Aside from giving nature lectures, Horn and four or five other rangers are responsible for maintaining law and order. This means enforcing quiet hours after 10 p.m. and making sure that pets aren't brought into the park; their scent scares away indigenous wildlife. Occasionally, Horn says, a cooler will be stolen, usually by kids looking for beer. Cars parked by surfers on PCH sometimes get swiped or broken into.
Teen-agers, Horn says, like to party in the canyon. "We pour (out) a lot of beer and either cite for or confiscate marijuana," he says. During Easter weekend, "We definitely had near-riot conditions" because of "a major gathering" of kids, perhaps gang members, Horn says. "We've had a little bit of everything here."
Except the cunning and elusive mountain lion. Although deer are common and reminders of other animals are found along the trails--Horn has yet to cross paths with the big cat. But, he says, "Reliable sources have told me that a mountain lion or two are in the range."
Directions to Sycamore Canyon: 101 to Kanan-Dume Road, west to Pacific Coast Highway, north about 15 miles to ranger station. Overnight camping fee: $12. Day use: $4. Hot showers, flush toilets, on-site water, RV dump station. Reservations necessary. Call 1-800-444-7275.