Poison Oak Blitz 2018


Every year since 2010, once the rainy season is behind us, Oakland Trails volunteers grab some tools and hit the trails in Dimond Canyon and Joaquin Miller Park to cut back overgrowth, including blackberry, impeding tree branches, brush, and yes, poison oak.

Clearing poison oak ‘reachers’ off Sequoia-Bayview Trail
Cutting back berries, fennel, and mixed brush from Old Cañon Trail
The steps on Palos Colorados Trail after a good haircut
The taming of the thimble berry

Bootleg Trail near the Meadow


Bootleg (unauthorized) trails are a growing problem in Joaquin Miller Park, and all trail users are to blame. On this particular hillside near the meadow, we witnessed mountain bikers riding/sliding down through the area, while hikers and runners would use it as an uphill shortcut to Sanborn Dr. Erosion was burying the Sinawik Trail, trail users were exposed to safety hazards, and Palo Seco Creek below was experiencing negative environmental impacts.

Meeting with Oakland Public Works staff, Oakland Trails volunteers, along with members of the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay, came to a consensus for a plan to block the top of the scarred hillside with temporary fencing and signage, while installing a split-rail cedar fence below to protect the creek.

Leading a group of 18 volunteers from Impossible Foods, we got to work installing the fencing and signage.

Please respect this work led by local mountain bikers and hikers working together to mitigate negative impacts caused by inappropriate park use. Trail users will be safer, and the creek and watershed will be healthier.

Special thanks to Oakland Public Works Environmental Services, the Bicycle Trails Council, Ashby Lumber, and volunteers from Impossible Foods.

Camp Trail Reroute Project


Back in February, we came to the conclusion that the Camp Trail had become too rutted to be enjoyed by any type of park user. Like most trail damage, water was the culprit, but it wasn’t the seasonal creek’s fault that the trail and it were sharing the same alignment!

We invited Oakland Public Works, Friends of Sausal Creek, and the Bicycle Trails Council for a site visit to determine the best plan of action. We all agreed that the trail needed to be moved, so we did a native plant survey, transferred some bracken ferns, cleared a fallen tree, then flagged the new route away from the seasonal creek. (On our first real work day, the filmmakers for our upcoming documentary, “Old Survivor”, came out to film our collaboration).

After two weeks of preparations, including flagging the new trail, clearing brush, and putting some fresh paint on a PAL Camp storage shed that was near the new route, we were ready for a big work day.

Park Patrol volunteer Sara K. is also an employee of Airbnb, and with their Week for Good community service event coming up, she engaged me to lead a project for her group. We decided to use their help – with more than 20 volunteers – to build the new trail. Along with leadership from the Bicycle Trails Council, we met on a foggy Wednesday morning and got to work.

With more than 30 volunteers involved, from Oakland Trails, the Bicycle Trails Council, and Airbnb, we had not only built the new trail, but also blocked off the old one so it could return back to nature.

A big thank you to our partners on this project: Oakland Public Works, the Bicycle Trails Council, our Park Patrol volunteers, and Airbnb.