About Us

Our Squirrel Connection

In 1986-1987 a writer for the San Bernardino Sun requested a proposal for a legal squirrel hunting season in the San Bernardino Mountains. Luther Schwartzkopf (Chair) and George Heseman (Conservation Chairman) of the relatively new Mountains Group traveled with a delegation to San Francisco to persuade the Commission to stop the hunt. Based on their testimony and 20,000 protest signatures, the Fish and Game Commission rejected the proposal, a decision that was supported by the Board of Supervisors.

An article in the June 25th, 1987, Mountain News and Mountaineer, states that "because mountain residents and Sierra Club members were successful in preventing the hunting of the squirrel in Southern California, Sierra Club Mountains' Group members chose the squirrel as their logo." Later, the Group named its newsletter Squirrel Tracks to commemorate the victory.

Squirrel Facts

The little critter we see scurrying in and around our trees here is the Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus). His habitat ranges from Washington through Southern California. While other squirrel species produce more offspring in good times to make up for losses in lean times, the Western Gray appears to have limited ability to do so, partly because they breed only once a year. (Eastern squirrels breed twice a year.) 

The Western Grays live in older mixed forests of oak, pine and/or firs with interconnected tree canopies, nesting in the top third of large trees. They build their nests with leaves and twigs, and line them with lichen, moss and bark shavings. Their cuisine  consists of pine nuts, acorns, nuts, berries, fungi, green vegetation and insects. 

There is a difference in how the Gray Squirrel and the Red Squirrel gather and store their food. This difference is important in the regeneration of forest. The Gray Squirrel buries their hoarded acorns, nuts and seeds, and some of this buried treasure sprouts. The Red Squirrel, on the other hand, hoards it food supply in large piles, which of course is less conducive to forest growth.

Other squirrels in the San Bernardino National forest are the San Bernardino Flying Squirrel, a species of special concern, and the California Ground Squirrel.

The original meaning of the word squirrel is shadow tail. The word comes from the Greek skiouros, a combination of skia (shadow, shade) and oura (tail).

Squirrel Links