Park It by Ned MacKay: Coastal cleanup

East Bay Regional Parks District

Coastal Cleanup, a statewide volunteer program to pick up trash and recyclables from shoreline parks, lakes and creeks, celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

Volunteers will work from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 21. In the regional parks, Coastal Cleanup work is planned at Big Break in Oakley, Martinez Regional Shoreline, Claeys Beach in Rodeo, Point Pinole and Point Isabel in Richmond, Crab Cove and Encinal Beach in Alameda, Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland, Hayward Regional Shoreline, and Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore.

There are some rules: an adult should accompany children under 16 years old. Please bring a refillable water bottle, a bucket for trash, and reusable gloves if you have them. All volunteers should wear hats, closed-toe shoes, appropriate layered clothing, and bring sunscreen.

The park district will provide snacks, water, latex gloves and trash bags. For groups of 25 or more, please call to confirm participation. For more information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2229 or email

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Speaking of Big Break, Mike Moran, who is the park’s supervising naturalist, will lead one of his citizen scientist programs there from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Mike has been keeping track of the bird of prey population in East Contra Costa for many years. No experience is necessary, the naturalists will teach participants how to identify the hawks, falcons and eagles.

Mike plans another bird of prey census at the same time frame on Oct. 31 at Round Valley south of Brentwood. Both require registration. Call 888-327-2757 and select option 2. For Big Break the registration number is 26800, for Round Valley it’s 26801.

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

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Down the road at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, there’s an evening hike to Rose Hill Cemetery from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22 and again on Oct. 26.

Rose Hill Cemetery is where many of the miners and their families are buried who lived in the now vanished towns of Somersville and Nortonville. Theirs are stories of heroism, tragedy and endurance.

Meet the naturalist in the parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, 3 ½ miles south of Highway 4 for the 15-minute walk uphill to the cemetery. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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“Radical Raptors of Las Trampas” is the theme of a program from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in San Ramon, led by naturalist Ashley Adams.

The group will scan the skies for various birds of prey and consider our connection to them. Meet Ashley in the parking lot at the north end of Bollinger Canyon Road off Crow Canyon Road. For information, call 510-544-3249.

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September 23 marks the autumnal equinox, the first day of fall, when day and night are of equal length. Naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder will anticipate it with a hike from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Briones Regional Park near Martinez, in search of signs of the season.

The hike is for ages eight and older. Meet Gail at the Alhambra Creek staging area, which is off Reliez Valley Road between Alhambra Avenue and Blue Ridge Drive.

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Gail also plans an Over-The-Hills Gang hike from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve in the Oakland hills.

The Gang is an informal group of hikers 55 and older who enjoy exercise and natural history. This is a hilly but shady walk through a variety of plant communities. No dogs, please.

Meet Gail at the trailhead on Skyline Boulevard about a mile south of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard in the Oakland hills.

For information on either the Briones or Huckleberry hike, call 510-544-2233.

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Autumn is also the theme of a Wednesday Walk with naturalist Susan Ramos, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 25 at Anthony Chabot Regional Park north of Castro Valley.

This is a four-mile, sometimes strenuous hike through a meadow, up and down hills and along city streets.

Meet Susan at the Bort Meadow trailhead, which is on Redwood Road about 3½ miles south of the intersection with Skyline Boulevard in Oakland. There are restrooms about a quarter-mile from the trailhead.

For information, call 510-544-3187.

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Fall is a great time for hiking, bicycling and other outdoor activities. For complete information on park district programs, visit the web site, And remember, Fridays are free in the regional parks through the end of the year, in celebration of the district’s 85th anniversary.

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