Hot off the Press! Great article at Oakland Local

On Thursday, I led Oakland Local reporter  and four of her friends on a three-hour hike from Dimond Park to the Chabot Space & Science Center, where we then hopped on the 339 AC Transit bus line for a ten-minute ride back to Dimond. It was a fantastic day in Oakland parks, and her article does a great job of capturing the spirit of my passion for the trail system. Click here to read the story.

339 AC TransitAfter a great hike and a few cookies packed in
from La Farine, the bus ride back was a breeze.
Thank you, Nastia (left), and Oakland Local!


For a map of the route covered in the story, click here.

It’s a wrap!

wrapToday, I was in the hot seat. And with the conclusion of my interview, it’s a wrap! It has been a blast working with Emily and Henry throughout the filming process. Also fun was working with the multiple groups and individuals the film will feature. I’ve made many new friends, and strengthened old ones along the way.

For a preview of the film content, scroll down through my filming journal – it’s detailed day-by-day. There will be more news to come, but as for the release date, count on enjoying the fruits of our labor sometime this summer.

See you on the trails!

– Stan Dodson
Executive Producer

Filming: Day 16 (part 2)

emily2To start the second half of our filming session, we interviewed Emily Rosenberg, Chair of the Friends of Joaquin Miller Park Board of Directors. This all-volunteer group is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders – hikers, dog walkers, bikers, equestrians, preservationists, historians, and neighbors – all dedicated to preserving and promoting Oakland’s premier 500+ acre wildland park. She discussed FOJMP’s history, their many recent accomplishments, and their plans for the future. FOJMP’s monthly meetings, held on the 2nd Monday of the month at the Joaquin Miller Park Community Center from 8:30am–10am, are open to the public.


We then headed over to Sequoia Arena in Joaquin Miller Park, where Mia and Rebecca – members of the Metropolitan Horsemen’s Association and volunteer mounted patrol in the East Bay Regional Park District – graciously put on a show with their beautiful horses (we’ll save the gorgeous trail riding footage for the film).






Filming: Day 16 (part 1)

mikeToday was all hands on deck for a full day of filming. We started by interviewing Mike Udkow, retired physician and President of the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay. I feel it’s important to promote the organizations that take care of the trail system, and no other group has put more effort into trail work – we’re talking hard, physical, and smart labor – than the BTCEB. As a stakeholder member on the Friends of Joaquin Miller Park Board of Directors, their monthly workdays in Joaquin Miller Park tackle many challenging maintenance issues:

  • Ecological – rerouting trails out of seasonal creeks and away from sensitive habitats, including the redwoods
  • Safety – rerouting trails with excessive grades and dangerous intersections
  • Stewardship – blocking illegal or “social” trails once they’re formed by renegades

BTCEB, the oldest mountain bike club in the nation, greatly appreciates the access to Joaquin Miller Park and Dimond Canyon Park, and will continue to promote the sport, help maintain the trails, and educate their members on how to be responsible trail users.

Filming: Day 15

This film would be nothing without some doggies in it, so today, Charlie, Simone, and Abby were the stars. Joaquin Miller Park has two large fenced-in dog runs – one for bigs and one for smalls – so we captured a whole bunch of off-leash fun. Thanks to Gary and Vanessa for bringing their playful pooches out to goof around and even pose for the cameras! Thanks, also, to the new friends we met. It was another friendly day in the park!





Filming: Days 12–14


Since January, I’ve been so busy producing a film about the trail system (on top of my day job), that I haven’t found time for hikes or trail runs! Today, that changed, as for the next three days, I’ll be strapping on a GoPro and hiking from La Farine in Dimond to the top of Joaquin Miller Park near the Chabot Space & Science Center – 4.5 miles and nearly 1300′ elevation gain – all on beautiful trails in Oakland.

Maybe five seconds of the footage will make the film, but it’s a great excuse to work and play at the same time.

Filming: Day 11

I met Henry at the Bishop’s Walk Trailhead in Joaquin Miller Park at 6:30am. From there, we hiked in the dark with the gear up to Lookout Point in order to capture the sunrise. Except for getting mauled by mosquitos, it was a beautiful morning.




Then, Henry tried to keep up with me on the Sinawik Trail, following behind me with the “steady cam” for some live hiking footage. By the afternoon, we were doing the same in three gorgeous areas of Dimond Canyon Park.


Filming: Day 10

We weren’t able to film much today, because…well…the gray sky just wasn’t very pretty. We got some good b-roll from the surrounding business districts, though, doing our best to hide it. We started the day at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, then headed to Dimond.





Filming: Day 9

jtDimond Park connects by trail to Dimond Canyon Park, Joaquin Miller Park, and to the Bay Area Ridge Trail and beyond. Today, we interviewed Jim Townsend, Interim Chief of Design & Construction for the East Bay Regional Park District, from a scenic trail location in their jewel – Redwood Park – to talk about that “beyond”.

I’ve been enjoying the Regional Park system for more than 25 years, so it was a pleasure to hear Jim talk about the history, successes, and plans for the future – and a brief description of the more than 500 miles of trails (!) to which Dimond Park is connected. This park system, the first of its kind in the U.S., was created in the 1930’s. And even though the country was in the grip of The Great Depression, our forebears voted to tax themselves to form the assessment district. Amazing.

For a descriptive time-line of East Bay Regional Park District history, created to help celebrate their 80th anniversary in 2014, please click here.

After Jim’s interview, we captured footage from the Cascades area of Joaquin Miller Park.



jm horse


Filming: Day 8

After seven full days of filming amazing group projects and interviews, today we set our own schedule. Henry wanted some “beauty shots”, so this afternoon, I took him straight to the Palos Colorados Trail in Joaquin Miller Park. It was his first visit. He was not disappointed.


PC steps




Filming: Day 7

Farmer Joes Marketplace - DimondWe were down one filmmaker, but we didn’t miss a beat. We started the day at sunrise on the roof of La Farine, which offered us a grand view of Farmer Joe’s Marketplace and the hills beyond. We then started documenting my hike from Dimond to the Bay Area Ridge Trail. With a camera following me, I walked from the bakery until I entered the park from its two Dimond neighborhood entrances: the end of Dimond Ave, and off Fruitvale Ave near the tennis courts. Henry filmed as I continued to the entrance of Dimond Canyon Park from El Centro Ave until I disappeared into the woods.

nbThen, I gave Henry a tour of the Dimond Business District for some b-roll (def: supplemental or alternative footage). We spent most of our time in and around Farmer Joe’s, but we’ll be sure to visit Paws & Claws and Hive, the place to bee the next time through. More, too, from Dimond will be shot for consideration in the final cut.

Thanks to Noel Black, Keep Dimond Clean volunteer, for helping us out by following Henry with the boom mic!

Next was an interview with Deidre Joyner at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Glenview. She’s a local, experienced realtor, so today we asked her to describe the neighborhoods and business districts that connect to the parks and trail system. It was very interesting to hear her thoughtful descriptions, including the architectural charms, history of the neighborhoods, and opportunities the heart of Oakland has to offer a business and homeowner.



Filming: Day 6

LF amHighlighting the neighborhoods connected to the trail system will be another important aspect of this film, so we started the day by getting some early morning shots at La Farine Bakery.

Then, we moved up to Joaquin Miller Park where we captured a hiking tour I led for young men from Brother’s on the Rise. Background: in 2013, the Program Director at Brothers on the Rise contacted Friends of Joaquin Miller Park (FOJMP) asking if one of their members would be willing to lead some young men on a hiking tour. At the time, I was on their board, and I jumped at the chance.

BOTR HTBut, we discovered a scheduling problem. While it is possible to take public transportation to Joaquin Miller Park, they didn’t have enough time to accommodate two bus transfers to and from the redwoods. I proposed a “transportation grant” program to FOJMP, and they agreed to fund the cost of a passenger van rental for the youth organization. Problem solved. The youth had an efficient mode of transportation to the trailhead so we could spend maximum time enjoying the park. Today, we continued that program and had a super fun hike with the youth from Allendale.

Special thanks go to long-term La Farine employee, John “Poopy” Olson, for hanging out with the extra equipment while we filmed the hiking tour.

sunsetWe finished the day with Emily and Henry getting a taste of the amazing view from the Sunset Trail near Castle Dr. If you’ve never experienced this vista, contact me and I’ll help you find it.

Brothers on the Rise is a dual direct service-systems change organization which responsibly empowers male youth to achieve individual success, develop healthy relationships and contribute to a more just and equitable society. We accomplish this through comprehensive gender-responsive, culturally appropriate, preventive, pipeline programs that directly serve boys and young men of color. We also provide capacity building for schools, nonprofits and public agencies through training, coaching, curriculum development, consulting, convening, research and writing – all empowering the community towards more effective and equitable practice. Through these programs, BOTR and its partners help to raise, educate and develop boys into responsible, peaceful, caring and productive young men. Brothers on the Rise is based in Oakland with programs impacting youth, families, teachers and providers throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

Friends of Joaquin Miller Park (FOJMP) are hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, dog owners, cross country runners, historians, writers, and neighbors — all dedicated to maintaining, preserving and enhancing the rich natural legacy that was originally the home of the late 19th Century poet and environmentalist, Joaquin Miller. FOJMP is sponsored by Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit corporation in Oakland, CA. Join today!

Filming: Day 5

tp2Today was a long but exciting day of filming! First, we captured a trail improvement project performed by the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay for Cinderella Creek and park users on the Sunset Trail. Background: In the summer of 2013, the very steep bottom section of Cinderella Trail in Joaquin Miller Park was rerouted to eliminate a dangerous trail intersection and to control erosion in the watershed. It was a massive project that included several groups – Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, Volunteers for Outdoor California (V-O-Cal), Bicycle Trail Council of the East Bay, Oakland Parks & Recreation, and Oakland Public Works. A new 1/3 mile of trail was designed and constructed, while the old, over grade trail was closed off.

Last November, park stewards noticed that the barriers had been removed by other park users, and this problem section of trail was once again being used. Public Works was notified, and a collaboration of volunteers and city staff got together and planned an immediate fix. Today, we filmed the workday from that collaboration.

mk1Then, we packed up the gear from deep in the park and headed to Friends of Sausal Creek’s native plant nursery. There, we interviewed Michelle Krieg, FOSC’s Restoration and Nursery Manager. She did an amazing job in a beautiful setting.


Filming: Day 4

fojmp logo #6The Oakland Parks & Recreation Department strives to have an advisory council for each of its 100+ city parks. On every second Monday of the month, Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, with their diverse Board of Directors, meets to aid the city by identifying issues and opportunities to enhance the experience in Joaquin Miller Park’s more than 500 acres for Oaklanders and visitors alike. Today, we visited their board meeting to film them in action.

After updates on several on-going projects, including new kiosks and signage to reduce trail-use conflicts, the bulk of the meeting was dedicated to helping Robert Kennedy, Public Works Park Supervisor II, and Rebuilding Together Oakland’s Rachel Matthews, Program Director, plan specific projects for up to 500(!) volunteers who will descend on the park over two Saturdays in April.

Friends of Joaquin Miller Park (FOJMP) are hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, dog owners, cross country runners, historians, writers, and neighbors — all dedicated to maintaining, preserving and enhancing the rich natural legacy that was originally the home of the late 19th Century poet and environmentalist, Joaquin Miller. FOJMP is sponsored by Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit corporation in Oakland, CA. Join today!

Rebuilding Together Oakland (RTO) works collaboratively to repair and renovate the homes of our most vulnerable neighbors. High-impact community facilities that deliver programs and resources to under-resourced communities may also be eligible for consideration. Click here to learn more about the many ways you can support RTO’s work.


Filming: Day 3

DE3In the Sunday solitude of his office at the Alameda Sun, author and Oakland historian Dennis Evanosky offered Emily, Henry, and me a rich story. For ninety minutes, he described the landscape, wildlife, and aquatic life in the Oakland hills pre-Europeans, including the resources in our area that attracted the Ohlone Indians. He discussed the arrival of the Franciscans, the Spanish Navy, and the Mexican takeover. Then came the arrival of the northern Europeans in their search for gold, and the riches gained by many settlers – including Hugh Dimond – who although failed in his bid for gold nuggets, was very successful in “mining the miners”.

abbeyHis description of the vast redwood forests, and their exploitation in the mid 1800’s, was heart-wrenching. But then he lit up talking about Cincinnatus “Joaquin” Miller, obviously one of Mr. Evanosky’s favorite characters.

Do you know how and when our parks were finally saved from developers? We were a bit surprised!

Filming: Day 2

day2 check listToday, we filmed Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) working with EarthTeam and juniors and seniors from Skyline High School’s “H2Oakland” program. The work included native plantings, trail work, clearing invasive ivy, and leadership training. And after lunch, they learned how to find, identify, and survey insects from the creek area. We were in another gorgeous Oakland park location: the Monterey Redwoods area of Dimond Canyon Park.

Formed in 1996, Friends of Sausal Creek is a group of community members protecting Sausal Creek at a grassroots level. The Friends recognize that citizen participation—from residents to decision-makers, teachers, and students—is critical for building a long-term commitment to protecting Sausal Creek as a natural resource for the greater Oakland community. Click here to learn more about the many ways you can support FOSC’s programs.

EarthTeam programs empower youth to become lifelong environmental stewards. Students implement action projects that provide active learning about environmental science. They engage in peer-to-peer education activities, sharing their school-based service-learning projects with other students. EarthTeam’s leadership opportunities promote pathways to college and environmental science and technology careers. Click here to learn more about how you can support their many programs to educate and involve youth.

The Skyline Watershed Internship“H2Oakland” is a collection of Juniors and Seniors from the Green Energy Academy at Skyline HS that are devoted to making the Sausal Creek Watershed cleaner and greener. Throughout the course of the year, students participate in community restoration projects and are given opportunities for leadership on campus and in the community with Friends of Sausal Creek.

day2 toolswater, gloves, tools, native plants, and snacks…an excellent
set-up for a day of volunteering

day2 groupplanting native sedges and rushes along the
banks of Palo Seco Creek

day2 worksitesjust five of the more than twenty FOSC worksites

day2 bugssurveying and identifying insects

day2 cranecrane shots over Palo Seco Creek

Filming: Day 1


Not a bad first day at the office for Emily and Henry! They stored their extra equipment alongside Cinderella Creek in Joaquin Miller Park, then got to work capturing footage of the planning stages for an important park safety project that will be featured in the film – a collaboration between Public Works and the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay.

This is the type of project that Oakland can be proud of! Non-profit organizations – fueled by volunteers – working with city staff that appreciates the help.

Formed in 1987, BTCEB has been a leader in encouraging low-impact, environmentally friendly mountain bike riding, volunteer trail work participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, and grassroots advocacy.

Friends of Joaquin Miller Park are hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, dog owners, cross country runners, historians, writers, and neighbors — all dedicated to maintaining, preserving and enhancing the rich natural legacy that was originally the home of the late 19th Century poet and environmentalist, Joaquin Miller.