winnett, publisher of Wilderness Press, that he should publish a guide to this desert area in 1978.

New editions of the desert guide followed in 1985,1991, 1998, and 2005. The latest edition is a total update to over 1 million acres of desert lands and adjoining mountainous areas. Featured areas include Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, part of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Bureau of Land Management recreational and wilderness lands, and more.

Desert explorations over the many years have led to several award-winning books that the Lindsays have written or edited, including: Anza-Borrego A to Z: People, Places, and Things; Marshal South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles; Fossil Treasures of the Anza-Borrego Desert: The Last Seven Million Years; Geology of Anza-Borrego: Edge of Creation; Geology and Geothermal Resources of the Imperial and Mexicali Valleys; Ricardo Breceda: Accidental Artist; and Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors.

Diana has served as a board member of the Anza-Borrego Foundation for almost 30 years and served twice as president. In 2013 she was presented with the Medallion Award—the state’s highest honor for “superior achievement” in volunteer service. She is an honorary California State Park Ranger. She was also Grand Marshal of the Borrego Days Desert Festival Parade in 2016 and received a resolution from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors acknowledging her contributions to this desert area.

Lowell received his master’s degree from West Texas A&M in political science, specializing in environmental education. He worked for years as a YMCA executive director and managed Camp Marston and Raintree Ranch in Julian, California. He is past president of the San Diego Association of Geologists, served as treasurer of the national Association of Earth Science Editors, and is an active member of the ABDSP Paleontology Society. The Lindsays own Sunbelt Publications, a regional book publishing and distribution company located in San Diego, California.

Former Park Superintendent Mark Jorgensen has called this guide “the bible for anyone thinking about visiting Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.” It is the guide given to new rangers to help them learn about the park. The Anza-Borrego Desert Region guidebook was written in cooperation with California State Parks, the Anza-Borrego Foundation, and BLM. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book are donated by Wilderness Press to ABF to help support the Park.