Tag Archives: East Bay Regional Park District

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Tilden lake
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FREE PARK LIFE The East Bay Regional Park District is celebrating its 80th birthday by offering “free third Fridays” in its parks, including Tilden. From April to December, fees will be waived for a variety of park services, every third Friday of each month, which includes Friday, Aug. 15. On those days, you get free parking, free boat launching (note, boat launchers still have to pay for the required invasive mussel inspection); free entry for horses and dogs, free swimming, free fishing permits (anglers still have to possess a California state fishing license, for which there’s a fee. And there will still be fees for camping and for group picnic reservations); and there’s free entry to Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont (normally $2-$6). The Park District says Free Fridays are its way of thanking the public for eighty years of support. “A grass-roots movement provided the political momentum for establishment of the district back in 1934, and public support has been key to the district’s successes ever since.” … Continue reading »

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East Bay at high risk of wildfires: Preventive measures key

Angel Island wildfire. Photo: Chris Wage
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Allen Benitez, Chief of Protective Services at Berkeley Lab admits he’s nervous.

“With the drought this summer, there is an extraordinarily high risk of fire in the hills,” he said.

The Lab’s location in the Berkeley foothills, surrounded by trees and vegetation, makes the task of keeping that risk as low as possible daunting. The fact that there are 5,000 to 7,000 people on the campus at any one time, and that an evacuation would entail moving all of them off a fenced property through just one gate, puts the lab – as Benitez terms it — in “a tough spot.”

Benitez will be one of several fire experts speaking at a Fire Forum for the community on Monday June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley’s Northbrae Church. He will be joined by, among others, Berkeley Fire Department Chief Gil Dong; Robert Chew, Cal Fire’s assistant chief of East Bay operations; Sal Genito, associate director of Grounds and Environmental Services at UC Berkeley; and Brad Gallup from the East Bay Regional Parks District. … Continue reading »

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Body of man found off Grizzly Peak Boulevard

Look out at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard
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Update 11 a.m.: The Alameda County coroner’s office has identified the man as Lorenzo Baltazar-Trujillo, 22, of Concord.

Original story: UC Berkeley police are investigating the death of a man who may have fallen to his death Sunday while admiring a view of San Francisco Bay from Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

A hiker spotted the man’s body around 2:26 p.m. and called the police, according to Sgt. Rick Florendo of the UC Berkeley Police Department. The Oakland Fire Department pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The victim many have fallen 100 feet from a rocky outcropping that looks out at a view of San Francisco Bay. Police had put yellow police tape Sunday evening around a white car that was parked near the scene at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Blvd. … Continue reading »

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After 21 years, Tilden merry-go-round to get new operator

Tilden-Merry-Go-Round
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Tilden Park’s cherished antique merry-go-round will continue spinning — but possibly in a different direction.

For the first time in 21 years, the East Bay Regional Parks District could, at its March 18 board meeting, approve new management and operation of the Tilden merry-go-round. This could spell the end of the merry-go-round’s Christmas Fantasy tradition, a month-long holiday extravaganza the current operators began 16 years ago.

Terri Oyarzùn and her family have managed and operated the 103-year-old carousel and its crew of colorful wooden animals since the previous operators retired in 1993. When her second 10-year contract expired last year, and EBRPD put the merry-go-round out to bid, Oyarzùn was among three potential operators who submitted proposals, but hers was not ultimately selected. … Continue reading »

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Dog walkers clash with park district over ‘newt road’

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Dog walkers who use South Park Drive in Tilden Park for the five months a year when it is closed to cars say recently erected signs that instruct them to keep their dogs on leash contradict a law drafted by the park district 13 years ago. They want the signs taken down and argue that the cyclists who use the stretch of road when it is free of cars constitute a bigger threat to the newts the road’s closure is intended to protect than dogs, whether on- or off-leash.

“There is no legal support for their action. They have acted in excess of their jurisdiction,” said attorney Rena Rickles speaking about the East Bay Regional Park District’s decision to put up the signs in November. Rickles is working pro bono for a group of disgruntled dog walkers more than 50 of whom took their concerns to an EBRPD board meeting on Thursday Dec. 19. … Continue reading »

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Little Farm, Tilden Park areas to close for 5 months

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Update, April 18: EBRPD tells us there have been further delays and the expected re-opening of the Little Farm is end of May. Visit their website for updates.

Update, March 24, 2014: The Little Farm is still closed due to a sewer construction project. The projected timeline was five months, but there have been delays, we are told by East Bay Regional Park District. Also still closed are the Big Leaf picnic area and restroom, and the Indian Camp parking lot, picnic areas, and restroom. Completion is estimated for April 2014. EBRPD advises people to visit their website for updates on this and any other park and trail closures.

Original story: Major sewer construction work that is set to begin next month will see the Little Farm, nearby picnic areas and a playground closed to the public between Oct. 1, 2013 and Feb. 28, 2014.

The work aims to improve safety and efficiency in the maintenance and operation of the Tilden Nature Area, according to the park which posted a news alert on its website.

For the five months that work is under way, the following areas will be closed: Tilden Little Farm; Indian Camp parking lot, picnic areas, play structure, and restroom (pedestrians will have access through the Indian Camp parking lot); and Big Leaf picnic area and restroom. The Environmental Education Center (EEC) is expected to remain open to walk-in visitors Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and interpretive programs will continue during this period. … Continue reading »

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Rattlesnake sightings prompt call for caution

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Hikers, runners, and bicyclists along Tilden Park’s popular Skyline Trail have been greeted by something new in the past several days: a large, white poster-board sign scribbled with an unusual warning.

“Rattlesnakes seen on this trail — use caution,” says the handwritten sign, mounted on an A-frame style roadblock on Upper Springs Trail where it cuts down from Skyline, dropping steeply to South Park Drive.

To many aficionados of the East Bay’s extensive network of trails, rattlesnake warnings might not seem unusual. Snake sightings in say, Black Diamond Mines or Sibley Volcanic Preserve are common, say naturalists at the East Bay Regional Park District, which manages both areas, as well as Tilden Park.

And occasional rattlesnake bites are reported in these drier, warmer areas, including one last year, said Emily Hopkins, public information officer for the park district.

But Tilden is another matter.

“I’ve been here 18 years, and personally, I’ve seen only one rattlesnake myself,” said Bill Kaminski, acting supervisor of Tilden. “They are here. But very infrequently do people run into them, or report them to us.”  … Continue reading »

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Pets dumped in Tilden cause problems, become dinner

Tilden Little Farm4 Mary Flaherty
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The abandoned chickens appeared one afternoon in December, in the parking lot near Tilden Park’s Little Farm. Nine of them, right next to the bus stop. Whoever dumped them had sprinkled feed on the ground, and apparently hoped the Little Farm would adopt them. Not so.

“It’s as much as I can do to keep these animals clean, alive and fed,” said the man known as Farmer Stanley, gesturing to the chickens, cows, sheep and pigs he has taken care of at the farm for more than a decade.

At least two of those abandoned chickens became dinner for the local wildlife, judging by the piles of feathers found on the ground, said park staff.  They think – or at least hope – that some of the chickens were adopted, in response to an ad posted, because a bunch disappeared all at once.

The month before the chicken-drop, it was a white bunny, left in a cage at the same spot. Last summer there were five kittens. … Continue reading »

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Martin Luther King celebrated with Day of Service

MLK at MLK school Jan. 16
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The center of Berkeley’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday will be the awards breakfast, now in its second year, but there is a host of other activities focused on the National Day of Service. The Day of Service was started by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for his first inauguration, four years ago. This year, the official day is on Saturday, but many events are being held on Monday as well, which is both a national holiday and the date of Obama’s second inauguration.

Here are some of the main Berkeley Day of Service opportunities. Most of the links lead to signup pages for specific events. If you know of others, please let tell us in the comments below.  … Continue reading »

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Locals call for road closure to prevent slaughter of newts

Salamander by Alan Shabel
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Residents in the Berkeley hills have asked East Bay Regional Park District if it would consider closing a road used by migrating newts earlier than usual, after early rains have brought out the newts and many are being run over by cars.

“With the recent rains, the newts are out in force and are being slaughtered,” said Cindy Fulton who lives on Park Hills Road on Thursday. She said on Tuesday evening a neighbor counted 19, 14 of which had been run over.

The neighbor, Alan Shabel, took a photo of one of the newts (above) which was accompanied by a Ensatina salamander.

South Park Drive in Tilden Park is closed every year between Nov. 1 and April 1 to allow the migrating Taricha tarosa, the California newt, to safely cross the road. The closure does not always correspond precisely with when the newts begin their migration, however. Fulton said last year she and her husband, Stefan Carrieri, observed newts on their journeys as late as May and June. … Continue reading »

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The body of a man was discovered by a hiker in Tilden Park on Friday, September 7 at around 8 a.m. There was a gunshot wound to the man’s head and the East Bay Regional Parks public safety department said they believe it was a death by suicide. The body was found near the Orchard Picnic Area off Brook Road, south of the Tilden Park Merry Go-Around. The case is under investigation and awaiting a coroner’s report, according to an EBRP spokesperson.

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Berkeley owl chick will soon branch out, says expert

Great Horned Owl, Owlet, and lunch
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The owl chick that has been drawing crowds of fascinated adults and children to Berkeley’s Claremont Canyon trail, where its parents made a nest in a Eucalyptus tree some weeks ago, will soon began to “branch out” and explore its surroundings before making its first flight, says Doug Bell, Wildlife Progam Manager at East Bay Regional Parks.

Great Horned Owls are unusual among raptors in that they go through this development phase which involves “branching”, namely scrambling around nearby branches using a particular legs and wings action. The explorations can get the chicks into trouble, said Bell, as they might get clumsy and fall out of the tree.

Bell urges people who are visiting the Claremont trail to keep their distance and be respectful of the owls and their chick. “We would encourage people to give them space and to keep their dogs on leash,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Baby owl on Berkeley trail is growing up fast

Owl 4.19.12-4
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The Great Horned Owl nest on the Claremont Canyon fire trail has been a source of great interest for hikers, birders and, yes, Berkeleyside readers.

We first reported on the nest on March 12 when we received reports of the parent owls diving down on unleashed dogs on the trail. In early April we published photos of a new arrival in the Eucalyptus tree: a fluffy white owl chick, being zealously guarded by its parents.

Now we have the privilege of sharing these wonderful photographs posted onto our Flickr pool by prettiephotos. As is clear, the young owl is developing rapidly, getting bigger by the day and sprouting grown-up feathers. And — squeamish alert — nourishment is being brought in by the ever nurturing parents. … Continue reading »

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