The El Cerrito Trail Trekkers formed in order to build, maintain, publicize and use the little known urban trails of El Cerrito, California. You can support us by joining or donating, or you can keep up with our progress by getting on our email list. Read more about us here. Follow us on Twitter @ECTrailTrekkers or Facebook . Read about our accomplishments in 2018 and our goals for 2019 here.
Our sixth annual festival will be May 3-5 throughout the Hillside, and as always free, with events for young and old and those in between. There’s lots more information here.
Trekkers 2019 Annual Meeting
Trekkers will focus on fire prevention in 2019
Trail Trekkers kicked off its ninth year in existence last weekend with a wonderfully informative and challenging program by Cheryl Miller, executive coordinator of the Diablo Fire Safe Council, and Dave Gibson, El Cerrito’s fire marshal. The 75 people in attendance learned that wildland fires in El Cerrito and nearby threaten not only homes in the hill but those in the flatlands too. They learned about easy – and less easy – things that can be done to make their homes more fire safe. And they heard about efforts by the city and East Bay Regional Park District to reduce fire loads in the Hillside Natural Area, Wildcat and Tilden regional park, and elsewhere.
You can view Cheryl’s presentation here.
Throughout the year Trekkers will address this theme. Working with the El Cerrito Fire Department we will present two or more “Defensible Space” hikes, with fire prevention experts pointing out how homeowners can reduce the risk of their homes catching fire by reducing vegetation, planting it in the right spots, and watching out for vents and roofline entries that make it easier for fires to start.
In addition, during our 6th annual Hillside Festival, May 3-5, the city’s fire marshal, Dave Gibson, will lead a walk in the Hillside Natural Area focusing on what the city does now to reduce fire risk there and what can be done in the future.
Update: Developer returns with plan for mansions on Fairview Open Space
After two years of silence, the group that wants to build 38 large homes on the 15-acre Fairview Open Space has submitted a new proposal to the city.
Trail Trekkers opposes any development on the site, which is the northernmost and last undeveloped section of El Cerrito’s Hillside. The area is just to the north of Motorcycle Hill, bordered by Fairview Drive, Tamalpais Avenue and the houses above on Arlington Boulevard.
The Fairview Open Space is a beautiful site featuring two creeks – one of which includes a series of scenic cascades — as well as steep slopes, some relatively flat sections, rock outcrops, and wildlife. We hope to add the land to the city’s Hillside Natural Area.
The latest development proposal resembles the last proposal, including plans for the same number of houses, which was an issue for city planners two years ago. At the staff level, the decision was made to send the previous proposal back to the developer for not complying with city ordinances or planning principles.
While differing from the last plan in providing greater distance between homes and the larger of the site’s two creeks, the new plan calls for channelizing the second creek. This would violate the city’s creek ordinance, and would also violate regional water quality rules.
We anticipate city staff will again send the plan back to the developer without bringing it before the Planning Commission.
Trekkers will continue to watch over this property, which is one of the city’s treasures, the last significant piece of undeveloped open space and habitat in our city, and a natural continuation of the Hillside Natural Area.
Four years ago Trekkers led an effort that resulted in the city buying and adding the Madera Open Space to the Hillside Area. That success owes much to the strong support of the community. We will need that support again to save the Fairview Open Space.
2018 Hillside Festival Update
The 5th Annual Hillside Festival proved to be a real success. Almost every event was well attended and worth attending. Our president, Dave Weinstein, attended every one!
Our co-sponsor was the city’s Environmental Quality Committee. This was our first event that took place over three days, not one day as in the past, and the change proved worthwhile. It was now possible, for example, and with some scrambling, to attend every event.
It’s hard to focus on high points. Let’s mention the sweet and easygoing opening night family ramble led by Alina Constantinescu that caught just the beginnings of the sunset. And how about the excellent geology hike that was both in-depth yet informal, with much interaction between the two leaders and the group? We had two nature hikes, one by of the California Native Plant Society, and another led by the leader of Friends of Five Creeks and a former member of the city’s urban forestry committee. Each hike complemented the other.
Madera Elementary School volunteers led a rousing hike for young people, and welcomed us to visit their incredible vegetable gardens and to enjoy a remarkable farmers’ market. Richard Schwartz’s in-depth and no-holds-barred discussion of Indian and early rancho life in the El Cerrito area was riveting. Two descendants of El Cerrito’s original colonial settler, Victor Castro, came all the way down from Santa Rosa and Healdsburg to attend.
Attendance at hikes: In total, about 300 people attended the festival, several attending more than one event. Last year, we estimated, attendance was closer to 250.
We are already planning a more expansive event in May 2019. Watch for an announcement of the date. We plan to add more hikes of the type that were successful, and attract more young people by having shorter, yet energetic hikes.
Thanks to all who led hikes or organized the festival. Special kudos to our board members Pam Austin and Mollie Hazen who did an excellent job in keeping everything on track. Thanks, as well, to all who donated to pay for hillside maintenance and improvement, and to all who attended. We appreciate the great timely work of our graphic designer, Jan Byers (brochure) and printer, John Shastik. And much appreciation to Corey Mason (KECG) for the awesome PSA radio spots with Mollie Hazen – they are a good team!
The Trekkers are looking for volunteers to help improve trails and continue building new ones. Let us know if you can help – contact Dave Weinstein at 510-524-1737 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Motorcycle Hill steps installed!
Read about it here.
© 2018 El Cerrito Trail Trekkers Contact