Back to the Beginning

P1010303I’ve enjoyed volunteering in Dimond Park, Dimond Canyon Park, and Joaquin Miller Park since 2008, shortly after I moved into the neighborhood and discovered them. I’ve rebuilt trail beds, trimmed thorny blackberry and poison oak off the trails, and painted over graffiti on the Leimert Bridge. I’ve spread city-supplied gravel over muddy parking areas, cleaned litter out of Sausal Creek, and even helped update Oakland’s emergency dispatch database, making sure that every trail name and park facility was included and spelled correctly.

There are hundreds of dedicated volunteers taking care of all aspects of the parks. Friends of Sausal Creek, Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, and the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay (just to name a few organizations) work year-round in these parks, up and down the hill. Like me, they love this place, and are inspired to give back.

But then, in the summer of 2011, I decided to lead a hiking tour on behalf of the Dimond Improvement Association. The first one had a handful of people, mostly friends from the neighborhood. The next one had more, and by the tenth tour, I was leading a group of almost thirty people from Oakland, and often Berkeley, Alameda, and San Leandro!

If only I would have kept track of how many times I’ve heard this from a Dimond Park-area local:

“I’ve lived in [insert the name of your neighborhood here] for twenty years, and I had no idea I could hike from Dimond Park up to the Bay Area Ridge Trail!”

But, they found out. They found out what they were missing, then started bringing their friends along with them. And I found my volunteer niche.

P1010458While many do great volunteer work maintaining the park facilities and trails, my focus is to promote them. I’ve taken adults, inner city youth, and seniors on hikes. I’ve led two-mile hikes, and six-hour treks from Dimond Park to Tilden Park (about 13 miles), and to Moraga (about 10 miles). I take pleasure in exposing locals and visitors to something new, showing off our beautiful trails, creeks, and woods, and our local businesses and neighborhoods.

Making a documentary film had been my dream, but one that seemed unattainable. Fortunately, in October of 2014, I met Emily, Katherine and Henry, who had recently completed the M.F.A. Documentary Film & Video Program at Stanford University and moved to Oakland.  When I pitched this project, they were excited and they understood my vision for the film. So, I got to work. I received permission from the city, secured a fiscal sponsor, then by late December, began fundraising.

In just three months from its conception, with my outreach, the partnership with Friends of Oakland Parks & Recreation and the City of Oakland, and the generosity of this community at large, we are almost there. We are on target to shoot the film in March (while the grass is still green!) and we should have a finished documentary by July of this year – a beautiful, educational film about the trail system, the volunteers who take care of it, and the neighborhoods that are connected to it.

As of January 31, 2015, we have raised $12,000 towards our goal!

The minimum budget for this film project is $15,500. With continued support, be it by your donations or by your willingness to share this project with your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and customers, we’ll begin the production of this film very soon.

With gratitude for this greater community’s amazing spirit and generosity,

– Stan Dodson
Executive Producer

Donations are tax deductible, processed through our fiscal sponsor Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in Oakland, CA. Tax ID# 94-2751052

News: Piedmont Pines ~ Montclair ~ Deidre Joyner ~ Oakmore ~ I Need Your Photos!

Please help spread the word…we’re getting closer to sharing this story about the trail system, the volunteers taking care of it, and the neighborhoods connected to it.

One really great benefit from this project is that it’s connecting the neighborhoods that are connected to the trail system. On Monday night, I attended the Piedmont Pines Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting to promote the film, and made lots of new friends. That neighborhood connects to Joaquin Miller Park, and will be part of the story. This morning, I presented the film project to the Montclair Village Association. They, too, with their connection to the trail system and the Sausal Creek watershed, have generously invested in this film.

I’ve chosen a real estate professional to participate in this project: Deidre Joyner. Thank you to all who contacted me. To select one, there were many great candidates that I had to pass up, but I’m proud Deidre is involved. We’ve worked together to promote this region for more than a decade.

I’m still looking to connect with the Oakmore neighborhood. If you can help, please contact me here.

BTCEB two-man crosscut sawI’ve had fun filling up the website’s slideshow with many beautiful pictures from the trails, and also some of volunteers (a big thanks to the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay volunteers who last Thursday, with their two-person crosscut saw, removed that HUGE tree that angled across the Sequoia-Bayview Trail in Joaquin Miller Park). Thanks for all the positive comments on the growing display!

I’d like to ask YOU to submit a favorite photo from your street. If you live near Dimond Park, Dimond Canyon Park, or Joaquin Miller Park, your neighborhood is part of this story. Please email one (1) of your favorite photos to: [email protected] (landscape orientation is preferred – 1MB is a good size). Please be sure to label the photo with the street name and neighborhood, and yours may be featured in the slideshow.

THANK YOU to the growing list of neighbors who have become sponsors and supporters. And remember, sharing this project with your friends, family, and co-workers is another important way to show your support. It’s all appreciated…every little bit helps.

See you on the trails!

– Stan Dodson
Executive Producer

Donations are tax deductible, processed through our fiscal sponsor Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in Oakland, CA. Tax ID# 94-2751052