3rd Annual REI - Ridge Trail Service Day Biggest & Best Yet
500 Volunteers Pitch in to Improve Ridge Trail
Our 3rd annual REI - Ridge Trail Service Day on Nov 6 was a smashing success thanks to the over 500 volunteers who came out to pitch in, get dirty, make friends, and have fun building and restoring the Ridge Trail at 13 projects around the region (click on image at right).
Highlighting the regional nature of the Ridge Trail, each Bay Area REI store partnered with one or two local park agencies to host a volunteer work party on a nearby section of the Trail.
Volunteers built nearly a mile of new trail and restored many miles of Ridge Trail by improving tread, pruning overgrowth, clearing fallen trees, repairing fences, stone walls, signs and other facilities, installing drainages, and removing truckloads of non-native plants and litter. Volunteers also picked up and delivered lunch! Thank you volunteers!
We are especially grateful to REI for their ongoing sponsorship of the REI–Ridge Trail Service Day – and to all 10 Bay Area REI stores. Thank you REI!
Thanks also to the 14 partner park agencies and districts who made the service day possible by hosting the work parties, coaching volunteers, and providing tools, event support and snacks and raffle prizes at many locations.
Finally, a hearty shout out to our other event sponsors and collaborators: 12 Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants, 13 Peet's Coffee & Tea shops, and 2 great non-profits - the Trail Center and Volunteers for Outdoor California - thank you!
Partners & Projects by Region
The much loved Miwok Trail in Marin received some TLC as REI Corte Madera hosted a project on Mt. Tamalpais with Califronia State Parks (one of three State Parks projects this year and a new partner with the Service Day). Volunteers here worked hard to remove trail ruts, improve water flow and drainage, and prune back dense overgrowth. This trail is part of our signature spring event, Ridge to Bridge, scheduled for April 30, 2011, where hundreds of hikers and riders will enjoy the views from this section of Ridge Trail.
REI Santa Rosa volunteers worked with Sonoma County Regional Parks at a new trailside campground at Hood Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve. Volunteers finished a stone wall around the campsite bathrooms, and improved the nearby trail by clearing growth from the trail and putting in drainage systems on the trail. Campgrounds such as this will enable multi-day trips on the Ridge Trail.
In Napa, where there is no REI store yet, the Ridge Trail Council and Skyline Wilderness Park hosted volunteers on the Napa-Solano Ridge Trail, a section of Ridge Trail on private property.
Carquinez Strait Scenic Loop Trail (Southern Solano and Northern Contra Costa)
The first Loop Trail project was hosted by California State Parks (2 of 3 State Parks projects this Service Day) and REI Brentwood in Benicia State Recreation Area. Volunteers improved the trail tread, restored views of the Carquinez Strait by removing truckloads of invasive plants, refinished trail-side fencing and kiosks, and spread wood chips at the Native Plant Garden near the trailhead.
The other two projects on the Carquinez Loop were south of the Strait. One was in Crockett Hills Regional Park with REI Concord and East Bay Regional Park District to maintain a new multiuse section of Ridge Trail. Volunteers cleared a single-track trail the District recently built to re-route the Ridge Trail off a steep fire road. They also installed signs for the new trail and beautified the picnic area at the trailhead.
The third Carquinez Loop project was with East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) and REI Berkeley in the Pinole Watershed . This was the largest project with over 100 volunteers working to build a new trail around a steep section of fire road, resulting in a more sustainable and enjoyable trail. East Bay Regional Park District and Volunteers for Outdoor California graciously lent extra tools to this project. Hosts EBMUD and REI Berkeley hope to complete the new trail on the next National Trails Day, June 4, 2011.
The multiple projects in San Jose demonstrated how the Ridge Trail connects the region's many wonderful natural spaces, even in the it's largest city.
The City of San Jose joined REI Fremont and another partner new to the Service Day, Santa Clara Open Space Authority at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve and Alum Rock Park. Volunteers completed work in three locations including rerouting a small section of trail, clearing a natural spring-fed pond of non-native plants, and improving drainage on the trail near the top of the Ridge.
Further south, Santa Clara County Parks again teamed up with REI Saratoga, this year working on the Stile Ranch Trail in Santa Teresa County Park. Volunteers installed and cleared dozens of drainages - tough work in the rocky soil of this gorgeous park on the south end of San Jose, with great views of rural Alamaden and Coyote Valleys.
On the west side of Santa Clara Valley, REI Mountain View did double duty, hosting 2 projects, both trail sections are part our annual fall trail event, the Ridge Trail Cruz. The first was at Castle Rock State Park for a third California State Parks project. Volunteers helped with the initial work to open the Skyline Trail to multi-use. Volunteers rerouted a section of trail, improved drainage, and pruned overgrowth and overhanging brush and trees to allow safe passage for riders.
The second project, just across Highway 9, had Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District hosting a project at Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve to improve a rocky switchback and clear the trail.
San Mateo County Parks, yet another new partner in the Service Day, worked with REI San Carlos on the Skyline Trail running between Huddart and Wunderlich County Parks. This was the most technical project this year, with work planned by skilled volunteers from the Trail Center. The trained Trail Center crew leads led the enthusiastic volunteers to build a causeway over a soggy section of the Sky line Trail and clear a culvert to improve water flow. In addition to the technical aspects, volunteers also installed drains so nearby springs would not flow down the trail and completed general trail improvements.
REI San Francisco worked with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy program, Trails Forever, to work on the Notch at Sweeney Ridge, part of Golden Gate National Recreational Area. Volunteers brushed back overgrown vegetation and repaired a cable fence.
San Francisco Parks and Recreation joined REI San Francisco on Twin Peaks. The City is working on a greenway across the City, and the section over these iconic hilltops will become part of a realigned Ridge Trail segment boasting stunning views of the city and surrounding Bay Area. Volunteers cleared trail and invasives and picked up trash.
Map by Pease Press
Photos: Dee Swanhuyser, Mary Ann King