‘Old Survivor’ documentary released online


Oakland, CA – October 24th, 2019

After a year-long run of local screenings and film festivals in America and abroad, the latest documentary by Oakland Trails and Pinecone Pictures has been released online to the public. Originally premiered at the Chabot Space & Science Center in October, 2018 during the Centennial Celebration Week of Save the Redwoods League, the film highlights “Old Survivor,” the only remaining old-growth redwood tree in the East Bay hills, and tells the story of Oakland’s resilient, ecologically amazing, and now-protected redwood forest.

Featuring Save the Redwoods League, the East Bay Regional Park District, and City of Oakland parklands, the film promotes outdoor recreation and open space networks, encourages stewardship, celebrates local history, and educates the viewer about redwood forest ecology.

To watch the 20-minute documentary, visit: https://oaklandtrails.org/old-survivor/

New Trailhead Kiosk at Lower Palos Colorados Trail

This new trailhead kiosk was donated by Oakland Trails, and includes a “You Are Here” map, information about redwoods, emergency contact information, and a map holder. Special thanks to Save the Redwoods League for their contribution to the message board content.

Back in May, we began the process to receive permission from the parks department to install a new kiosk at lower Palos Colorados Trail. With permission granted in early November, we raised the necessary funds within a few weeks, then got the installation approved by Oakland Public Works. Total budget: $2500

Thank you to our sponsors!

Dimond Public Safety Committee, Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, Save the Redwoods League


Rachel Broadwin, Zandile Christian,  Kristen Del Simone, Pamela Eguchi, Laura Escover, Marysue Fisher, Brendan Irvine-Broque, Sam Kaufman, Sara Kay, Margaret Langston, Heather Phillips, Katie Murrin, Anand Nene, Raymond Ritter, Beverly Smrha, Lisa St Regis, Mike Udkow, John Vallerga, Marta Yamamoto

the post holes needed to be 3-feet deep
post hole cement and a level came next
Special thanks to Park Patrol volunteers Doug, Chris, Gary, and Kristen (not pictured) for help with the assembly and installation of the new kiosk
As we were loading the tools back in the car, we observed our first customers.

Oakland Trails Releases Old Survivor Documentary Film




October 11, 2018

OAKLAND, CA – OAKLAND TRAILS is proud to announce the release of its second documentary film project, Old Survivor: Celebrating Oakland’s Redwoods, featuring the last known old-growth redwood tree in the East Bay hills, and connecting viewers to the history and ecology of Oakland’s redwood forest. Contact Oakland Trails to attend or host a screening. (Details below.)

With 750 people in attendance, the film premiered on Tuesday, October 9 at Chabot Space & Science Center during the Centennial Celebration Week of Save the Redwoods League, a week-long series of events commemorating 100 years of protecting California’s redwood forests. The League’s President and CEO, Sam Hodder, spoke at the premiere and stressed the importance of restoring the young, recovering forests that surround and sustain the remaining ancient trees, like Old Survivor.

“The Old Survivor film is a terrific story with many heroes, from the nonprofit partners and public agencies that steward our parks to the redwoods themselves,” said Hodder. “With only five percent of the original, ancient coast redwood forest left standing today, Old Survivor and the young forest of the East Bay that surrounds it are evidence that 100 years is just the beginning of our work to save our redwood forests. Together with our supporters and partners, we can now focus our effort on a new era of conservation by restoring what we have lost.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was also in attendance. After viewing the documentary, she publicly thanked Stan Dodson, founder of Oakland Trails and executive producer of the film, for his gift to Oakland.

“Old Survivor” features the East Bay’s only remaining old-growth redwood tree, to tell the story of Oakland’s historic, ecologically amazing, and now protected redwood forest. Featuring Save the Redwoods League, City of Oakland Parks, and the East Bay Regional Park District, the film promotes outdoor recreation and open space networks, encourages stewardship, celebrates local history, and educates the viewer about redwood forest ecology.

Oakland Trails worked with filmmakers Emily Fraser, with whom Dodson co-produced “Trailhead “ (2015), and Nicholas Berger. Together, Fraser and Berger make up Pinecone Pictures.

To host a screening event, contact Oakland Trails at https://oaklandtrails.org/contact/. To purchase a private copy, attend an upcoming screening event as listed at https://oaklandtrails.org/old-survivor-events/. With film festival submissions pending, the new film isn’t scheduled for release online until summer, 2019. To view the trailer, visit the film website at https://oaklandtrails.org/old-survivor/.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Goundas Diiullo, Communications Director, Oakland Trails        
Phone: (510) 842-3676
Email: [email protected]

Ashley Boarman, Landis Communications, Save the Redwoods League
Phone: (415) 359-2312
Email: [email protected]

About Oakland Trails
Oakland Trails is an all volunteer organization dedicated to promoting, maintaining, and enhancing the City of Oakland’s wildland parks and trails. Oakland Trails was founded by Stan Dodson in 2010, and is sponsored by the Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundation. For more information visit OaklandTrails.org.

About Save the Redwoods League
Save the Redwoods League, one of the nation’s oldest conservation organizations, is
connecting generations of visitors with their peace and beauty. With more than 20,000 supporters, the League has protected more than 200,000 acres of irreplaceable forest and helped create 66 redwood parks and reserves. For more information, go to SaveTheRedwoods.org, or to sign up for updates, please visit SaveTheRedwoods.org/signup.

About East Bay Regional Park District
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful parklands and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to the east of San Francisco. The system comprises 121,397 acres in 73 parks, including over 1,250 miles of trails. Preserving a rich heritage of natural and cultural resources and providing open space, parks, trails, and safe and healthful recreation, an environmental ethic guides the District in all of its activities. Visit ebparks.org

World Premiere of “Old Survivor: Celebrating Oakland’s Redwoods”


Join us on opening night as a special guest of Oakland Trails!

Presented by Oakland Trails in association with Pinecone Pictures, our new 22-minute documentary highlights “Old Survivor”, the last known remaining old-growth redwood in the East Bay hills, and tells the story of Oakland’s resilient, ecologically amazing, and now protected redwood forest. This free event will feature multiple screenings, guest speakers, and a reception outside the theater doors where you’ll be able to mingle with the filmmakers, partnering nonprofits, and our many supporters. Refreshments will be served from 6pm–9pm.

Save the Redwoods League – A Centennial Celebration Event

The World Premiere of Old Survivor will simultaneously serve as Save the Redwood League’s Centennial Celebration in Oakland. Join us as we recognize the 100th anniversary of Save the Redwoods League and celebrate their conservation legacy to protect California’s incredible coast redwood and giant sequoia forests in the last century.

Old Survivor World Premiere Event
Tuesday, October 9, 5:30pm–10:00pm
Chabot Space & Science Center
Showtimes: 5:45, 6:45, 7:30, 8:15, 9:00
Runtime: 22 minutes

This is a private event for members and special guests of Oakland Trails. To receive an invitation, join our newsletter by September 15 at OaklandTrails.org/sign-up



Park Patrol Celebrates 1st Anniversary

At this time last year, we had just launched Oakland Volunteer Park Patrol. So now, it’s time to celebrate our first anniversary! We’ve grown to be 44 volunteers strong – hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and dog walkers – all using our training to help welcome and assist park users, address park maintenance issues, and assist OPD and OFD in emergencies.

We’ve logged 3,043 volunteer hours and have assisted 2,802 park users. We’ve led free hiking tours, removed litter and graffiti, and this winter, when the trails took a beating, we cleared more than 200 fallen trees, keeping the trails open and safe for all users.

We’re also team players. We proudly collaborate with the Bicycle Trails Council, Friends of Sausal Creek, Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, and Oakland Public Works. We’ve led youth, church organizations, and corporate teams in park work days, and we continue to work closely with OPD and OFD to help improve emergency preparedness inside the parks.

We need your support

Our stewardship programs require funding for tools and materials. We are an all-volunteer organization, so your tax-deductible contribution goes directly to support our mission to help promote, maintain, and enhance Oakland’s wildland parks and trails. Since launching our fundraising campaign in late June, we’ve reached nearly 1/3 of our $3000 goal for summer stewardship projects. With donation levels as low as $10, every little bit helps! Please donate HERE.

OPD Partners with Park Patrol volunteers

Back in January, I reached out to Oakland Police Department Area 3 Captain Freddie Hamilton with an idea to pair up OPD officers and Park Patrol volunteers with the goal of improving emergency preparedness in Oakland’s wildland parks. He approved the community policing beat priority, and we launched the joint patrols in February, 2017.

To learn more about this important collaboration, read the East Bay Times article by Sarah Tan HERE.

Oakland Trails featured on “KBLX Cares” with Sterling James

“KBLX Cares” is a community spotlight show hosted by Sterling James. They invited me in this week to talk about Oakland Trails and the work we’re doing in and for Oakland Parks

The 15-minute radio segment aired on Saturday, February 25, but can also be heard on their blog.

Please click HERE to listen.

We talked about our stewardship, hiking tours, Trailhead, and Oakland Volunteer Park Patrol. And, as always, I was proud to give a shout out for our community and our parks.

2016 Executive Summary

Our mission is to promote, maintain, and enhance Oakland’s wildland parks and trails.


We are proud to share the details of our accomplishments in 2016 with the community, including our supporters, collaborating organizations, and City of Oakland agencies. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.


With our newly released documentary, TRAILHEAD, Oakland Trails hit the ground running in January of 2016. For most of the year, we had weekly presentations at local theaters, schools, senior centers, and community halls. With the brisk fundraising that came with the screening events, we invested in trail projects. Hand saws, trail building tools, and redwood lumber were purchased for projects including the installation of trail steps, a new foot bridge, and year-round trail maintenance. With the launch of Oakland Volunteer Park Patrol, we were able to outfit our 35 volunteers with uniforms and other supplies. We also led 18 free hiking tours, providing outdoor recreation education for youth, adults, and seniors.

Budget Summary

Starting Balance: $5,156.68
Income: $18,704.96
Expenses: $14,607.80
Available funds: $9,253.84

Details of Income

Donations received from 59 individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations: $12,196
Retail sales of Oakland Trails merchandise at 40 events (screenings, hiking tours, art festivals, etc.): $6,508

Log of Volunteer Hours in 2016

Trail Work: 241 hrs
Promotions (screenings, hiking tours, other outreach events): 306 hrs
Oakland Volunteer Park Patrol: 1,436 hrs
Admin: 100 hrs
Total Volunteer Hours: 2,083


Users: 11,598
Sessions: 16,365
Page views: 25,891

Social Media

Follow us on Instagram: @oaklandparkpatrol

We launched our account in November, 2016.
Posts: 131
Followers: 51

Screenings of TRAILHEAD

01/13/2016: St. Paul’s Towers
01/21/2016: Sequoia Diner
01/24/2016: Sunday Assembly at Oakland Peace Center
01/25/2016: Chabot Space & Science Center (PPNA Annual Meeting)
01/27/2016: Urbano Cellars Winery
02/01/2016: New Parkway Theater
02/10/2016: Grand Lake Theater
02/11/2016: Grand Lake Gardens
02/25/2016: Octopus Literary Salon
02/26/2016: Oakland Museum of California
03/15/2016: EBRPD Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol
03/20/2016: Albany Filmfest
03/25/2016: City Commons Club
03/31/2016: deFremery Recreation Center (OPR Foundation Annual Meeting)
04/04/2016: Berkeley High School
04/17/2016: San Francisco Green Film Festival
04/18/2016: Released on-line (OaklandTrails.org/watch)
04/23/2016: Ale Industries Taproom
05/03/2016: Glenview Neighborhood Association
05/11/2016: Oakland Main Library
05/21/2016: Nature Friends Tourist Club
05/24/2016: Friends of San Leandro Creek
06/16/2016: REI Berkeley
06/22/2016: Dimond Recreation Center
06/27/2016: KTOP-TV10
07/07/2016: KTOP-TV10
07/22/2016: San Francisco Frozen Film Festival
08/02/2016: Sustainable Lafayette “Open Space” Film Series
08/21/2016: Lindsay Wildlife Experience “Nature Speak” Series
09/09/2016: Oakland’s Short, Short Film Festival
09/12/2016: California Independent Film Festival
09/16/2016: New Parkway Theater
09/17/2016: New Parkway Theater
09/22/2016: REI Berkeley
10/20/2016: Epworth UMC, Older Adult Ministries
10/25/2016: Dorothy C. Wong Senior Center

On-line plays: 1,526

Hiking Tours

We led 18 free hiking tours:

01/01/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center
02/15/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center
02/15/2016: Dimond Canyon Park
02/21/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center (private tour for Girl Scout leaders)
04/25/2016: Joaquin Miller Park (private tour for SF 3rd graders)
05/21/2016: Dimond Park to Joaquin Miller Park (private tour for Nature Friends Tourist Club)
05/30/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center
07/04/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center
07/17/2016: Joaquin Miller Park (private tour for Redwood Heights Neighborhood Assoc.)
07/25/2016: Joaquin Miller Park Redwoods Tour (3X)
09/05/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center and back to Dimond
09/11/2016: Joaquin Miller Park Redwoods (private tour for “Jack & Jill of America”)
09/12/2016: Joaquin Miller Park and Redwood Park
10/10/2016: Dimond Park to Joaquin Miller Park and back
11/24/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center
12/25/2016: Dimond Park to Chabot Space & Science Center

Miles: 92
Attendance: 370

Oakland Volunteer Park Patrol

Co-founded with Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington, we launched Park Patrol in June. We held 7 training sessions, bringing the total number of volunteers to 35. Our diverse group of men and women includes hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and dog walkers.

Total hours: 1,436
Number of park users assisted: 1,388

Trail Improvement Projects

Our stewardship programs are active in Dimond Canyon and Joaquin Miller Park:

  • Cleared 86 fallen trees
  • Installed 30 redwood steps on hiking trails
  • Replaced the bridge over Palo Seco Creek on lower Palos Colorados Trail
  • Improved drainage on Palos Colorados, Sunset, Sunset Loop, Big Trees, Sinawik, Sinawik Loop, Sequoia-Bayview, Wild Rose, Old Cañon, and Bridgeview trails
  • Cleared a landslide on Cinderella Trail
  • Maintained the drains under the Bridgeview Trail cement footbridge
  • Cleaned graffiti from Big Trees, Dimond Canyon, Old Cañon, Sequoia-Bayview, Sinawik, Sunset, and Wild Rose trails
  • Repaired 15 trail markers, and installed 6 new trail markers in Joaquin Miller Park


TRAILHEAD collaborated with the following City of Oakland agencies and nonprofit organizations:

  • Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay
  • Dimond Business & Professional Association
  • Dimond Improvement Association
  • East Bay Regional Park District
  • Friends of Joaquin Miller Park
  • Friends of Sausal Creek
  • Girl Scouts of America
  • Glenview Neighborhood Association
  • League of Women Voters of Oakland
  • Montclair Village Association
  • Oakland Fire Department
  • Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundation
  • Oakland Police Department
  • Oakland Public Works Agency
  • Oakland Parks & Recreation Department
  • Oakland Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington
  • Oaklandish
  • Oakmore Neighborhood Association

Here, we’re collaborating with BTCEB on fallen tree removal.

In the News

“Oakland Trails: Dimond to Chabot”, Our Oakland Blog
“Ambassadors help park users navigate trails”, East Bay Times
“Montclair: ‘Short, Short’ film festival slated”, East Bay Times
“Walking in Oakland – #8”, The Urbanist
“Raising Awareness in Oakland’s Dimond Canyon”, Oakland Mama Blog

Community Education

We hosted two educational events:


Welcome to Oakland Y

⋅ 12/21/2016
⋅ 11/22/2016
⋅ 10/18/2016
⋅ 10/03/2016
⋅ 09/16/2016
⋅ 08/18/2016
⋅ 07/21/2016
⋅ 06/21/2016
⋅ 05/20/2016
⋅ 04/18/2016
⋅ 04/01/2016
· 03/16/2016
· 02/16/2016

With gratitude,

Stan Dodson, Executive Director
December 31, 2015

Water Wonderland

I captured these videos from my phone during and after the big storm early January. There’s water flowing where I’ve never seen water flowing before. And there’s A LOT of water where I’m used to seeing it.

Sunset Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, January 10, 2017

Palo Seco Creek, Palos Colorados Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, January 10, 2017

Palo Seco Creek, Bridgeview Trail, Dimond Canyon Park, January 10, 2017

Sequoia-Bayview Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, January 11, 2017

Sequoia-Bayview Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, January 11, 2017

Honored by Oaklandish as their Nonprofit of the Month

Shop at Oaklandish TODAY (Sat, 10/15) to support our work in the parks!

oaklandish logo

In their continued support of our all-volunteer organization, Oaklandish will donate 10% of all proceeds from their Dimond Shop on Saturday, October 15, to OaklandTrails.org. And from noon–4pm, we’ll be offering our new Oaklandish t-shirt design, Trailhead DVD’s, and more!

Saturday, October 15, 10am–7pm (visit our booth noon–4pm)
Oaklandish Dimond Shop
3419 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland 94602

Connect with Oaklandish to learn more about their quality goods and love and support of Oakland neighborhoods:

Web: http://oaklandish.com/
Instagram: @oaklandishhq
Twitter: @0aklandish (with a zero)


Our new shirt!

a tribute to Oakland’s redwoods


OaklandTrails.org chosen “Nonprofit-of-the-Month”


Never Elsewhere has chosen OaklandTrails.org as their “Nonprofit-of-the-Month”, with 10% of all online purchases in April going to support our work in Oakland’s wildland parks. They’ve also created a special coupon code for OaklandTrails supporters. Use “CPS2016” at checkout to receive 10% off.

Who is Never Elsewhere? They are an Oaklandish sister brand with cool designs that venture outside of Oakland. So if you have a special connection to SF, SoCal, or many other cities and regions, you can get the same quality you know and love from Oaklandish, but the proceeds will stay right here to benefit our work in Oakland. Visit http://neverelsewhere.com/ to see their line.


Walking in Oakland

As written for The Urbanist, a SPUR publication (#8 in the list)

Oakland’s Urban Gateway to the Redwoods and Beyond

In 2007, after opening a new location of La Farine Bakery in Oakland’s Dimond District, I moved into the neighborhood. With I-580, a major AC Transit bus transfer hub, and an easy connection to BART just a block away, I quickly learned how accessible my new community was. But soon, I realized even grander access – Oakland’s Dimond neighborhood connects through parkland to the Bay Area Ridge Trail and over 500 miles of trails that span the entire East Bay.

dimond park strollers(2)
Dimond Park

Dimond Park, at only 200 feet elevation, was at the end of my street and just two blocks from the bakery. Tucked between the Dimond, Glenview, and Oakmore neighborhoods, it is comprised of 14 acres of urban park including playgrounds, picnic areas, grassy fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and an active recreation center. Its paved paths wind through the park amenities, along Sausal Creek, and through towering redwoods and majestic oaks.

WP_20151204_004 (2)
El Centro trailhead in Dimond Canyon Park

At the top of Dimond Park, crossing sleepy El Centro Ave, you’ll enter Dimond Canyon Park. You may have noticed this wooded canyon below the top stretch of Park Blvd, but what you may not know is that it’s home to ninety acres of gorgeous wildland park and trails. Dimond Canyon, Old Cañon, and Bridgeview Trails connect and wind through the oak, laurel, and redwood forests along Sausal Creek. At the top, almost two miles from Dimond Park, you’ll reach Monterey Blvd, where a pedestrian tunnel under Hwy 13 invites you to enter Joaquin Miller Park.

Palos Colorados Trail in Joaquin Miller Park

At the Palos Colorados trailhead, the lowest entrance to Joaquin Miller Park, you’ll experience one of the Bay Area’s most beautiful trails. The thick canopy and year-round creek make you soon forget you’re in the middle of a city. Bringing you to the heart of Joaquin Miller Park’s 550 acres and expansive trail system, you’re now connected to the Piedmont Pines, Woodminster, and Joaquin Miller neighborhoods, with the opportunity to choose from a dozen different routes that connect to the Bay Area Ridge Trail. While some areas of Joaquin Miller Park are developed – it’s home to a Ranger Station, Community Center, picnic areas, fenced dog runs, and the historic Woodminster Theater – most of Joaquin Miller Park is natural and wooded, with an exceptionally well-maintained trail system, thanks to collaborations between the City of Oakland and volunteers. You’ll find redwood groves, chaparral, year-round streams, and expansive views of the entire Bay Area.

WP_20150313_021 (2)
Junction atop lower Palos Colorados Trail in Joaquin Miller Park

Crossing Oakland’s Skyline Blvd at more than 1500 feet elevation and almost five miles from Dimond Park, you’ll reach Redwood Regional Park and the Bay Area Ridge Trail. You now once again have many options: take the 339 bus line from Chabot Space & Science Center (just a ten-minute ride) back to Dimond, loop around for a round-trip hike of nine miles that will bring you back down the hill, or keep going towards Tilden Park, Moraga, San Ramon, or Hayward…the list goes on.

WP_20121210_002 (1)
Sunset Trail in Joaquin Miller Park

This urban connection to the East Bay’s vast network of parks, trails, and open space is incredible. You literally could hike for days and days, and never touch the same piece of ground twice.

Stan Dodson, Oakland resident and manager of La Farine Bakery in Oakland’s Dimond District, has worked as a volunteer to promote and maintain Oakland’s wildland trails since 2008. Learn more at OaklandTrails.org

Sausal_Trails_Map_FINAL_2015 (1)
Trail map courtesy of Friends of Sausal Creek


Read More

Creeks and Waterfalls in Joaquin Miller Park

Donate to Oakland Trails

Here are my favorite spots in Joaquin Miller Park (some seasonal, some year-round, and all more spectacular after a day or two of rain):

Palos Colorados Trail – Palo Seco Creek runs the length of lower Palos Colorados Trail. It’s a year-round creek, but with any rain it swells quickly, funneling all the smaller creeks in Joaquin Miller Park before joining Sausal Creek. The site and sound of water rushing through this deep, wooded canyon makes for a unique and awesome Oakland experience. The middle section, as pointed to on the map above, offers the best view of waterfalls. *Sections of this trail are steep and narrow, and can be slippery in all conditions. Only experienced hikers should use this trail.

Fern Ravine Trail (seasonal waterfall) – Whether you make your way up from Sunset Loop Trail, or reach the top via Sequoia-Bayview Trail, you’ll get a great view of a long, cascading waterfall from the upper third of this trail section. *This trail is steep and narrow, and requires intermediate to advanced hiking skills.

Cinderella Creek from Sunset Trail – This creek is easily viewed from Sunset Trail, a wide and relatively flat trail that traverses the mid section of the park. Once you reach the creek intersection, a few steps up along the wide banks will treat you to a natural section of creek under a wooded canopy.

Sinawik Trail (semi-seasonal creek) – This is an easy to moderate hiking trail that bends through mixed redwood forest along Palo Seco Creek. Loop back on the middle section of Palos Colorados Trail. You’ll get close to the creek while using these trails.

The Oakland Neighborhood Project

The Oakland Neighborhood Project is proof enough that Stephen Texeira loves Oakland. A professional photographer and longtime Oakland resident, Stephen has launched a project that lets other passionate Oaklanders tell their own Oakland story.

I met Stephen while doing my initial outreach for TRAILHEAD back in January, and was honored by his invitation to represent Dimond. As I see it, our goals are very similar – we both strive to improve Oakland’s story…just by telling it!

Please visit Stephen’s site to explore Oakland and see how you can get involved.


photo: © stephen texeira photography – TexeiraPhoto.com

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.

Drinking Fountain Replaced

A successful collaboration between volunteers and city staff

The leaky drinking fountain that was capped off and removed from the top of Big Trees Trail in Joaquin Miller Park has been replaced! What started out as a Public Works service request by the Friends of Joaquin Miller Park is now a newly installed, ADA-compliant drinking fountain at Redwood Glen, a much used area of the park.

get a drink2 get a drink1

We’ll feature another successful collaboration in the film. Stay tuned!

Now Offering Private Hiking Tours!

hikingtourIn my continued effort to promote the trail system that connects Dimond Park to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, I am now offering private hiking tours for routes that include Dimond Canyon Park and/or Joaquin Miller Park. To learn how to set one up for you and your group, please visit the “Hiking Tours” page.

This is a great opportunity to learn new trails, and also to introduce the trail system to your friends, family, and co-workers.

See you on the trails!
– Stan Dodson
Trails Volunteer

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