Ask Dr. Norm

dr normHey all you hikers, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts: Please welcome Dr. Norm Herr, a local professor, who will answer your questions on this site.

We want to encourage you to get out and enjoy all the great open space in and around Santa Clarita, but we realize that in doing so, you may have some questions about things you see out on the trail.  Author, teacher, scientist, avid hiker and outdoorsman, CSUN Professor Norman Herr is happy to answer your most obscure questions about Mother Earth.  As you enjoy the beautiful Santa Clarita open space areas and have questions about flora, fauna, animals, rocks, etc., send them to Dr. Norm.  You may pose your question below; it will be answered on this page. If you wish to include a photo with your question, upload it to Flickr and share the link to the photo in your comment.

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  1. Hi!
    We are new to the area and I’m struggling to find where to hike! WE have a dog, and we live in Stevenson Ranch. Can you please advise where I can find a map that I can print out and that has details where to enter / hike?

    Many Many Thanks!
    The Bakers

  2. I am a writer and am researching Beale’s Cut. I have been trying to find Fremont Peak which apparently is the real Fremont Pass. I am also trying to determine which road was the old stage coach road.

    I recently found the back way to Beale’s Cut through the old refinery between the 5 and 14. The refinery area is now closed. Would you know anything about that.


    Don Moore

  3. Hi Dr. Norm,

    What are the differences between native bees and non-native bees?

    Thank you!

    • When people think of “bees”, they normally think of the European honey bee (Apis nearctica), but there are many other insects that are generally referred to as “bees” because they fall into the superfamily Apoidea which is a major group within the Hymenoptera. In California there may be more that 1500 native species of “bees”, but many look more like gnats or flying ants than to what we normally think of when we refer to “bees”. Colony collapse disorder is a problem with the European honey bee and it has serious implications for agriculture since bees are used extensively to pollinate the flowers of many agricultural species, particularly stone fruits such as peaches, plums, etc. Native bees also pollinate such species, but have not been raised for doing so since the European bee has been so effective. Research is underway to determine if any of our native California bees may help fill the niche that may be created by declining honey bee populations. If it looks like a “bee”, it is quite likely a European honey bee. The variety of native California bees is so great that one can’t describe them with simple descriptors. I hope this helps

  4. Does Santa Clarita have an Park GUIDE to local nature programs and events similar to Santa Monica Mountains ” OUTDOORS” found on ?

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