Marin County Department of Parks & Open Space 3501 CIVIC CENTER DRIVE, ROOM 260 SAN RAFAEL, CA 94903 WWW.MARINPARKS.ORG 415 499 6387 Discover News and Events Winter 2010 Stop the Presses! Parks & Open Space is joining other Marin County departments in efforts to reduce the consumption of resources used to print and distribute hard copy publications. Future editions of our News & Events will be available via email and through our new website. Only a limited number of hard copies will be produced.* Don’t be left out! Subscribe electronically now by contacting Quianne Hunter at (415) 507-2818 or email@example.com. Our new look Welcome to Parks & Open Space’s newly redesigned newsletter. As the seasons change throughout the year, our quarterly News & Events will change with them, reflecting the colors, moods, and natural cycles of Marin County’s parks and preserves. This first edition provides a sneak peek of the Parks and Open Space’s redesigned website, which will launch and roll out in phases in 2010. Creekside Park Renovation Plan Visit marinparks.org for the latest news. Design, development, and construction drawings are underway now. Renovation will begin in spring 2010 and will be completed by October 2010. For information, contact Principal Park Planner Steve Petterle at (415) 499-6387 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Keeping Bay Area Nature Within Reach If you hike, bike, boat, camp, fly kites, picnic or otherwise enjoy open space in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Area license plate project is just the opportunity to continue our region’s land preservation legacy. The state is considering the sale of a new license plate to generate funds for open space projects in Marin and the other eight Bay Area counties. Replace your plain license plate with one that looks like the above image by registering at bayarealicenseplate.org. Your $50 contribution will help protect natural lands and waterways; restore wetlands and improve water quality; provide picnic areas, campgrounds, and educational centers; complete regional trails; and preserve open space, farmland, and rangeland. This is a great holiday gift! Vegetation & Biodiversity Management Plan Update The Marin County Open Space District is developing a Vegetation & Biodiversity Management Plan (VBMP) to address the increasing threats of fire fuel loading and invasive species, and the preservation of native species. The first public meeting was held in June to introduce the public to the challenges facing the District and to present the goals and the schedule for this overarching plan. The District will host public meetings in January 2010 in the north, central, and southern areas of the county (locations to be determined). The focus of the meetings will be to discuss draft goals and objectives, and the approach for selecting from a range of vegetation management strategies. Please visit marinopenspace.org and click on the “Vegetation & Biodiversity Management Plan” link to find out meeting locations, times, and agenda and to learn about the VBMP. Partnering to Restore Old St. Hilary’s Preserve Those of you who’ve struggled with keeping a neighbor’s ivy or periwinkle out of your yard, or keeping yours under control, understand the importance of neighborly relations. Parks & Open Space is no exception. Establishing partnerships is vital to taking good care of the land. We’re happy to report that we’re partnering with Marinero Owner’s Association this winter to share the cost of removing invasive plants along our common boundary. And our neighbors to the south, the Tiburon Peninsula Club, are assigning two employees to join our annual Broom Busting Workday on December 5th. Program Accommodations Programs and/or the location may have limited accessibility to persons with disabilities. If you require program accommodations to participate in an activity, or materials in alternate formats, contact Steve Petterle, not less than four work days in advance of the event, at (415) 499-6387, TTY (415) 473-2495, CRS dial 711, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Community Volunteer Days Volunteer days are designed for people who seek hands-on land stewardship experiences. We provide a forum for neighbors to work together to take care of our shared Parks and Open Space lands and resources. Join us to discover your outdoors, meet people, and to give back to the special places where you hike, ride, explore, and play. Projects focus on habitat restoration, trail improvements, and maintenance. The work varies in physical demand, but we provide a variety of activities suitable for all ages and abilities—beginners are welcome! Projects requiring heavy physical exertion and/or in steep or hazardous areas will be identified in event details. We guarantee your experience will be meaningful, rewarding, and fun. We always provide water, gloves, tools, and training. You may want to bring snacks or a lunch. For a few special events, we provide morning snacks, coffee, lunch, and sometimes raffle prizes. Always bring sturdy shoes, a water bottle, comfortable and layered clothing, and a favorite pair of gloves. QUESTIONS If you have questions or desire additional information, contact Volunteer Coordinator Greg Reza at (415) 499-3778 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CANCELLATIONS Volunteer Days are canceled when environmental conditions create risky or hazardous situations: Red flag days (high fire danger), high winds, and/or heavy rains. To find out if an event is cancelled, call (415) 499-3778 after 7am on the morning of the event to listen to a recorded message. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5. 9AM TO 1PM Old St. Hilary’s Broom Busters Workday & Interpretive Hike: The award-winning volunteer group “Broom Busters of Old St. Hilary’s” will host a French broom busting party, then Naturalist David Herlocker will lead a hike to find out about the lives of the plants and animals that benefit from our habitat restoration work. Meet at the Tiburon Peninsula Club parking lot (1600 Mar West St, Tiburon). Lunch will be served at noon. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12. 9AM TO 12NOON Fire Reduction in Tam Valley: We’re removing fire-prone vegetation from a small hiking trail. French broom plants are densely packed, threatening native species and contributing to fuel loads around homes. This project involves moderately strenuous activity on uneven ground. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in Mill Valley, take the Hwy 1 North/Stinson Beach exit west on Shoreline Hwy, turn left at Tennessee Valley Road, turn right at Enterprise Concourse, which becomes County View Drive, and turn left at Durant Way. Park immediately and follow the signs to the worksite. SATURDAY, JANUARY 9. 9AM TO 1PM Rick’s Broom Patch: In 2001 and 2002, devoted Environmental Steward Rick Thornton and friends removed a massive pioneer patch of invasive French broom. Though Rick passed away in 2005, we’ve maintained the site with the help of community volunteers and partners. Help us continue Rick’s legacy. This project involves moderately strenuous activity on uneven ground. Meet at the end of Manual T. Freitas Parkway in Terra Linda. Lunch will be served at noon. SATURDAY, JANUARY 16. 9AM TO 12NOON Mill Valley Multi-use Path Cleanup: Let’s get a jump on honoring World Wetlands Day: Help us remove litter along the path and around Bothin Marsh. This path is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail and thousands use it each month for recreation and commuting. Unfortunately it’s also a hotspot for garbage. This project is on level ground and is perfect for all ages and activity levels. Meet on the Mill Valley/Sausalito Multi-use Path near Mill Valley Middle School (end of Sycamore Avenue in Mill Valley). SATURDAY, JANUARY 23. 10AM TO 4:30PM BAEER Fair: Visit the Parks and Open Space booth and other enviro nmental organizations at the 33rd annual Bay Area Environmental Education Resource Fair. There’ll be a variety of workshops for people interested in wildlife, ecology, adventure, and environmental education. General admission is $12, $10 for high school students/senior citizens, and $8 for youth. Marin County Exhibit Hall (10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael). SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13. 9AM TO 12NOON McInnis Skate Park/Bass Pond Beautification: We’ll remove invasive fennel, improve the trail tread, pick up litter, and weed around the skate park (beautiful views guaranteed). This opportunity offers a variety of work and is recommended for all ages and abilities. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in San Rafael, take the Smith Ranch Road/Lucas Valley Road exit east on Smith Ranch Road. At the McInnis Park entrance, turn left, then take the first right, and follow to the McInnis Skate Park parking lot (350 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael). SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20. 9AM TO 1PM White Hill Habitat Restoration: For over 12 years, volunteers Charlie and Eva Kennard and friends have pulled a massive patch of invasive broom, removing the plants before seed-bearing age, but they’re slipping behind and need our help. Let’s get them back on track by assembling a large group of hearty, die-hard volunteers. This project is for the active person who can navigate moderately steep, brushy oak woodland understory. GETTING THERE Follow Sir Francis Drake Blvd about 2 miles west of Fairfax, past Baywood Canyon Road, and as you approach the steep incline at Hal Brown Bridge, look for our signs, and park alongside the road. For those familiar with the area, access is at Bothin Girl Scout Camp. Lunch will be served at noon. Environmental Education Program Welcome to the Environmental Education Program’s Naturalist-led outings. We offer these outings as a service to people who wish to enjoy the diverse natural wonders of Marin County. These outings are free of charge and no registration is required. Come to learn, or come to share what you know about the plants, animals, and wild places of this unique and beautiful county. LUNCH Bring a lunch if you plan to stay all day (you don’t have to stay for the entire walk) and remember to pack plenty of water. RAIN Most walks take place as scheduled on rainy days, however during extreme storms walks may be cancelled or modified for safety or comfort. QUESTIONS If you have questions or desire additional information, contact Naturalist David Herlocker at (415) 499-3647, or email@example.com. Naturalist Walks Our walks cover a variety of topics; some are quite specific, others are more general, but we never fail to take a moment to marvel at whatever natural wonders we encounter. Binoculars, a pocket sized magnifying lens, and your favorite field guide(s) are recommended for all walks. Most of the walks included in this schedule are moderately paced and cover less than five miles; walks that are longer or more strenuous are noted. Our Naturalist Walks are generally geared toward an adult audience. For younger audiences (toddler to pre-teen), please try our Family Walks and Ranger Events. These programs are specifically focused on the kids and their interests. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3. 9AM TO 2PM Mushrooms at Indian Tree Open Space: The mixed forests of this Novato preserve usually host an amazing array of mushrooms at this time of year. With luck we’ll make it to the top where we’ll enjoy spectacular views in every direction. DISTANCE 6.5 miles; ELEVATION GAIN 1,300 feet. GETTING THERE In Novato, take Sutro Road and turn right at Vineyard Road. Meet at the MCOSD gate, just past the end of the pavement. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8. 10AM TO 2PM Winter on Mount Tam: Mosses, mushrooms, and million mile views await us along any of the trails that lead from this top-of-the-world starting point. Whichever path we choose, we’re guaranteed to have plenty to see and discuss. Meet at Rock Spring, at the junction of Pantoll Road and Ridgecrest Blvd. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13. 10AM TO 2PM Mushrooms at Roy’s Redwoods: The varied forests of this preserve are host to a wonderful variety of mushrooms and other fungi. We’ll learn to identify some common species and discuss their role in forest ecosystems. Meet at Roy’s Redwoods, at the MCOSD gate on Nicasio Valley Road, just north of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16. 10AM TO 2PM The Salmon of Lagunitas Creek: Lagunitas Creek and its tributaries now host the largest breeding population of Coho Salmon in the state. This is largely due to the efforts of a local organization, the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN). We’ll walk with a SPAWN naturalist and learn all about these fish and the efforts to preserve them as we look for salmon in the creek. Meet at Samuel P. Taylor State Park, on Sir Francis Drake (we’ll greet you at the entry kiosk). SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19. 9AM TO 3PM Big Rock Ridge: We’ll slowly ascend the eastern flank of this rugged preserve to enjoy sweeping views of the entire Bay Area as we look for mushrooms, young ferns, and winter wildlife along the way. DISTANCE 5.6 miles; ELEVATION GAIN 1,200 feet. GETTING THERE From Lucas Valley Road in San Rafael, go north on Las Gallinas Avenue, turn left at Miller Creek Road, and turn right at Queenstone Drive. Meet at the Queenstone Trailhead. Car shuttle, please be on time. SUNDAY, JANUARY 3. 9AM TO 2PM Pine Mountain: From Azalea Hill we’ll head through serpentine chaparral looking and listening for some of our more interesting winter bird visitors who seek out this habitat during their winter stay in the mild Bay Area. We’ll have lunch among the Bishop Pines, for which this mountain is named, with a view of Kent Lake lying below and the forest sloping down to it. The day will include a steep climb on a rocky trail, therefore appropriate shoes are recommended. DISTANCE 6 miles; ELEVATION GAIN 1,700 feet. Meet at the Pine Mountain Fire Road trailhead, about 1 mile south of the Meadow Club (on Fairfax- Bolinas Road). WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6. 10AM TO 2PM Devil’s Gulch: There are a lot of possibilities for this day; there will certainly be a variety of mushrooms, there should be a few early wildflowers, and if we are lucky we might even see spawning salmon. Perhaps we’ll go up the trail to Stairstep Falls, or we just might explore the less travelled parts of the main canyon (none of these options are strenuous). Meet at the parking area across from Devil’s Gulch, just west of the Samuel P. Taylor State Park entrance (on Sir Francis Drake Blvd). THURSDAY, JANUARY 14. 9AM TO 2PM Birds at Rush Creek: These tidal wetlands and mixed woodlands by the Petaluma River Delta are a great place to appreciate our winter birdlife. Ducks (in gaudy breeding plumage), shorebirds, raptors, and many types of landbirds should keep us entertained all day. The road sometimes gets quite muddy, so bring appropriate footwear. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in Novato, take the Atherton Avenue/San Marin Drive exit east on Atherton Avenue, turn left at Binford Road, and meet at the MCOSD gate immediately on the right, at the edge of the marsh. SUNDAY, JANUARY 17. 10AM TO 2PM Mushrooms at Indian Valley Open Space: The lush forests of this Novato preserve are an ideal place to see a variety of mushrooms. We’ll talk about their identification and the important role that fungi play in the ecosystem. There is one sustained steep section, but this will be walked slowly. Meet at the parking area at the west end of Indian Valley College: Follow Ignacio Blvd west all the way to the last parking lot, by the police station (1800 Ignacio Blvd, Novato). THURSDAY, JANUARY 28. 7PM TO 8:30 PM Raptors of Marin: Winter is our peak season for birds of prey; all of the species that breed here are still around, and several others migrate here to enjoy our mild winter climate. This talk will focus on the biology of birds of prey, with a special focus on the natural history of our local species. Meet at the Marin Humane Society. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in Novato, take the Ignacio Blvd/Bel Marin Keys Blvd exit, go east on Bel Marin Keys Blvd, and look for the parking lot on your left (171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato). SUNDAY, JANUARY 31. 10AM TO 2PM Abbotts Lagoon: The freshwater ponds, marshes, lagoon, beach, and the open pastures here make this one of the richest bird habitats in the county. Waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, and a variety of landbirds should keep us busy all day. Meet at the Abbotts Lagoon parking area, Point Reyes National Seashore (on Pierce Point Road). SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6. 9AM TO 1PM Birds of Bolinas Lagoon: This is the week of World Wetlands Day, and we’ll celebrate wetlands by observing the birds that converge on this special place during the winter. We’ll watch shorebirds follow the dropping tide to feast in the newly exposed mud, and scan the open water for ducks and other waterfowl. Meet at Bolinas Lagoon Preserve, Bob Stewart Trailhead, just east of the nursery (on Olema Bolinas Road). THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11. 7PM TO 8:30 PM Wild Sex Bring your favorite valentine to learn all about the bizarre spectrum of mating rituals found all around us in the natural world. Find out that bondage, group sex, and gender reversals are probably happening every day in a meadow near you! Meet at the Marin Humane Society. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in Novato, take the Ignacio Blvd/Bel Marin Keys Blvd exit, go east on Bel Marin Keys Blvd, and look for the parking lot on your left (171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato). THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18. 10AM TO 3PM Alamere Falls: This seasonal waterfall is one of the great natural wonders of the county. We’ll have to set a brisk pace to cover the 3.5 miles trail and enjoy lunch beside a waterfall that spills onto the beach (7 miles round trip). Meet at the Palomarin Trailhead (end of Mesa Road, north of Bolinas). SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20. 9AM TO 1PM Birds at Las Gallinas: Waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors should be plentiful at these water treatment ponds on the edge of San Pablo Bay. We’ll also scan the adjacent fields and marshes for other birds and winter wildlife. Meet at the Las Gallinas Water Treatment Ponds. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in San Rafael, take the Lucas Valley Road/Smith Ranch Road exit east on Smith Ranch Road about 0.7 miles. At the McInnis Park entrance, turn left (still Smith Ranch Road) and drive approximately 0.8 miles to the signed trailhead at the end of the road. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24. 10AM TO 2PM Early Flowers at Chimney Rock: How many species can we find in bloom on this early date? A traditional flower foray to kick off the wildflower season, a number of the early bloomers found here are rare species; elephant seals and birds should be plentiful as well (so don’t forget to bring your binoculars). Meet at Chimney Rock parking area (outer Point Reyes, near the end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd). SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28. 9AM TO 2PM Mount Burdell: Trek to the Top!: We’ll follow a 5.5 mile loop that will take us to the 1,575 foot summit of this north county landmark. The grass should be green, and the creeks should be flowing. On a clear winter day, the view from the top is well worth the climb. ELEVATION GAIN 1,200 feet. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in Novato, take the Atherton Avenue/San Marin exit west on San Marin Drive for 2.3 miles and turn right on San Andreas. Meet at the San Andreas Trailhead, near the end on the right. Family Walks These walks are intended for families that want to explore nature together. Bring your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or any other inquisitive youngster in your life who would appreciate a deeper connection to nature. This is not a “drop off” program, we want you to stay and enjoy the experience too. These programs will not be formal—no lectures or lesson plans. We’ll set out to search for natural wonders and share what we find with one another. The “take home message” will be that animals and the habitats they live in are fascinating and delicate things that should be treated gently. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23. 10AM TO 2PM Sky Trail: This fire road passes through a forest of elderberries and giant lichen-draped trees before leading out to the edge of the Vision Fire. We’ll talk about the benefits of fire as we look for woodpeckers in the standing snags and appreciate the lush green of the revitalized surrounding hills. Meet at the Sky Trail parking area, on Limantour Road (top of the hill), Point Reyes National Seashore. SATURDAY, JANUARY 9. 10AM TO 2PM Audubon Canyon Ranch: This nature preserve is famous for the herons and egrets that breed here during spring and summer, but is also a great place to visit during the winter when salamanders, bugs, and other creatures of the cold, wet forest can be found. Meet at Audubon Canyon Ranch (on Hwy 1, north of Stinson Beach). WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20. 10AM TO 2PM Cascade Canyon Open Space: By now the creek should be rushing, and the waterfall might be going full blast. We’ll learn about amphibians, mushrooms, insects, and whatever else we happen to meet. Meet at the MCOSD gate at the end of Cascade Drive in Fairfax. Parking is extremely limited, please carpool. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3. 10AM TO 2PM Deer Park: This preserve offers dozens of trails to choose from. The winter rains bring mushrooms, but as the season progresses the decaying mushrooms attract insects which in turn attract all the creatures which dine on insects. We’ll look for slender salamanders and more. Meet at the parking area at the end of Porteus Avenue, just south of Fairfax (on Fairfax-Bolinas Road). SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14. 10AM TO 2PM Tennessee Valley: We’ll follow the road down this valley to have lunch at the beach; as we go we’ll scan the surrounding hills for bobcats and coyotes, and watch the trees for owls. Even though it is still winter, we should also see some interesting insects visiting the first flowers of the year. Meet at the Tennessee Valley Trailhead. Ranger Events Our diverse and talented Ranger staff host a variety of family-friendly events for all ages and abilities, including campfires and BBQs, interpretive hikes, fishing classes, fishing derbies, skateboard competitions, stargazing adventures, safety classes, mountain bike rides, horseback rides, trail manners, backpacking seminars, wildlife lectures, and more. CANCELLATIONS Rain cancels all outdoor Ranger-led events. Also, heavy wind conditions cancel all bay and ocean Ranger-led events. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2. 6:30PM TO 8:30PM Living with Coyotes in Marin: Camilla Fox of Project Coyote and Chief Park Ranger Rob Ruiz will explain the habits and natural history of the coyote in Marin County. Meet at the Marinwood Community Center. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in San Rafael, take the Lucas Valley Road/Smith Ranch R exit west on Lucas Valley Road and turn right at Miller Creek Road (775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael). SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19. 11AM TO 2PM Holiday Family Skate Day: McInnis Park Rangers will BBQ hot dogs and play holiday music (with a little Metallica thrown in) while the kids skate. GETTING THERE From Hwy 101 in San Rafael, take the Smith Ranch Road/Lucas Valley Road exit east on Smith Ranch Road. At the McInnis Park entrance, turn left, then take the first right, and follow to the McInnis Skate Park parking lot (350 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael). Skateboarders must wear helmets and pads. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19. 11AM TO 1PM Bolinas Marsh Family Hike: Rangers will host a family-friendly winter walk along Pine Gulch Creek, which feeds Bolinas Lagoon. Learn why this lagoon was designated as a Wetland of International Significance, and learn about the diverse wildlife at this estuary, which is a stopover for thousands of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. Meet at Bolinas Lagoon Preserve, Bob Stewart Trailhead, just east of the nursery (on Olema Bolinas Road). SATURDAY, JANUARY 23. 9AM TO 10:30AM Children’s Walk at Bothin Marsh: Open Space Ranger Don Grafe will host a nature walk designed especially for children. Bring the entire family to learn about conservation and marshland ecology through activities and games. Meet at the Holiday Inn Express parking lot, north corner (160 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley). SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6. 8AM TO 3PM Kayak Sturgeon Derby: Park Ranger Jim Slack will teach you how to fish for sturgeon by kayak. Bring your own kayak, paddles, drinking water, and fishing equipment. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Meet at the McNears Beach Park Snack Bar (201 Cantera Way, San Rafael). Life vest and fishing license required. $8 parking fee. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21. 1PM TO 3PM Dog Friendly Hike: Rangers Karen Kilian and Rich Gibson along with an expert from the Marin Humane Society will host a leisurely stroll around Rush Creek Preserve. This is a great opportunity to learn the rules concerning dogs on MCOSD lands, to learn trail etiquette techniques, and to have fun exploring with a great group of two and four-legged hikers! GETTING THERE From Hwy101 in Novato, take the Atherton Avenue/San Marin Drive exit east on Atherton Avenue, turn left at Binford Road, and meet at the MCOSD gate immediately on the right, at the edge of the marsh. All dogs must be on leash. Rain may postpone until Sunday, February 28. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27. 9AM TO 11AM Disc Golf for Beginners: Local pros will teach children 16 and under this fun and exciting game at our stunning and nationally-recognized disc golf course. Meet at Stafford Lake Park, Area 2 (3549 Novato Blvd, Novato). $8 parking fee.
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