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Theme: Parks with a Past

A Brief History of Bay Area Parks and Open Space
   Pt. 1, 1840s-1950s


A Conservation Timeline
   Pt. 1, 1840s-1950s


Up and Down the Peninsula and South Bay

Names on the Land
   Pt. 1, San Mateo County



Other Features

Sudden Oak Death

Oak Mortality Syndrome

Grazing Through Huckleberry Heaven

Old-Fashioned Huckleberry Muffins


Wild Lit

Note from the Literary Editor

Blacksmith Fork and Fox - Megan E. Hansen

Down Harkins Fire Road (El Mar de la Purissima - Greg Dunn


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The Trail Companion

Fall 2000 - Summary

Fall 2000 - PDF format

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The Trail Companion (ISSN 1528-0241 (print); 1094-222X (online)) is the quarterly newsletter of the Trail Center.

Editor: Scott Heeschen
Staff Writer: Geoffrey Skinner
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Trail Center
3921 E. Bayshore Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Ph.: (650) 968-7065
info@trailcenter.org

The Trail Companion

Fall 2000

Trail Center Notes

Trail Construction and Maintenance

Portola Redwoods State Park, July 15 and Aug. 19

We worked in Portola this summer for the first time since 1994, when we put finishing touches on the Upper Coyote Ridge Trail, which was built by the Trail Center and the California Conservation Corps between 1992 and 1994 to connect Portola and Pescadero County Park. Like other state parks, Portola's trail budget has been largely non-existent for many years and during that time, El Niño, wild pigs and normal wear and tear have taken their toll. Many of the trails are steep and narrow, compounding any new problems. El Niño hit the Iverson Trail particularly hard when several large redwoods came down on the trail and closed it; reopening it will take heavy machinery and major chainsaw work.
      On our first day, we headed up Coyote Ridge Trail. We were a small crew of five, but by the end of the day, we had widened several problem spots, including one stretch midway along Upper Coyote Ridge Trail. One crew member met the infamous pigs near the junction of the two trails where seven piglets were rooting on either side of the trail. Their mother was down the hill and grunted loudly when she saw the interloper. Piglets squealed as they scattered and Mama crashed downhill through brush. All but one piglet, that is, that tried to make itself invisible; when it realized it was face to face with a human, it squealed and leapt into the air in a frantic effort to run away. We didn't meet any more pigs, but both sides of the trail had been rototilled. The park's head maintenance man was very interested in the account because Portola will be participating in regional pig control next year [see "Pigs, pigs and more pigs" in the Spring 2000 issue].
      Although we had offered camping both days, no one took advantage of the offer in July. For August, however, we had a small group of campers, including photographer Alan Justice, who discovered just how aggressive the Portola raccoons can be when he put a bag of chips on the table, turned his back for a second, and lost the bag to a big raccoon. He chased it and tried to retrieve the chips, but the raccoon won when the bag burst, sending chips all over the place. Alan gave up and made lemonade by grabbing his camera for some great pictures. Adding further insult, a park aide admonished him for feeding the wildlife and didn't believe the story at first.
      When it came time for the trail work, the day was raccoon and pig free. We teamed up with Community Impact to work on Summit Trail and a portion of Slate Creek Trail. We had over 30 volunteers, so we were able to improve numerous sections over nearly 3 miles of trail. One crew worked on Summit most of the day, while the others widened the tread on Slate Creek above the junction with Summit. Only a few of the CI volunteers had repaired a trail before; by the quitting time, they were pros. The park staff was very grateful for our efforts and looked forward to our return.

      Thank you, Portola Volunteers! Ed Alderman, Rich Allsop, Shirly Arington, Peter Corsius, Dave Croker, Cam Daley, Jasper Dickenson, Alex Fabrikant, Scott Heeschen, Linda Herrera, Alan Hshieh, Francis Hsu, Alan Justice, Hanah Kim, Youngha Kim, Justin Knowles, Lisa Laird, Leslie MacMillan, Stephen E. Muther, Tim Oren, Pat Oren, Susan Pasnick, Joe Phillips, Taylor Ray, Megan Richards, Ron Rogowski, Geoffrey Skinner, Gilrico A. Sobrepeña, Gerico Sobrepeña, Katherine Thomas, Greg Werner, Darcy Wright, and Robert Yang.

Skyline Trail, Sanborn-Skyline County Park

On September 23rd, a small but productive crew performed maintenance on Skyline Trail (part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.


End of the trail at Sunnyvale Mountain...but not for too much longer.
End of the trail at Sunnyvale Mountain...but not for too much longer.
Photo by Geoffrey Skinner
Most of the work involved brushing out large patches of blackberry vines, repairing the trail tread and helping prepare drainage for the coming winter. Our timing was fortunate, as a large tree branch had recently fallen across the trail beyond where we had planned on working. If it were not for two passing hikers mentioning it to us, it may still be there. As it was, we had a chance to use our Pulaskis and loppers to open up the trail again.

      Thank you Sanborn Volunteers! Richard Allsop, Jeff Birdge, Peter Corsius, David Croker, Alex Fabrikant, Alice Gutman, Scott Heeschen, Francis Hsu and Alan Shieh.



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