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See the monarchs up close

Posted: Tuesday, Feb 7th, 2017

A pair of monarch butterflies (Contributed Photo)

Local golf course to host guided butterfly tours

MORRO BAY — The Central Coast, as scenic as it may be, is unique for many other reasons. San Luis Obispo County, just one of the six along California’s Central Coast, is lucky enough to be home to the beautiful Monarch butterflies, at least seasonally, that is. 

Morro Bay, with its generally mild winter temperatures, is the perfect spot for Monarch butterflies to spend their winter hibernation. The butterflies, who generally reside in Canada from about April until August, migrate here.

On Saturday Feb. 11 and 15, local community members will have the opportunity to experience these Monarch butterflies and their groves in person, practically face to face. Guided tours, which will be hosted by the Morro Bay Golf Course Clubhouse, will take guests approximately 15 to 20 feet away from these rare and colorful species. 

“This migration is especially unique because it isn’t one generation who does it,” said Morro Bay Golf Course golf superintendent Josh Heptig. “The butterflies that make the trek here for the winter start to breed right about now - late Dec. or early Jan. It is the offspring in those eggs that  then travel back north for the summer.”

With hopes of eventually creating an actual trail through the golf course, similar to the path at the Pismo groves, these tours will act as an educational opportunity for the public.

“The butterfly population was very large when they first began migrating here,” said Heptig. “However as we have lost trees over the years, the butterfly population decreased, too. At one point it was nearly less than 50. Today, through efforts to protect the golf course and preserve all of the natural resources it offers, we’ve managed to get the population back up to roughly 17,000.”

For any questions regarding the upcoming butterfly tours, contact Josh Heptig at (805)781-1318.

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