Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Does Bogart Park have adequately paved paths to accommodate persons with limited mobility?
A: There is a concrete path that leads from the parking lot through the Day Use area to the restrooms. Otherwise, all paths are dirt and not rated “accessible.” Site #3 is rated accessible for persons of limited mobility. There are a few other campsites that provide “easier access” but are not officially rated.
Q: What is the majority of the Day Use land like? (Paved, grassy, gravel, sandy, flat, bumpy, etc.)
A: The Day Use area is a large, grassy meadow with some bumpy spots. Numerous trees provide ample shade.
Q: What types of trails are within the park for walking, hiking, biking, or horse riding?
A: There are extensive multi-use trails for walking/hiking and riding horses, including an 8-mile moderate loop in the foothills. Bicycles may be ridden on trails or paved surfaces. Trail users must adhere to multi-use trail rules/etiquette.
Q: How many playgrounds are in the park?
A: There is one main playground, with two separate play areas that are appropriate for children ages 5-12 years of age.
Q: Is there water in the creek year-round, and are campers allowed to swim/wade/enter the running water?
A: The creek is seasonal, but there is also a fishing pond with water year-round. Visitors are not allowed to enter the water of the creek or the pond at any time.
Q: What activities are available in Bogart Park?
A: Picnicking, BBQ, fishing, hiking, camping, horseback riding (no horse rentals).
Q: How many shade structures/shelters are available in the park? How many picnic tables are under each?
A: There are two medium shelters with approximately 6 picnic tables each.
Q: Does Bogart Park accept the $50 annual pass? If so, do you sell them on-site?
A: Passport America is not accepted at all.
Q: Does Bogart Park have an on-site store?
A: Bogart Park does not have an on-site store, but does sell firewood at the front gate.
Q: Do you currently sell, or plan to sell, CA State fishing licenses at Bogart Park?
A: No, fishing licenses must be purchased elsewhere prior to fishing at Bogart Park.
Q: Which campsites have the best shade? Which sites have little or no shade?
A: The main campground is generally pretty shady. Sites 11, 12, 17, 18, 25 & 26 provide all-day
shade. Site 24 has very little shade. The equestrian campground also has very limited shade.
Q: Which sites are “good for children”? (Near restrooms, open areas, etc.)
A: Sites 9, 10, 25 & 26 are nearest to (flush toilet) restrooms, but the entire park is kid-friendly.
Q: Which sites offer some level of privacy?
A: Sites 25 & 26 are more private than most.
Q: Which sites are best for tent camping?
Q: Which sites are closest to a water faucet?
A: Sites 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 19, 20, 21, 24 & 25 (see brochure map).
Q: Are there any exceptions to the 2 vehicle/2 tent maximum?
A: Extra vehicles are $5.00 per night; however, the limit of 6 total people per site is firm in equestrian areas but exceptions are allowed for groups in non-equestrian areas.
Q: Do all sites have a BBQ/fire ring and picnic table?
A: All sites have a fire ring and a picnic table.
Q: What are the rules/fees for arriving early to the camp site and leaving past the checkout time
A: Sites are not guaranteed before 2pm. If the requested site was unoccupied the night before, a camper may check-in early. Drop-in campers may be asked to wait until after 2pm before a site can be sold. Campers may check into their site early, if it is available. Check out time is 1 p.m. Potential late checkout depends on the circumstances. If a site is not reserved for new campers that day, late checkout may be granted or, if the stay extends more than an hour or two, the camper will be asked to pay another night’s fees.
Q: Do campsites have hook-ups? Do restrooms have showers?
A: Campsites do not have power/sewer hookups – water only (and only certain sites). The campground has one permanent structure restroom (no showers); there are several portable toilets.
Q: Is there a dump station available to campers on-site? If not, where is the nearest?
A: There is no dump station on-site; independently-owned dump stations are available in Cabazon or Redlands.
Q: What time are entry gates locked? Are campers able to exit and re-enter the park at any time?
A: Once campers have registered, they will receive a gate code and may come and go as they please
Q: What information is needed when registering into a campsite?
A: Driver’s license and vehicle registration.
Q: If a camper arrives early, or wishes to visit the park after check-out, is there a day use fee? Is parking available for trailer or motor home?
A: With the possible exception of holidays, there is no day use fee for early arrival or after check-out. Parking is available for rigs if arriving early; if staying at the park after check-out, rig must be removed from the campsite.
Q: How many rigs/campers can be accommodated in the group camping area?
A: The group camping area is for tent campers only and houses a maximum of 20 people/tents. There is parking for up to 20 vehicles. Group camping has a 3×3 large barbecue and portable toilet.
Q: How many horses/campers can be accommodates in the equestrian campground?
A: Group equestrian will only accommodate approx. 5 rigs. Sites 27, 28 & 29 are reservation equestrian individual sites with 2 corrals, picnic tables, fire rings and BBQ
Q: What non-911 emergency numbers should campers have available?
A: Camp Host (ask at front kiosk). The Riverside County Sheriff’s non-emergency number is 800.950.2444.
Q: How far away is the nearest grocery store and gas station?
A: Gas stations, various grocery stores and other shopping are located in Beaumont within 3-5 miles of the park.
Q: What other activities in the area are available to Bogart Park visitors?
A: Edward Dean Museum & Gardens and Gilman Historic Ranch & Wagon Museum.
Q: Does Bogart Park have cell phone and/or satellite reception?
A: Cell phone connectivity is adequate for most carriers. Satellite reception is usually good.
Q: What sorts of animals/wildlife are common in the park?
A: Deer, bears, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, raccoons, ducks, mountain lions…and occasionally, rattlesnakes.
Q: What precautions should be taken to avoid unpleasant encounters with wild animals?
A: Keep food in bear-proof containers/locked in a vehicle and give animals their space. Do not approach any wild animal. Injured animals should be reported to the rangers.
Q: Are there any animals that don’t belong in the park, and how should they be reported?
A: Dogs must be kept on leashes; loose dogs should be reported to a ranger immediately. Bringing domestic cats to Bogart Park or any wilderness area is not recommended.
North of the city of Beaumont, east of where Cherry Avenue meets Noble Creek, lies Bogart Park, a facility consisting of over 400 acres of mostly open space, some scenic camp spaces, and many large trees. It is one of the most picturesque parks in the County parks system, but few people today realize the civic-mindedness that went into the founding of the park during the depths of the Great Depression.
As a response to the horrors of mechanized warfare during World War I, the 1920s and 1930s saw the growth of several peace movements around the world. Many people throughout the United States and Europe believed that by trying to unite various cultures of the world, a greater understanding of different cultures would evolve, and warfare would be made obsolete. One of the many “foreign” cultures that people chose to study was the Japanese culture, since Japan was becoming a major international player in the post-war period.
One aspect of Japanese culture meshed with Beaumont agricultural well, and that was cherry blossoms. Beaumont and Cherry Valley were becoming well-known for cherries, as they still are to a lesser degree today. Hundreds of acres were planted to cherry trees, and the area tended to attract visitors from the Japanese communities in the greater Los Angeles area because of the beauty of the cherry trees and the resemblance of snow-capped Mount San Jacinto to Mount Fuji.
One person who saw an opportunity to use this attraction to bring visitors to the area was Dr. Guy Bogart, a Beaumont physician who had many close ties to Los Angeles. As an active member of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce and the Beaumont Rotary Club, Bogart was always looking for a way to promote Beaumont and potentially bring in further investment.
In 1929 and 1930, Bogart devised a plan to recreate an authentic Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. It would be an opportunity for people to see Beaumont and the cherry trees plus see authentic Japanese ceremonies and dancers. On the Japanese side, Ayaka Takahashi, the General Secretary for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, enthusiastically embraced the idea, saying that “many Japanese, to whom the cherry blossom festival is a fixed custom, often become homesick. A visit to the Beaumont orchards will help to bring back to them memories of their old home.”
The first such festival occurred on March 30, 1930, when the city of Beaumont and the Beaumont Rotary Club hosted the first official Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival held in the United States. The Festival was a great success, due in large part to Bogart’s prowess for advertising plus his many connections throughout Southern California. However, few if any realized that it would turn out to be too much of a success. At a time when Beaumont’s population was 1,332, fully 32,000 people descended on the small town, overrunning its hotels, restaurants and other tourist amenities. Many people camped along the roads in and out of Beaumont, and still others commuted from neighboring towns. What was clear was that Bogart had hit upon a tremendous idea, but was quite unprepared for its success. Therefore, knowing that he would need a better facility than simply some vacant lots amongst the existing cherry orchards if the Cherry Blossom Festival was to continue, Bogart began considering a more suitable location for holding thousands of people. It didn’t take Bogart long to find what he was looking for. North of Beaumont, where Cherry Avenue meets Noble Creek, there was a natural amphitheater that was big enough for what he wanted.
The area he found consisted of 200 acres owned by the Beaumont Irrigation District (precursor to today’s Beaumont/Cherry Valley Water District), and 80 acres that were for sale. The property was covered with Live Oaks and other trees, which made it a natural treasure. In addition, within the hilly area, there was a natural amphitheater that Bogart and others thought would be perfect for future Cherry Blossom Festivals. Bogart’s dream was to create a large county park on the land, opening the majority of it to picnickers and campers while planting the amphitheater in a Japanese style. To make these plans a reality, he and several other businessmen in Beaumont convinced the Beaumont Irrigation District to lease the 200 acres to the County for a park if the County would purchase the 80 acres, which were for sale for $2,500. Bogart approached the Board of Supervisors early in 1931, but at the depth of the Great Depression, the Board lacked the money to make the purchase. The Supervisors approved of the idea, though, and gave Bogart their word that once the money was available during the next year, they would Top – Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival at International Park, March 29, 1931 Bottom – Japanese girl dancers at the Cherry Blossom Festival purchase the land. Bogart, desperate for a location for the 1931 Cherry Blossom Festival, convinced 25 Beaumont businessmen to loan $100 each to purchase the land. The land was purchased, the lease was signed, and the second Cherry Blossom Festival was another great success.
Once the Board purchased the land in the summer of 1931, plans were made to formally dedicate the new park. In the post-WWI era, many people formed peace societies and made efforts to educate others about different cultures in what became an international peace movement. Guy Bogart was a strong supporter of this attitude, and suggested that the new park be dedicated to international peace. The Beaumont Rotary Club enthusiastically embraced this ideal. Therefore, on October 18, 1931, the new park was dedicated as International Park. This ceremony was attended by Dr. Bogart, Frank Miller (who constructed the Mission Inn in Riverside and had just dedicated the new Rotunda Wing to international peace), U.S. Senator Samuel Shortridge, and delegations from Mexico and Japan. At that time, the interior road was named Rotary Drive for the Rotary Club, and the hill around which the road leads (the long and large hill to the right of the visitor center after leaving the fee booth) was named the David Starr Jordan Peace Hill after the long-time peace activist and former president of Stanford University. In addition to the naming of various points, three cedar trees were planted atop the hill and named the World-Friendship Grove. One of the trees, taken from the Verdugo Hills north of Glendale, was dedicated to John Steven McGroarty, who wrote the Mission Play. After all had been said and done, the Riverside Enterprise remarked of the occasion: “Mankind came a step closer to making international peace and brotherhood a reality on a rainy hilltop of International Park here today . . . The thunder was not that of war but of peace, thunder of the rain that falls so that man may harvest rather than destroy.”
So how did International Park become Bogart Park? All things Japanese soon fell out of favor during the 1930s as Japan made continued incursions into China, culminating with World War II. After the war, the Cold War took over, and thoughts of international peace quickly declined. In 1957, the Board of Supervisors decided to rename the park to honor Dr. Guy Bogart who had done so much to make the park a reality. Few if any of the mementos of Bogart Park’s beginnings survive today – however, subsequent generations should be reminded of the civic pride that their predecessors once had.