Category Archives: Hikes

Successful Broom Pull will be followed by another — soon

It didn’t take long for Beth Molnar, a member of the EQC, to produce this pile of pulled broom.

Our most recent work party, the Madera Open Space broom pull, proved a great success despite its timing – just after the fiercest rains we’ve seen in a while, and with downpours and hail forecasted for that day.

Still, 11 people showed up on Saturday February 16 for this event, spearheaded by the city’s Environmental Quality Committee’s Green Teams and organized by Howdy Goudey. Trekkers co-sponsored.

Broom, a bully of an invasive plant that has in the past decades taken over acres and acres of the Hillside Natural Area, is threatening to reclaim the Madera-Julian Trail, which connects Madera Open Space to the Julian Steps and thus to Motorcycle Hill.

This is a crucial and historic trail in the Hillside Natural Area. It is – so far – the only direct link via trail between the southern and northern areas of the Hillside Area.

The Madera-Julian Trail is facing an invasion of fast-growing broom.

When Trekkers and the El Cerrito High Mountain Biking Team won the support of Trust for Public Land back in 2013 on plans to buy the Madera Open Space, Trust bought in because the purchase would link the two sections of the Hillside.

If Trust hadn’t helped us, the city would never have been able to acquire Madera Open Space and add it to the publicly owned Hillside Natural Area.

Hence, we’d better do what we can to keep this trail passable. (It is a trail that Trekkers created back circa 2012, 2013.)

Watch this space and keep an eye on your email in-box. Green Teams and Trekkers plan another work party at this spot soon.

In two hours on February 16, our crew – a mix of longtime volunteers and welcome newcomers – managed to remove stacks of broom – by the roots of course. Working up close to plants – freeing new live oaks that had been engulfed by broom – is a much more intimate way to enjoy the Hillside than just walking through it.

The views were great as clouds scudded by and the sun came out, and the creek was cascading wildly.

Jacob pulls broom along the Hillside trail

We were careful, of course, to watch out for poison oak, which is starting to leaf.

Then, just past noon, our anointed quitting time, the sky darkened but it didn’t rain. It hailed.

See you at our next broom pull.