In 1968, Branch Memorial Park and Pond were constructed and named in honor of Maj. Gen. Irving L. “Twig” Branch who was killed when his T-38 crashed into Pugent Sound, Wash., in 1966.
Branch was commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center from 1961 until the time of his crash. Construction was made possible due to generous donations received from Edwards Air Force Base personnel and local community businesses.
Branch Pond was once used as a training site by the base survival school.
This secluded recreational asset is open every day for enjoyment by military families and base personnel. It is located off of Lancaster Blvd. just before you reach the South Gate. Head south on Lancaster and turn right onto Branch Memorial Park Road.
Several species of migratory birds can be spotted coming and going at the 14-acre park and 5-acre pond throughout the year.
This area is a great location for bird watching, hiking, and enjoying nature. The pond is stocked with catfish, bass and blue gill twice each year. If you are interested in fishing, Outdoor Recreation issues annual base fishing permits for $15 per person. Children under the age of 16 are not required to purchase a fishing permit but must have a permitted adult with them.
A California state fishing license is not required to fish at Branch Pond. Anglers are permitted to keep three fish per day (type and length requirements are posted at the pond). If you don’t own fishing equipment, Outdoor Recreation has an ample supply of fishing poles, nets, collapsible buckets and coolers available for rent.
Branch Memorial Park is a great location for enjoying a nice quiet lunch break, a family picnic, or hosting a squadron or birthday party. In addition to the numerous barbeque grills, playground equipment, and large shade trees, it also has six covered pavilions containing a total of 18 picnic tables. If desired, the park can also be rented for exclusive use at $25 per day. Camping is also permitted at the park and can be booked for $5 per day. Contact Outdoor Recreation at (661) 275-RENT for more information.
This beautiful asset is often forgotten or unknown due to its secluded location. To help bring awareness to the park and pond, the 412th Force Support Squadron and Outdoor Recreation plans to supply the pond with fish for a family fishing derby.
“It is truly an honor to be re-energizing the Edwards AFB family fishing day derby,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Wallace, 412th Mission Support Group deputy commander. “This event is put on to promote the outdoors, get families and children involved in the outdoor recreation opportunities and programs we have on base, and promote the wonderful resource that is Branch Park.
Having a place families and children can go fishing in the desert is truly an incredible privilege. I hope all families can come out and enjoy this awesome opportunity.”
The derby is currently set for Saturday, Nov. 17th and will be a free day of fishing. Fishing permits will NOT be required for the derby. Additional information will follow as the planning proceeds, but all military families and personnel with base access are invited to participate. The planning committee hopes to make this event completely free to include food and prizes.
The key will be volunteers and donations. If you are interested in volunteering or donating, contact Stephanie Vaughn at (661) 202-8765 or firstname.lastname@example.org.