Blasts from the Past

Ten people spread out along a wide, flat trail, look through binoculars hoping to find birds

Early Morning Bird Walk led by Tara McIntire

Mark your calendars for the Hillside Festival

Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, 2022

This free event returns to the real Hillside this year after a virtual festival in 2020. We have a full range of activities, with Eddie Dunbar of the Insect Sciences Museum kicking the fest off with an ever-popular hike for all ages.

We will have geology and history hikes, a birding morning hike and native plants hikes. There will be a history of El Cerrito walk and an outdoors talk on Native Americans by author Richard Schwartz.

Pick up a hard copy map and schedule, which will soon be distributed at community centers, libraries and shops throughout El Cerrito and nearby towns. Or download the 2022 Trekkers Hill Fest Schedule.

A smiling guy in a safari hat points into a tree

Eddie Dunbar will talk about insects in the Hillside during the meeting. Here he is seen during his insect hike at the last Hillside Festival. Photo by Dave Weinstein.

2021 Trekkers Annual Meeting

Join us at the El Cerrito Trail Trekkers Annual Meeting. On Sunday, January 24 at 4 PM, Trekkers will host a virtual hike in the Hillside Natural Area along the Rotary Interpretive Walk. The trail features a series of informational signs installed a few months ago that were made possible by the El Cerrito Rotary Club.

Trekkers board members Wade Huntley and Barbara Lass will lead the way with photos of the signs and views. We will be joined by geologist Gary Prost, entomologist Eddie Dunbar, and birder and wildlife photographer Tara McIntire, who will tell us more about the geology, insects, and birds of the Hillside area. The Rotary Interpretive Walk is a great addition to the Hillside area, and this presentation will encourage all of us to get out and enjoy the trails this winter.

The “walk” will follow a 15-minute business meeting that will see a treasury report, public comment, a brief discussion of accomplishments and goals, and election of officers.

   Topic: Trail Trekkers Annual Meeting

Time: Jan 24, 2021 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Trekkers presents its slate of officers and seeks nominations.

Are you interested in helping preserve and expand El Cerrito’s network of trails and open spaces? We are open to nominations for membership on the Trekkers board of directors. Nominate yourself, or a friend (if that person has agreed to serve).

Our bylaws authorize a board of up to 10 members and our slate only has five, so don’t be concerned about a tight, disputed race. An ideal board member is committed to the cause of improving life in El Cerrito through trails and open space, and has time and energy. The board meets the second Saturday of the month from 10:30 to noon.

We would particularly welcome people who want to lead trail building and other work parties, or are interesting in raising funds to buy open space. But anyone interested in trails is encouraged to consider board membership.

Interested? Nominations are accepted now to the time of the meeting.

Our slate of officers. All current board members would like to remain on the board. We are happy to announce a new member of our slate, Melisssa Hobbs.

Have you renewed your membership? It only costs $20 annually to belong to Trekkers, and $1,000 buys a life membership. Please renew now or join by going to our website and downloading the membership form.

And consider an additional donation as well. Funds go for trail work, to install trail signs, for a fund to purchase additional open space, as well as incidental expenses. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Volunteers spent the morning of Halloween filling a dumpster with dead broom and other foliage debris, as well as by pulling broom plants. Photo by Dave Weinstein

Dangerous debris removed from Hillside Natural Area

Eleven volunteers attended a Trail Trekkers broom haul and pull just before Halloween rolled in, filling a dumpster with dead broom and piles of wood. We also pulled living broom. In the process we continued to clear a beautiful little spot, dotted with rock outcrops, in the Madera Open Space section of the Hillside Natural Area. The city provided the dumpster and tools.

Broom is an invasive plant that crowds out native plants. It is also highly flammable, as are piles of long dead wood. Still, at least two piles of dead broom and other woody materials remain. One more work party ought to do it, right? Watch this space as we do another, hopefully in December.

Attending a broom work party with Trekkers is about more than doing a good deed. It is a great way to learn about nature, as many of the volunteers are deeply knowledgeable. Come out to the next one and meet some of our city’s more interesting citizens.

Red-shouldered hawks raising their young in the Hillside

As more and more people enjoy the trails in El Cerrito’s Hillside Natural Area during the COVID crisis, it’s a good time to be observant. The Hillside is home to native plants and native wildlife – including red-shouldered hawks.

These should not be confused with red-tailed hawks. This little video will help you tell them apart.

Gavin Lee has an eye for hawks and is a fine photographer. He sent us these two photos of red-shouldered hawk fledglings.

“With the shelter in place, we’ve been hiking in the El Cerrito Hillside Natural Area daily.  This is where both hawks have nests in two different areas of eucalyptus,” he writes.

You can see more of his photography on Instagram.

Chris Treadway covers the new Rotary Signs for the East Bay times

July 10: New interpretive signs placed in El Cerrito’s Hillside Natural Area

The very first members of the general public to view a Rotary Interpretive Walk sign after its installation on May 1 gave their approval. Photo by Dave Weinstein

The very first members of the general public to view a Rotary Interpretive Walk sign after its installation on May 1 gave their approval. Photo by Dave Weinstein

Rotary Interpretive Walk debuts in the Hillside

Two members of the El Cerrito Rotary Club, which funded the signs, provided inspiration, and are providing labor, took part in the installation of the first of the Rotary interpretive signs. They were club president Marty Kaliski and Lee Prutton, who has overseen the three-year project. Trekker Dave Weinstein assisted in the installation of the first sign. It was installed ahead of the others to gauge how things would go. They went well.

Masks were worn and social distancing reigned.

The remaining 14 signs will be placed later this month by small groups of Rotary Club and Trekker volunteers, probably two volunteers per set of signs, adhering to social distance rules and wearing masks. Trekkers thanks Rotary, the sign designer Jan Byers, the artist Adam Prost, and all those who contributed their knowledge by writing the signs.

The interpretive signs cover a wide variety of topics, from history to geology to flora and fauna. They came about when the Rotary approached Trekkers three years ago suggesting a donation for an important project.

The signs are being installed along portions of the Live Oak Trail.

Authors of the sign text are Susan Schwartz of Friends of Five Creeks, who wrote about creeks, grassland, oaks and shrubs; Tara McIntire, who wrote about red-tailed hawks; Keli Hendricks of Project Coyote, who wrote about coyotes; Gary Prost of the Northern California Geological Society, who wrote about rocks and geology; Zara McDonald of the Felidae Conservation Fund, who wrote about mountain lions; Dave Weinstein, who wrote about Hillside history and banana slugs; Eddie Dunbar of the Insect Sciences Museum of California, who wrote about dragonflies; and Bev Ortiz of the East Bay Regional Park District, who wrote about the Huchiun people.

Tom Gehling contributed drawings of invasive plants.

Trail Trekkers mourns the loss of Mollie Hazen

Trekkers’ board member and communications director Mollie Hazen died on August 11, 2019, after fighting cancer for several years.

She played an important part in our organization, getting out the word about our events and focusing on how to attract more participants through social engagement.

Mollie was a savvy person, knowledgeable about state and local politics, and was very good at sizing up people and envisioning how events might play out. Her contributions to board discussions were invaluable.

Even as she grew ill, Mollie remained active not just with Trekkers, but as board president of the Kensington Symphony and a member of the city’s Crime Prevention Committee. Her energy did not flag until it was gone. Weakness, and the need for a wheelchair, did not stop her from helping run our booth at the July 4 festival.

Shevlin to Arlington Park Path

If there is one here it is.


Trail Trekkers in the news …

Contra Costa Marketplace July 2018


Volunteers Wanted!

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


Motorcycle Hill steps installed!

Read about it here.



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