The inaugural cover of the Alpine Mountain Empire Community Orange Book celebrates one of Alpine’s most beautiful finds: Wright’s Field. Preserved by the Back Country Land Trust in the 1990’s as a part of a 230 acre purchase of native grasslands, Wright’s Field, or Mesa del Arroz, as it was once known, is one of the highest quality native grasslands left in California. In fact, according to the Alpine Historical Society, in 1848 this field produced more grain than any other area in San Diego County. Tucked neatly behind MacQueen Middle School off Tavern Road, Wright’s Field is rich in both flora and fauna. As many as 300 species of plants and 100 species of birds wait to be discovered along the preserve’s crisscross of hiking trails and footpaths. Sunflowers, buckwheat, sugarbush, canchalagua, Engelmann oak, coast live oak, are all here for your viewing. In addition, Wright’s Field contains the remnants of a ‘dry’ (unmortared) round-stone field wall dating back to the 1780’s that is believed to have enclosed a ten-acre orchard or grove. While most of the stones have been pillaged by centuries of homesteaders, the wall is still visible to the observant just as you enter the field. And, for the very fortunate, Wright’s Field offers its visitors a chance to see two rare butterflies, the Quino Checkerspot and the Hermes Copper, who find an abundance of their favorite foods in this field. Small in size but large in historic and aesthetic significance, Wright’s Field is one of the reasons Alpine is such a special place to visit and such a great place to live!

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