Especially with spring birding trips, our walk was as much about listening as seeing. We identified 29 species (see list below), many by sound alone. Resident singers, American Robins were among the first species we heard. Newly-arrived Swainson’s Thrushes announced their presence with single chips–they’ll be producing their spiraling ethereal song in another week or so. Then the “what peevesyou?” call of a distant Olive-sided Flycatcher let us know it too had completed its northward migration.
The Conservancy is busy on several fronts—living up to our commitment to be vigilant about wildfire safety while encouraging a healthy native environment in Claremont Canyon. Unfortunately, wildfire danger continues to be a major issue as fire season is becoming a year round concern. Public agencies are unable to devote the financial and human resources necessary to address it.
This charming piece of Claremont Canyon history is excerpted from “A Proposal for the formation of Claremont Canyon Park,” the 1973 document that brought about the eventual formation of the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve. Reprinted here with permission from the author and the Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association.
The Conservancy has previously reported its full support of UC Berkeley’s efforts to recover funding granted in 2015 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The grants were to reduce fire danger on UC's hill campus in Claremont and Strawberry canyons by removing stands of hazardous trees.
With thanks to Tom Klatt we now have a new trail marker where the Gwin Canyon Trail meets the Willow Trail just down the steps from Signpost 29. We installed the trail marker during our January stewardship day. We are hopeful that the Park District will add a trail sign of their own at the other end of the Gwin Canyon Trail where it meets Norfolk Road. Conservancy volunteers continue their work to make the trail easier to traverse by installing more steps and water bars and making a part of the trail less steep. We also will be installing logs along the edge to reduce erosion. Finally, the University has just improved the area just outside the gate at Signpost 29, making it safer to pull over and park.
Last month's bird walk, led by Dave Quady and me, was a quiet affair—only fourteen species were observed over six hours of birding (minus 90 minutes for breakfast). That's an all time low for our winter bird walks, likely due to lack of rain (only one significant rainfall since spring) and strong dry winds the preceding week. Nevertheless our group of birders—four for the early morning owl walk and six for the after breakfast bird walk—enjoyed each others' company while we waited . . .
Conservancy members recently hosted a tour of Claremont Canyon with planners from the East Bay Regional Park District's Trails Development team, including trails manager Sean Dougan and Ward 2 Board Member Dee Rosario. We hiked up the Conservancy's new Gwin Canyon trail connecting Park District and UC lands, then headed over to the Stonewall-Panoramic Ridge Trail to assess its steepest section just below Panoramic Way. We are hoping the Park District will build switchbacks on this degraded section of trail for increased safety and accessibility to hikers. We'll keep you informed as progress develops.
Several years ago, Garber Park Stewards and Golden Hour Restoration Institute first tossed around the idea of creating an interpretative brochure that would enrich the experience of visiting Garber Park. We wanted to create a document that was engaging and informative for all park users—first timers as well as regular visitors.
if you haven’t delved into the wonders of Garber Park, you need to know about it! You will find a delightful native oak woodland with native fern grottoes, giant coast live oaks, California buckeyes, California big leaf maples, and a fascinating old defunct replace from old boy scout days of the 1920’s! All this is within walking distance from the intersection of Ashby and Claremont avenues.
Thank You CAL Students: More than 20 UC Berkeley students joined us on October 28th to celebrate Berkeley Day working on trails in Claremont Canyon. Together we cleared trails, pulled French broom, widened the narrow portions of the new Gwin Canyon Trail and began installing steps on the steeper portions. Lots was accomplished and the trails are in great shape. Berkeley Day happens twice a year and the Conservancy has had students involved in these efforts for several years. Claremont Canyon is an example of how teamwork pays off. Thank you to the students, the Eagle Scouts and to all our volunteers for their past and present efforts.
Tim Wallace considers himself a “Yes man”—not a person that caves into other people's demands, but the kind that says, “Yes” to life.
Tim just celebrated 15 years (on and off—mostly on) as president of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy, "Working with volunteers we have helped make the canyon more fire-safe, more natural, and more accessible by trails.”
Tim has been involved with natural resources all his life: first as rancher and logger, then later in academics. He has been at UC Berkeley since 1963. "I've worked at the White House on agricultural matters and was Director of California's Department of Food and Agriculture. I've done consulting abroad in Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Far East, and New Zealand and Australia."
The August 2 fire known as the “Grizzly Fire” was sending up bright flames at about 1:05 PM, as reported by firefighters from the East Bay Regional Park District’s Tilden Park Fire Station, the first crew to arrive on the scene. Winds that day were calm from the west and
Saturday, May 18, 2002 was the dedication of the Ralph Samuel bench at the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve. Ralph was the District’s Land Acquisition Specialist from 1979 to 1986. Hulet Hornbeck, Land Department Chief, originally hired him to acquire the privately owned lots that were included in the Claremont Canyon Preserve.
A new study conducted by the East Bay Regional Park District reveals the presence of mountain lions (“Big Cats”), an elusive apex predator utilizing the wilderness ridegtop above the Caldecott Tunnel to transit between the open spaces north and south of the tunnel. The study, expanded earlier this year to include the Caldecott Tunnel Corridor, is led by veteran Park District wildlife ecologist and science consultant Steve Bobzie
Chief Ken Pimlott was appointed Director of CAL FIRE by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 after an outstanding, 30-year long career in state re protection programs. As Chief of CAL FIRE and also California’s State Forester, Mr. Pimlott is responsible for 237 fire stations, 39 conservation camps, 12 air attack, and 10 helitack bases.
Robert Doyle, General Manager East Bay Regional Park District
General Manager Robert Doyle began his park career over 40 years ago as a member of the East Bay Regional Park District’s eucalyptus crews, following the big freeze of 1972. He went on to serve in several eld, planning, and administrative positions before becoming Assistant General Manager for Land Acquisition and Planning in 1990. For the next 21 years he led the District’s expansion of parklands to serve the rapidly growing populations of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. In 2010, he was appointed General Manager by the Park District’s seven-member, elected Board of Directors to oversee 70 regional parks totaling 124,000 acres, 1,200 miles of interconnecting trails, and a staff of 1,000 employees.
RSVP: info@ClaremontCanyon.org or call 510-843-2226
Dear Friends and Neighbors
Please join us on
Sunday, November 12, 2017, 4-6 PM The Claremont Hotel
Reception 4:00 PM
Presentations 4:30 PM
Open Forum 5:30 PM
“Protecting our public lands, local and state”
Refreshments and wine bar. Invite a friend or neighbor.
The Annual Meeting of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy will be held again at the Claremont Hotel in the Sonoma Room, second floor. All are invited to attend free of charge. After light refreshments and brief updates from the board, we will hear from our two invited speakers, both East Bay residents who have risen to leadership positions in key agencies that have direct impact on the management of public lands and protection of residents. We will first hear from Robert Doyle, General Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, followed by Ken Pimlott, Director of CAL FIRE. They will update us on their agencies’ efforts to improve fire safety in the East Bay Hills, and the role of the coordinating body, the Hills Emergency Forum, in fostering interagency communication.
Please come hear what these experts have to share with us, and stay for the questions and answers afterward. Be sure to RSVP, as we expect a strong turnout.
We had some big excitement last week. Because of the Grizzly Peak Fire on Wednesday afternoon, we had to cancel our workday. We did get back to Skyine on Sunday and almost finished with Scattergrass in the Bay Grove. Perhaps one more good session will finish that off . . .
Botanists tend to love a fire, because the aftermath is so fascinating. Seeds not seen in decades may sprout. In the early days of California botany, when Jepson was at Cal in the early 1900's, he and others found scores of interesting natives on the slopes of Grizzly Peak. Will they return? How will UC manage the burn area (let's hope they do nothing besides remove the Eucs and Pines)?
"I attended the 8/2/2017 fire Oakland Hills fire scene during operations today and observed conditions and took photos. The City of Berkeley Fire responded, as did many other agencies. The fire would have threatened Berkeley, except that the winds were blowing onshore from the ocean. Imagine if the winds were blowing down the canyon (off-shore), as we see during Diablo Wind condition days. The most effective response came from helicopter water drops, taken from lake Anza, by EBRPD, Cal Fire and other attending helicopters. Most of the firefighters stayed on Grizzly Peak, as the hills are too steep and littered with dead eucalyptus and pine fuel."