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February 6, 2018 > Park It

Park It

By Ned MacKay

Love your parks
ValentineÕs Day is on Feb. 14, and the East Bay Regional Park District will anticipate it with several activities on the theme of love in nature.

For instance, thereÕs a ÔLove is in the AirÕ hike scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Feb. 11 at Sunol Regional Wilderness, led by naturalist Ashley Adams. The hike is part of the Healthy Parks/Healthy People series, designed to encourage enjoyable and healthy outdoor recreation in the regional parks and other public open spaces. Ashley will lead the group on a three-mile round trip walk to a pond where newts convene during the breeding season. Newts are a variety of salamander.

Sunol is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680 in southern Alameda County. Meet Ashley at the park visitor center. The hike is free of charge; Sunol has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call (510) 544-3249.


Another newt safari is planned from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Garin Regional Park in Hayward, led by naturalist Francis Mendoza. This walk is for ages 12 and older, and heavy rain cancels. Garin is located at the end of Garin Avenue off Mission Boulevard. Meet Francis at GarinÕs Red Barn visitor center. Call (510) 544-3220 for information.


There are also lots of newts and other salamanders at Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley. In the rainy season, the newts migrate from woods and fields across South Park Drive to Wildcat Creek for purposes of reproduction.

Naturalist Trent Pearce will lead a walk on South Park Drive from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11 to document the salamander population.

Meet Trent in the Regional Parks Botanic Garden parking lot at the intersection of South Park Drive and Wildcat Canyon Road. Bring a flashlight. The hike will proceed, rain or shine. Call (510) 544-2233.


Also at Tilden, interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker will talk about Charles Darwin and evolution in a program from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Environmental Education Center. SheÕll discuss the animal islands of evolution in the Galapagos Islands and at Tilden.
The center is at the north end of TildenÕs Central Park Drive. Call (510) 544-2233.


Elsewhere in the regional parks, one of the more panoramic vistas can be enjoyed from along the George Miller Trail overlooking Carquinez Straits between Martinez and Port Costa.

Naturalist Kevin Dixon will lead a walk from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10 along the paved, wheelchair accessible trail.

Meet Kevin at the staging area on Carquinez Scenic Drive south of Port Costa. You can get there from Crockett or down McEwen Road from Highway 4. For information, call (510) 544-2750.


Recycling is the theme of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. The naturalist staff will show how to reuse some common household items and offer hints for recycling and reducing waste.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off OakleyÕs Main Street. Call (888) 327-2757, ext. 3050.


A reminder: The Castle Rocks in Mt. Diablo State Park, which overlook Diablo Foothills Regional Park in Walnut Creek, is off limits from now through July 31 to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Please do not enter the area. Signs explaining the restriction are posted at access points along the Old Stage Road trail.


There are lots of other programs scheduled in coming days in the regional parks. For more information, check out the district website,

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