Park it by Ned MacKay: Closing a Bay Trail gap

Construction is planned to close one of the largest remaining gaps in a trail that when completed will encircle all of San Francisco Bay.

The project will extend the existing trail for one mile between Buchanan and Gilman Streets west of Golden Gate Fields in Albany and Berkeley.

The trail section will be constructed on an easement donated by Golden Gate Fields to the East Bay Regional Park District in 2016. When completed, the trail will offer spectacular views of the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge and Mt. Tamalpais.

During construction, security fencing, barriers and signs will be in place for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians crossing the racetrack property. Racetrack patrons will still have access via Gilman and Buchanan Streets.

As part of the same project, the Park District is restoring wildlife habitat at Albany Beach. The beach will be closed for five months during construction.

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Lots of great programs are in the works at the East Bay Regional Parks in November.

First of all, on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, parking fees at regional park entrances will be waived for all veterans, in recognition of their military service.

And there’s a veteran-themed open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12 at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. Crab Cove was once a military installation, a training school for merchant marine officers.

Drop in at the open house and learn how to fold a flag, tie knots, make red, white and blue crafts, and create a flower for a memorial wreath to honor our veterans.

Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.

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Out at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch there’s a hike to historic Rose Hill Cemetery from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Nov. 11, led by naturalist Eddie Willis. Learn about the lives of 19th Century coal miners and their families, many of whom are buried at Rose Hill.

Meet Eddie in the parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the hike is free. It’s about a 15-minute uphill walk from the lot to the cemetery.

Rain cancels the program. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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Raccoons are the stars of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. Naturalists will lead a hunt for signs of the elusive little ring-tailed furballs.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

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Briones Regional Park near Orinda will be the venue for a hilly bird-watching walk from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Nov. 12, led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. Meet Anthony at the Bear Creek staging area, which is on Bear Creek Road about five miles north of the junction with Camino Pablo/San Pablo Dam Road in Orinda.

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The Over-the-Hills Gang is an informal group of hikers ages 55 and older who enjoy nature study, fitness and fun while exploring various regional parks.

The gang will tackle Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond on a hike from10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, led by naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder.

This is a mostly flat walk through a park with beautiful views and an explosive past. Meet Gail at the Atlas staging area, which is at the bay end of Atlas Road. For information on either Anthony’s or Gail’s program, call 510-544-2233.

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Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley plans a couple of fun programs on Veterans Day weekend.

You can join Trail Gail from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10 to make a miniature boat out of tule reeds, then test its buoyancy in a nearby pond.

Or you can learn all about woodrats, a smaller relative of the beaver, in a program from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Nov. 11 with naturalist Anthony Fisher. Woodrats spend all their time building messy nests, foraging, fighting and creating habitat for other woodland creatures.

Both programs meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. Again, call 510-544-2233.

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At Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County, there’s a Maguire Peak mysteries hike from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11. It’s a five-mile trek through time, led by naturalist Ashley Adams, with lots of natural history curiosities along the way.

The hike is free of charge, but registration is required. Call 888-327-2757, select option 2, and refer to program number 23234.

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