Our Environment

Gomde California’s environment is filled with beauty, and much of it is still in its natural state. As such, we encourage you to take care while exploring our land. The information on this page provides a brief introduction to various aspects of our land that visitors should be aware of. If you have any questions or concerns while here, or you’d like to learn more about the many beautiful spots on the land, just ask a member of the Gomde California team of staff and volunteers. We’re here to help!

Wildlife on the Land

Gomde California is still largely undeveloped, and the land is home to wide variety of wildlife, including river otters, foxes, skunks, quail, egrets, osprey, and eels. This is one of the great natural gifts of our situation. This region is also a habitat for mountain lions and occasionally a bear, though sightings are rare when the land is populated.

Here’s some general advice for when you’re on the land:

  • Be conscientious as you walk around. Stick to existing trails, deposit all waste materials in the secured containers, and do not leave any refuse out overnight. This allows us to maintain a balance with the environment and to live safely with the larger animals.
  • Please do not keep open food at the campground. All food and scented products (including toothpaste, lotion, and sunscreen) should be placed in the trunk of your car for safekeeping.

While on the land, these are some of the wildlife to watch out for:

  • Ticks: This is tick country. To reduce the likelihood that ticks will find you appealing, we suggest you wear light-colored long pants and shirts and use repellent on exposed areas. You should also do a daily tick inspection, especially after hiking wooded areas and at night. If a tick has attached itself to you, its head will be embedded below the skin and its body exposed. To remove the tick, flatten the surrounding skin by stretching it taut and wiggle the body in a circular motion until it releases its hold. If the tick remains alive, it may be returned to the woods (off-trail!). Wash the bite with a disinfectant or soap and monitor for red, tender, swollen areas which may signal infection.
  • Rattlesnakes: Yes, there are some. By nature rattlesnakes are not aggressive unless they feel threatened. Please walk mindfully on the paths. If you are bitten, remain calm and send someone to get a vehicle. If you are on your own, try shouting for help and wait. Only if no one comes you should walk to the nearest house – slowly, to minimize circulation of venom. Try to remain calm for the same reasons.
  • Mosquitoes: During the summer months there are many mosquitoes, especially in the evening. Please bring your favorite mosquito repellent. Long sleeves and pants are also helpful at night.

Daily Temperatures

Temperatures are variable throughout the day. Mornings and evenings can be cool and crisp; summer afternoons are hot (sometimes very hot, up to 100 F!) and sunny. Sun protection and hats are advised. Autumn days can be pleasantly warm, while nights get considerably cooler. Please come prepared with layers of clothing and a warm sleeping bag.

Swimming Safely

The Eel River runs through the property and is a wonderful site for swimming and sunning on summer afternoons.

  • Swimming is at your own risk. There are no lifeguards and river access is not restricted.
  • Children at the river must be supervised by an adult at all times.
  • The river is shallow in places, but deep pools are found downstream. While the river is generally calm, please use caution. River shoes or Teva-type sandals are needed to wade across the river to the best swimming areas.
  • The sun is hot and bright. Please bring protective sunscreen and be careful regarding appropriate exposure.

Beware Poison Oak

Poison oak is pervasive on the property, so please watch carefully. Every effort is made to clear all public areas as well as around the campground; however, we cannot ensure that you will be completely protected from exposure.

  • A sample of poison oak leaves is posted on the bulletin board outside the Sangha House during major retreats so you can see exactly what to avoid.
  • Please wear proper protection — light clothing, socks — and bring Tecnu soap and lotions to protect you from this plant if you are particularly vulnerable to its unpleasant side effects.

Fire Safety

Fire is an extreme hazard throughout California, especially in the summer months and early fall. Absolutely NO fires are permitted on the property. This includes camp stoves, candles, and incense.