2018 Ranger and Campfire Programs

Pinecrest, Tuolumne County, California

Learn about the natural
world around you.

2018 Weekly Visitor Activities, Pinecrest Lake

Children's Activities, Campfire Programs, Nature Walks, Local History

Ranger led outings and Campfire Programs at Pinecrest Lake are under the direction of the Three Forest Interpretive Association (3-FIA). 3-FIA is a non-profit, educational organization that serves the Stanislaus National Forest, conducting campfire programs, the Junior Ranger program, and nature outings or activities related to local history. They suggest a donation for some of their events. All donations directly support their interpretive programs. Other events may require a materials fee, which is noted below.

Daytime Programs


Nature Detective

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, June 24 - August 5
Pinecrest Amphitheater
Learn to be a Nature Detective by searching for clues in the forest.
Ages 4 - 104


Where am I? Compass Orienteering

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, June 25 - August 6
Trail of the Survivors
Children ages 7 - 107 don't get lost! Learn to use a compass while finding your way through the woods. See map below for location of amphitheater.


Tall Tales and Silly Songs

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM; June 26 - August 7
Pinecrest Amphitheater, $5.00 donation
An enjoyable hour of interactive songs with BZ Smith, musician Peggy Reza and a band of story tellers. Great for all ages.

Nature Crafts

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, June 26 - August 7
Pinecrest Amphitheater
Make a beautiful art project using natural gifts such as cones, leaves, and rocks. $5 materials fee
All ages.

Journaling through Nature

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM; June 26 - August 7
Meet at Pinecrest Lake Trailhead next to the marina.
Improve your observation skills! Make a nature journal, then go explore! Great for all ages.


What's Buggin' You?

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM; June 27 - August 8
Pinecrest Chalet, about 1 mile up the Dodge Ridge Road.
$5 Materials Fee
Children and their parents learn about aquatic ecosystems. Also print a T-shirt with stamps depicting creature of the water world. See map below for location of Pinecrest Chalet.

Plant Friends of Pinecrest

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, June 27 - August 8
Pinecrest Lake Fishing Platform
Learn about and how to identify useful forest plants. Join in a guided half-mile walk. Enjoyable for all ages.


Weaving Life Stories into Baskets

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, June 28 and July 19
Summit Ranger Station
Arvada Fisher will help you start a pine needle basket while captivating you with stories of her Me-Wuk heritage.
Bring a chair if you like. For all ages from 10 to 110.

Me-Wuk Lifeways

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, July 5, 12, and 26, August 2 and 9
Summit Ranger Station
Carlos Geisdorf, a Tuolumne Band Me-Wuk, will share stories and lessons from his cultural heritage.
On days Carlos is not available, Interpretive Staff will take you on a cultural heritage walk.

The Impact Monster

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM; June 28 - August 9
Pinecrest Amphitheater
Learn how to Leave No Trace during this interactive time with Wilderness Rangers and Interpretive Staff.
Excellent for all ages.


Trees and Trails

9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, June 29, July 20, and August 3
Summit Ranger Station
Learn about the wisdom of nature on ranger-led adventures in the forest. Program lasts from 2 to 4 hours. Gas up your car, pack a lunch, water, and wear good walking shoes. For information on this week's destination, call the Summit Ranger Station (209) 965-3434.

Roadside Geology

10:00 AM to 2:00 PM; July 6 and August 10
Meet at Columns of the Giants, a 40-minute drive east on Highway 108. Carpooling is encourages.
Learn from Columbia College Professor Glen White about Sonora Pass geology on a multi-stop driving tour. Bring a lunch. All ages.


Cowboy Coffee

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, June 30 - August 11
Pinecrest Amphitheater
Sit around the fire and sip coffee while listening to stories, histories, and legends. Bring a chair. Good for all ages.

Painting with a Ranger

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, June 30 - August 11
Meet at Donnell Vista, 17 miles east on Highway 108.
Try out some plein air (outdoor) art with the Interpretive Staff. Bring your own art supplies if you have them. For all ages.

Map of Pinecrest area


Pinecrest Amphitheater Evening Programs

Besides the Monday and Wednesday night programs, join rangers on other movie nights at 8:00 PM for a lively 15-minute program before the movie. Topics are always a surprise. Monday programs are from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM, Wednesday programs run from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. A $2 donation is suggested for some programs.

Monday and Wednesday Night Programs

Monday, June 25

Common Birds of the Sierra Nevada

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Join Barry Boulton, President of the Central Sierra Audubon Society, for a discussion of Sierra birds. Photos, video, and audio will make it a multisensory experience.

Wednesday, June 27 and July 4

Ranger's Choice

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Interpretive Staff share what they love about the Forest? Look for the program flyers for this week’s topic.

Monday, July 2

A Rocky History

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Join Professor Jeffrey W. Tolhurst of Columbia College tells the story of how the mountains of the Central Sierra came to be.

Monday, July 9

Batty About Our Insect-Eating Friends

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
NorCal Bats offers a program about the importance of bats in our environment. Learns about facts and myths surrounding bats. See live bats.
($2.00 donation.)

Wednesday, July 11

Tales of the Mother Lode

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Listen to Hard Luck Lin spin her tales of life during the Gold Rush. ($2 donation)

Monday, July 16

Fire in the West

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Resource Information Specialist for the forest. Carly Gibson, explains about the importance of fire in our ecosystem.

Wednesday, July 18

Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Singers and Dancers

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Me-Wuk tribe members share their cultural traditions through song and dance. ($2.00 donation.)

Monday, July 23

Python Ron

Special 7:00 PM start
Ron McGee shares his passion for re[tiles and remind us all to let wildlife be wild.

Wednesday, July 25

Ranger's Choice

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Interpretive Staff share what they love about the Forest? Look for the program flyers for this week’s topic.

Monday, July 30

Stepping into Wilderness

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Join Forest Wilderness Manager Joel Silverman to learn about these the Emigrant and Carson Iceberg wildernesses and what you can help to keep them wild.

Wednesday, August 1

Wild Things

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Rescued California birds and mammals - learn about their care and how to allow wildlife to remain wild.

Monday, August 6

Fire & Floods" Nature's Power in our National Forests

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Join Deputy Forest Supervisor Scott Tangenberg for a look at California’s recent fires and the powerful floods that followed them.

Wednesday, Aug. 8

Ranger's Choice

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Interpretive Staff share what they love about the Forest? Look for the program flyers for this week’s topic.

Star Gazing at Bald Mountain


Study the heavens from the Bald Mountain Heliport 7 miles west on Highway 108 from Pinecrest. Enjoy an evening of astronomy. Bring a chair and a blanket. Program may be canceled due to fire activity or weather. Call Summit Ranger Station to confirm.
9:00 PM - 10:00 PM, July 6 and 13, August 10