Trail Trekkers Annual Meeting

Sunday, January 19, 2020 2:30 p.m.

Restoring Unlikely Urban Environments
A presentation by Dr. Ann Riley

Ann Riley is a pioneer in restoring very degraded riparian corridors, including streams that have been undergrounded. These neighborhood scale projects have produced unlikely wild areas in densely populated cities, while reducing potential flood damage. Among projects she has worked on are several in El Cerrito, including Baxter Creek.

Ann is the author of Restoring Neighborhood Streams and Restoring Streams in Cities, and was featured in the PBS TV show Urban Nature. She has worked as a river scientist for the state of California for over 25 years and has been involved with non-profits since the early 1980s as cofounder of the Urban Creeks Council and California Urban Streams Partnership.

The presentation follows a short annual business meeting of Trail Trekkers. Vote for officers – or run for office! Enjoy light refreshments. Free!

El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerrito


Help Improve the Live Oak Trail

Saturday, December 7, 2019 10 a.m. – 12 noon

a man chopping brush on a steep hillside

Improving a Hillside trail can be a satisfying, social experience.

Portions of the beautiful Live Oak Trail near the Douglas Drive trailhead have been washing out over the years, making for bad footing. Portions are blocked by grasses. Join us as we smooth out the trail and cut back growth. Tools and camaraderie provided.

Supervising the work project will be longtime Trekker and trail builder Jenny Hammer.

It is important to improve this trail now, because early next year the Rotary Club and Trekkers will be installing the Rotary Interpretive Walk.

Meet at the Douglas Drive Trailhead by 1524 Douglas Drive.


CANCELLED —Fall Trees and Climate
Saturday, October 26, 2019, 10 am – Noon

CANCELLATION TOMORROW – Trees and Climate Hike

We regret that it is necessary to cancel the Trees and Climate Hike scheduled for tomorrow.

David Ackerly, the hike leader, was notified today that PG&E will be shutting off power to the UC Berkeley campus tomorrow. As Dean of the Agriculture and Natural Resource School his primary responsibility is to manage the impact to research in the School’s buildings.

We will reschedule this hike as soon as possible.

A walking tour of the El Cerrito Hillside Natural Area

Back by popular demand – A climb from the Memorial Grove entrance on Schmidt Lane to one of the fire road viewpoints. We’ll discuss how climate and climate change influence native trees, adaptations and responses of different species to fire, and the mix of native and non-native species in the Hillside Natural Area. Led by David Ackerly, Dean of the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley.


For a full list of past events for 2018 and 2019, go here.

Missile March

Saturday, October 19, 10 am – 3 pm, 2019

including one hour lunch break at site

In the 1950s and 1960s, two dozen Nike anti-aircraft missile sites crowned Bay Area hilltops. Join this hike to the remains of one such site in El Cerrito’s backyard, on San Pablo Ridge in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. The hike from the trailhead covers a bit under five miles round-trip, including a descent into Wildcat Canyon and then a climb of about 700 feet to the site on the ridge top. We will take a lunch break at the site, during which hike leaders Wade Huntley (international security specialist) and Barbara Lass (archaeologist) will provide short presentations on the history, nuclear capability and archaeology of the Nike program and the full missile site complex. No actual marching required!

Meet at Rifle Range Road trailhead to Wildcat Canyon Regional Park.

Bugs and Trekkers
El Cerrito Library El Cerrito Library, 5 p.m. Mon., Oct. 21

Eddie Dunbar fascinated young and old alike during an inset program at the El Cerrito Hillside Festival.

Eddie Dunbar fascinated young and old alike during an inset program at the El Cerrito Hillside Festival.

Trail Trekkers will take over part of the El Cerrito Library at 5 p.m. Monday, October 21. We will discuss our varied activities and – if all goes as planned – debut our printed trail map, which will be free for members and of small cost to others.
Our featured guest will be Eddie Dunbar the Bug Guy in a family friendly presentation. The Bay Area is home to many interesting forms of life. Insects of the San Francisco Bay Area is a project that has photographed insects for the past 20 years. Eddie, of the Insect Sciences Museum, will share photos and bug tales from local parks and open spaces, including some interesting ones from right here in El Cerrito.
The library is at 6510 Stockton Avenue and the event is free.



Enjoy our annual Members Appreciation Party

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019: The leaders of Trail Trekkers enjoy meeting everyone who comes on our hikes or attends other events. Still, we especially appreciate those who go the extra step of joining Trekkers by paying $20 annually or $1,000 for a life membership.

That’s why we throw an annual love-the-members party! Want to come but you’re not a member? Join at the door. We’ll provide plenty of food and lots to drink including beer, wine and variously flavored waters. Bring food to barbecue if desired. We supply the fire. 

Trekkers members include some of the most interesting, welcoming and lively people you will ever meet.

4:30-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, in and around Arlington Park Clubhouse, 1120 Arlington Blvd. Rsvp please!

Tom Gehling and Susan Schwartz flag areas of native habitat

Tom Gehling and Susan Schwartz flag areas of native habitat

Good news:  Work that benefits fire safety and preserves native habitat.

Crews made repairs to several of the fire roads in the Hillside Natural Area. Roads were temporarily  blocked to hikers and bikers at different times during the work.

The work was partially funded through a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, and repaired erosion and other damages in part caused by severe winter weather in 2017. Repairs will make it easier for firefighting equipment to serve the area.

City officials gave Trekkers a heads up, so we surveyed the area to make sure that work would not damage sensitive native habitat. It was great watching Susan Schwartz of Friends of Five Creeks, and Tom Gehling of Trekkers investigate the route and discuss the areas of intact native habitat along the roads.

Our vice president, Pam Austin, conveyed what we learned to city officials – who took this information and walked the route themselves. We appreciate the care officials took both to improve fire safety and use of these fire roads, while working to safeguard the Hillside’s natural treasures.

Volunteers clear and level a Hillside trail

For years one of the most important trails in the Hillside Natural Area has been one of the hardest to negotiate. The Madera-to-Julian Trail (which, thankfully, will soon get a less cumbersome and more evocative name) was constructed by Trekkers five years ago – but never completed.

It’s still not completed, as a few treads are needed. But thanks to 10 hardy volunteers, this trail is now much easier to use. On August 24 we leveled out and widened portions of the trail, cleared debris and brush, and made parts that were overgrown clearly visible

We also removed a forest of small French broom plants that within a year would have been big French broom plants blocking the trail. We even tackled a couple of invasive pampas grass infestations.

We took care not to damage several areas of native habitat that are alongside the trail, with the aid of a knowledgeable naturalist who was part of our group.

This is a particularly important trail because it links the southern and northern sections of the Hillside Natural Area. It stretches from the lower meadow of the Madera Open Space to the Julian public stairs near Potrero Avenue.

Trekkers plans more such work parties in the future. Watch for announcements, and join us if you can.

Successful broom pulls cleans sections of the Hillside

July 21, 2019: For well over 20 years, Friends of Five Creeks has been cleansing the Hillside Natural Area of invasive French Broom, which squeezes out native plants that would otherwise provide habitat for tiny critters.

So it’s a privilege whenever Trail Trekkers can take part on one of their clean sweeps.

Today about a dozen people from both groups removed broom from the Regency and Ridge Trail areas, pulling up both tiny baby broom plants less than two inches high, and larger plants, some reaching to six feet.

We paid heed to those with seed, carefully bagging seed-bearing limbs to prevent new growth.

It’s reaching that time of year when the ground grows hard and broom becomes harder to pull. But it came out easily enough today, thanks to weed wrenches, some borrowed from the city of El Cerrito.

Both Five Creeks and Trekkers will continue our efforts to restore habitat in the Hillside. Please join us at the next opportunity.

© 2019 El Cerrito Trail Trekkers Contact