Board member Matt Zinn still remembers the confused looks he got during his first Ridge to Bridge (a Ridge Trail sponsored long-distance hike and ride), when he told the other participants he was going to run the route from Mount Tam down to the Presidio. “Everyone was perplexed!” he says. “People assumed you could hike Ridge to Bridge, or bike it, or even ride a horse—but run it?” That was different.
Trail running is one of the lesser-known uses of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, in comparison to hiking or mountain biking. But the trail runners are out there, blazing their way through the fog of the Marin Headlands and the golden hills of the Sierra Azul Preserve.
One reason Matt thinks the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council is so important is that it provides an advocacy voice for public access in addition to open space protection. The Bay Area is lucky to have an abundance of open spaces with many advocates passionate about preserving open space, and some of those advocates leaning towards closing off protected areas from the public. In contrast, “the Ridge Trail promotes opportunities specifically to advocate for public trails in public spaces,” Matt says. The Ridge Trail Council gives people all around the Bay Area the chance to experience beautiful open spaces, from the inspiring redwood forests to the scrubby chaparral woodlands.
The beauty of trail running, Matt says, is that it gives you “a way to explore a trail yourself that you wouldn’t normally experience.” Just the sounds of bird song in your ears, and the firm ground of the Ridge Trail underneath.