Park It by Ned MacKay: Coastal Cleanup

Every year at this time, there’s a call for volunteers to help remove trash and recyclables from shoreline parks, lakes and along creeks throughout California.

Coastal Cleanup 2018 is from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 15. East Bay Regional Park District will participate at nine regional parklands.

Volunteers should bring a refillable water bottle, sunscreen, gloves, a hat, and a bucket for trash. All volunteers should wear close-toed shoes, and layered clothing appropriate for the weather. The park district will provide snacks, water and trash bags. An adult should accompany children under 16 years old.

The nine coastal cleanup locations in the regional parks are the Encinal boat ramp and Crown Beach in Alameda, Big Break in Oakley, Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore, Hayward Shoreline, Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland, Point Isabel and Point Pinole in Richmond, and Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline in Martinez.

Registration is required. For registration, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 22194 for Encinal, 22197 for Big Break, 22176 for Crown Beach, 22177 for Del Valle, 22182 for Hayward, 22187 for King Shoreline, 22188 for Point Isabel, 22190 for Point Pinole, and 22183 for Martinez. For general information, call 510-544-2229.

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It may seem early to be announcing the Haunted Railroad program in October at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, but the organizers tell me that tickets are sold in advance beginning Sept. 15, and they get snapped up quickly.

The Haunted Railroad is a train ride at Ardenwood geared for families with children under 12, during which live actors play silly characters, and there are Halloween-themed inflatables along the way. There’s nothing scary about it.

All children must be with an adult, and for safety reasons, each child under 3 must be with a separate adult.

The train runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27. Times are 7 to 9 p.m. on Sundays, Oct. 21 and 28.

Admission is $10 for ages 3 and older, free for children 2 and under. Parking is free. Tickets are sold in advance beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15 on Search for “Haunted Train.”

The event is a fundraiser for the nonprofit railroad museum at Ardenwood. For information, visit and

Ardenwood is at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84 in Fremont. For general information, call 510-544-2797.

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Wildlife viewing is the objective of a three-mile walk from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, led by naturalist Michael Charnofsky, starting at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda.

The group will view a seal colony, discuss wildlife conservation issues, and learn to look for the unexpected. Binoculars will be available to borrow.

And from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day” at Crab Cove. Drop by the visitor center for grog (cider), crafts, buried treasure and over-the-top theatricality.

Crab Cove is located at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.

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There’s a labyrinth at the bottom of an old quarry pit at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland. Naturalist Michael Charnofsky and local artist Helena Mazzariello will lead an easy three-mile walk to view it from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23.

Helena built the labyrinth. She’ll talk about labyrinth mystiques and myths, and disclose how she secretly created the one at Sibley.

The hike is free, designed for ages 10 and older, and registration is required. Call 888-327-2757, select option 2 and refer to program number 22441.

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Naturalist Jenna Scimeca will wax eloquent about bees during a program from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16 at the Little Farm in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.

Beeswax is important to both bees and humans. Visitors can make a candle and sample local honey.

Then from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Jenna will show off the Little Farm’s resident chickens, help visitors grind some corn, and feed the birds a snack.

The Little Farm is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

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Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch will host a mine open house from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16.

It’s a chance to take a free, self-guided tour of the former silica sand mine, starting at Hazel-Atlas Portal and ending at Greathouse Portal. Park staff and volunteers will be stationed along the way to point out interesting features.

For safety reasons, the mine tour is open only to ages seven and older. There will be aboveground activities for younger children.

Black Diamond Mines is located at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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The history of Big Break Regional Shoreline from river to wetland to farm to park is the topic of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

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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There’s always lots to do in the regional parks. Check out the website, for complete listings.

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