2nd Annual REI - Ridge Trail Service Day another grand success!!
Hundreds Volunteer to Improve Ridge Trail
The first REI – Ridge Trail Service Day, celebrating the Council’s 20th anniversary was such a resounding success the Council and REI teamed up again, with similar amazing results. On Saturday November 7 2009, over 300 volunteers worked at 11 different sites on the Bay Area Ridge Trail as part of the 2nd annual Service Day. Again highlighting the regional nature of the Ridge Trail, each Bay Area REI store partnered with a local park agency to host a volunteer work party on a nearby section of the Trail (for more detail on project locations, click on map to the right). The weather cooperated, with rain earlier in the week softening the soil, and the 7th being a cool crisp autumn day, nearly perfect for trail work. Most projects started out with munchies from REI and coffee provided by Peet’s Coffee and Tea.
Volunteers at Mt. Burdell Open Space Preserve, hosted by Marin County Open Space District and the Corte Madera REI, improved trail tread, rebuilt water bars, and stabilized drainage areas with rip-rap. The most northernmost project had volunteers putting the finishing touches on a new campground at Hood Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve, with Sonoma County Regional Parks and the Santa Rosa REI. Campgrounds such as this will enable multi-day trips on the Ridge Trail. Over in Napa, Ridge Trail Council Trail Steward John Aranson led a group in Napa who repaired eroded trail in at Skyline Wilderness Park. The Napa volunteers enjoyed munchies and coffee from First Squeeze Cafe in Napa.
There were two projects in Solano County. In Vallejo, the rain worked against the volunteers painting bridges, but volunteers from the neighborhood and the Concord REI went to work restoring the riparian habitat of the Blue Rock Springs Corridor through Hanns Park, a Ridge Trail community connector, managed by Greater Vallejo Recreation District. Just 6 miles down the road, more volunteers worked with Benicia Parks & Community Services and the Brentwood REI on the Vallejo - Benicia Buffer Trail, a greenbelt between the 2 cities that connects with the Carquinez Strait Scenic Loop Trail, Volunteers installed risers, improved drainage, and cleared brushed from the trail, bridges and benches along the trail. South of the Carquinez Strait, one of the largest groups of the day worked with East Bay Municipal Utilities District and the Berkeley REI on the Skyline Trail in District properties just south of Tilden Park. 50 volunteers removed crumbling old stone steps, built a fence at the trail entrance, and did a huge amount of work to improve the trail tread and clear the overgrowth.
There were also multiple projects in the South Bay. On the east side, 40+ volunteers teamed up with the City of San Jose and the Fremont REI at Alum Rock Park, improving tread outsloping and pruning overgrowth on the Todd Quick Trail, the Ridge Trail route through the first municipal park in California. On the west side of the valley, the Ridge Trail through Sanborn County Park had approximately 50 people working on it, including 20 student athletes from the Pac-10 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, with two representatives from each of the Pac-10 schools. This group was led by staff from Santa Clara County Parks, and volunteers from the Trail Center and the Saratoga REI. This section of the Ridge Trails is being prepared for opening to all user groups. 10 miles up the trail, a small but hearty group dug up and repaired a culvert, and rerouted the trail across it, in Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's Long Ridge Open Space Preserve with the Mountain View REI.
On the northern part of the Peninsula, volunteers repaired the steps eroded by the rain in the Notch area of Sweeney Ridge, and brushed back overgrown vegetation, working with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Trails Forever and the San Carlos REI. In the heart of the Presidio of San Francisco, Ridge Trail volunteers and REI San Francisco assisted the Presidio Trust with clearing and raking the Ridge Trail, and connecting trails, including the new National Cemetery Overlook trail, opened on Veterans Day, November 11, 2009. You can see this new trail and the spectacular view from it on a guided hike on the Ridge Trail through the Presidio November 14.
The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council gratefully thanks REI for sponsoring this wonderful event, and for their ongoing support. REI has been a long time partner of the Council, helping the Council increase our Volunteer and Outreach programs with their generosity. REI has also assisted the Council with signature trail events Ridge to Bridge and the Ridge Trail Cruz, helped build and open new Ridge Trail, and improve existing trails by sponsored previous volunteer workdays, in addition to the two Service Days.
[map by Ben Pease, Pease Press www.peasepress.com; photos: Jenny McIlvaine Presidio Trust, Tami Lau, Golden Gae National Parks Conservancy, Jenny McIlvaine Presidio Trust]