Edition
May 16, 2014

FOOW walkers take another trek into history

By Sharon Rice, Editor, The Friday Flyer


Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Photos by Sharon Rice

Article

The Friends Out of Water (FOOW) walking group has had some interesting excursions lately. Last week, members walked on the Lake Elsinore levee; the week before they took a jaunt over to the new Audie Murphy development to see the new sports park. This week they visited Leigh Martel's turtle and tortoise sanctuary in Canyon lake, though they made sure to get in their hour's worth of walking to do so.

It was the April 24 walk, however, that brought out a bigger-than-usual crowd of walkers, primarily because they were to be accompanied by Canyon Lake resident Paul Price, an authority on the Luiseņo village site that was their destination.

Paul grew up on a ranch in the area northwest of Canyon Lake known as Meadowbrook. As a youth, he explored the area extensively and became so familiar with the early Native American sites in western Riverside County, that by the time he was a student at Perris High School, he was asked to join a survey team of university professors studying 87 archeological sites in the area.

Although he went on to pursue a highly successful career in commercial art, Paul maintained his ties with local archeologists and members of the Pechanga band of Luiseņo Indians and began volunteering his time to teach the Pechanga their own history and culture. He became a strong advocate for the preservation of archeological sites, and grew in favor with the Pechanga elders.

When it came time to expand the Pechanga Casino into an upscale resort, the tribal elders insisted that Paul be the sole artist in charge of representing the Pechanga culture in the form of paintings, drawings, murals, sculptures and design elements at the four-star resort.

These days, Paul is active in local historical groups and boards. He registered several Southwest Riverside County archaeological sites with the state, painstaking work that won him recognition from the San Bernardino County Museum. His site preservation work also garnered recognition from the California State Parks system.

One of the lesser known archeological sites is within a stone's throw of Canyon Lake, behind Goetz Hill. To get there, the two-dozen walkers parked at the Country Club and walked down the dirt road that leads past the Golf Course maintenance yard. In doing so, they entered a world of large boulders, a running stream, native and non-native plant life and dusty earth sprinkled with tools created by the Luiseņo who once made their camps along the San Jacinto River.

During the two-hour walk, Paul pointed out trees and plants that could have served as food, and picked up an occasional implement half-buried in the dirt to show how it had been made from non-native stone for scraping animal skins, etc. The final destination was the bedrock mortars in a large boulder on the back side of Goetz Hill, where women once ground acorns and seeds.

Though they had to cross a stream and scramble over rocks and boulders, those on the walk agreed it was both surprising and rewarding to find a little bit of nature and ancient history in their own back yard.