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Great Hikes: Thanks, Woody!:

Scott RegbergMirror staff writerIn general, letters from the Federal government make me nervous. I figure anything Federal is too close to the IRS for comfort. This formal-looking document arrived that turned out to be from the Department of the Interior, which for my tastes is still too close to IRS, FBI, or Immigration (you never know when someone might be looking into my great grandfather’s official papers).The letter, it turns out, was a free bus pass. It seems that the United States Department of the Interior supervises the National Park Service, and the NPS has a Park-LINK shuttle system to bus folks around to the various parks in the Santa Monica Mountains. It operates on weekends and holidays and every hour or so makes the rounds to a dozen great parks. It normally costs a buck but with the letter that the US Government sent me, I can ride free until March 31.I don’t mean to make light of the free pass – it’s a good deal even if I had to pay the buck. The route is basically a big U-shape from Malibu Lagoon inland via Malibu Canyon Road, to Tapia, Peter Strauss Ranch and then to the coast along Kanan Dune Rd. You can park your car for free at the stops and then hop on the shuttle to visit one of the parks. Plus, the shuttles are pretty nice, 20 seaters with air conditioning and comfy seats. Call (888) 734-2323 or go online at parklinkshuttle.com for more details about the program. There’s even a color promotional brochure featuring happy folks getting on the shuttle, which I thought was pretty adventurous for the Feds.I’d like to express my personal thanks to Woody Smeck, the superintendent of the NPS for sending me the free bus pass; Thanks Woody! (Just don’t tell any of your fellow Federal friends where you found me).Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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