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35 Volunteers for Sunset Trail Reroute

Thirty-five volunteers showed up to begin the construction phase of the new Sunset Trail reroute on our May 25th work day. With the sun out, but still nippy, it was the perfect day for trail work.
20130525_jmp_trailwork-0763Project supervisor Nat Lope of Hilride demonstrates a fire-line inspired trail building technique.

We began the day enjoying French pastries provided by FOJMP board member Stan Dodson of the Dimond La Farine Bakery before we headed out to the work site.

In a battle of man versus bay stump, a group began the excavation of a huge stump at the bottom of the reroute.
The Stump

Others paired up and began hauling more railroad ties up from the meadow…

…while the majority lined up with Pulaski and McLeod tools to cut the bench.
Cutting the bench

The group broke for BBQ chicken and salads at mid-day, prepared by BTCEB Trails Director, Dave Cowley, before returning to the hill for the afternoon session.

At day’s end, with the majority of the bench cut, the new trail was visibly flowing down the hill.

By late afternoon, the exhausted group returned to the meadow for snacks and cold beverages.

The next construction date is scheduled on June 15th, when we’ll begin construction of the two switchbacks, build a couple retaining walls, and start the gateways on Sunset and Sequoia Bayview. We’ll meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Ranger Station. Plan on a two-hour morning session, break for coffee, juice, fruit, and pastries on the hill, and be done around 1:00 or so when we’ll head down to the meadow for lunch and beverages and where we’ll call it a day.

Parties interested in helping can signup on the BTCEB MeetUp group. If you have any questions drop Brent a note.

Thanks to Chef Dave for his most excellent BBQ, BTCEB’s Henry Mitchell, Mike Udkow, and Daniel Perkins for bringing in the railroad ties and helping with all the preproduction, Gary and Stan from the Dimond La Farine bakery for the incomparable treats in the morning, and of course Park Supervisor Martin Mataresse who made the entire project possible!

Also thanks to Jason Van Horn for some really nice photos. Check out Jason’s  Bermstyle site for more images of the day.

Sunset Trail Reroute

We are rerouting a section of Sunset Trail to connect the upper and lower sections of the park with a more sustainable and user friendly trail. Sunset currently lies in the creek bed of Palo Seco Creek, is over 12′ wide, and substantially over grade. This is one of the coolest projects in the park and planned both to provide the best possible experience for trail users and protect the environment through sustainable design.


The first workday on May 11th went really great. Thanks for everyone that turned out! We had around 15 people and started the day by moving 20+ railroad ties from the meadow up to the work site.


Once that was complete, we began the vegetation removal, digging up ferns & soup plant bulbs and Sticky monkey-flower.


We potted the plants and transported them down to the park nursery where we gave them a good soaking before leaving them in the capable hands of our friends at FOSC.


We also cut a scratch line along the route to give everyone a solid idea of where our bench cut will be.


At the end of the day we were back at the Ranger Station for cold drinks and socializing.

We’ll be back on May 25th when the real fun begins with the bench cut and construction of the two switchbacks.  Get involved and sign up for the next work day on the 25th!

Palos Colorados Trail Work

A few of us from The Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay went out to the park to do a small reroute on Palos Colorados (PC). A large pine had came down across Sunset Trail and landed on PC (and Sinawik) not far from the Stone Bridge. Oakland Parks Supervisor, Martin, had cut the trunks back a few days earlier, opening up a new alignment and leaving a ton of logs and debris across the old trail.

The old trail was underneath all this tree canopy and was a large dip into the creek (to the left) straight from this point to Daniel (in the orange).

The new alignment is higher up along the contour of the bank, instead of down in the creek.

The heavy clay soil formed up pretty well as we benched the new trail. Conditions were still a little wet, and the clay sticky, but the trail quickly took shape.


The new alignment keeps people out of the creek and helps slow riders down on the blind turns on each side of the reroute.

We then piled up bay tree branches along the edge of the trail (which we hacked off the bay that come down with the pine) to discourage people from venturing into the creek.

Three opportunities for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Joaquin Miller Park

Volunteers can just show up on Monday, January 20, or register in advance at Find the map for the following work areas on and details for all three sites at

Cascade Restoration: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 3232 Joaquin Miller Road, about 1?4 mile up the hill from the Woodminster Market and Highway 13

Volunteers will add mulch to the large flower beds around the perimeter of the oval pond, the Reflecting Pool, and weed and clean up other areas around the Cascade. Last year, 85 volunteers showed up.

More details on Friends of the Woodminster Cascade website, or in the newsletter found HERE! Contact: Catrina Vrankovich

Fern Ravine: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m. Directions: At the Sequoia Arena Gate (entrance on Skyline Blvd across from the Redwood Bowl staging area) walk down the trail to the picnic area.

Crews will protect and improve restoration areas by removing non-native plants and reducing the fire fuel load along Skyline Boulevard and in Fern Ravine More Details on calendar Contact: Jay Cassini, Friends of Sausal Creek

Ranger Station + two nearby outdoor sites: 10:00 a.m-2:00 p.m.- 3590 Sanborn Drive

Phase 1 of the proposed new use of the Ranger Station includes deep cleaning of the walls, windows, floors, and educational displays, organic debris removal from the decks, bathroom painting plus leaf and pine needle raking and debris removal at two nearby outdoor sites, one to be a future picnic area. Contact: Linda Brown, California Writers Club, Berkeley Branch,

For all sites, please bring your own water bottle and gardening or heavy-duty work gloves and wear old clothes that will likely get dirty or paint stained: long sleeves, pants, and sturdy shoes recommended .

Look for the on-site coordinator who will be wearing a neon-yellow vest. The City of Oakland supports this National Day of Service by committing staff to plan and coordinate with volunteer groups and by supplying hand tools. The City requires a brief safety orientation and your signature on a waiver for each adult and a parental release for children under 18.

The Friends of Joaquin Miller Park formed in 2010 after a February 2009 Stewardship Planning Workshop. Today the FoJMP operates as a 501 (c) 3 under the fiscal sponsorship of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, EIN # 94-2751052. Learn more about the stakeholder groups and the Friends’ work on Park maintenance, capital improvements, and creative activities on the website.

P.O. Box 2768, Oakland, CA 94602 Google Phone: 510-473-6567

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We 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.

Join the Friends today!

interpretive signBy joining Friends of Joaquin Miller Park (FOJMP), your donation is put directly into programs that improve 500-acre Joaquin Miller Park for all its many users. Recent accomplishments include adding the off-leash dog area, rerouting eroding trails, creating a new trail map, and installing interpretive signs and directional trail markers.

FOJMP has a number of programs that might be of interest to you:

• Working to maintain Joaquin Miller’s Abbey & restore the Woodminster Cascade
• Restoration work at the Fern Ravine wetlands and nearby redwoods
• Improving the gates at the dog off-leash area
• Continuing to improve trail safety, usability by installing trail signs
• New entrance portal on Joaquin Miller Road

Come work with us on these and other projects to make the park more visitor-friendly and help improve trail safety.

Once again, welcome, and we’ll see you on the trail, at the dog run, in the theater, or volunteering on a restoration project!

Big Trees Trail