Discover & Learn

Get outside and explore your parks and preserves this summer.

Rangers Recommend

Rush Creek Preserve

Great blue heron

Look here for herons and egrets near the water, chickadees and woodpeckers in the trees, and raptors in the sky. It's a favorite spot for migratory shorebirds. Enter the gate off Binford Road on to wide, easy sloping Pinheiro Fire Road, with Rush Creek Marsh Wildlife Area on your left. The road curves right, around Cemetery Marsh. Turn left to continue on Rush Creek Fire Road. At the junction, turn left again, and loop back using the North Levee Trail and back the way you came on Pinheiro. If North Levee is closed due to tidal flooding, just head back out the way you came.

  • 4 miles
  • Mostly flat
  • Easy to moderate

McInnis Marsh

Gallinas Creek marshland

Walk out along the 100-year-old levees where Las Gallinas and Miller Creeks flow into San Pablo Bay. This wetland is a focal point of history, as well as a harbinger of the future. The marshland was first diked in the early 1900s, to create a cattle ranch. When it became public land, in the 1970s, park facilities, including a golf course, were built. Later, wildlife biologists discovered the marsh is habitat to protected species: black rail, Ridgeway’s rail, and salt marsh harvest mouse. And hydrologists learned that natural tidal flows provide resilience against flooding. As sea level rise increases breaching of the man-made barriers, researchers are working with the local community, exploring ways to help the shoreline adapt.

  • 2.4 miles out and back
  • Mostly flat
  • Easy

 

Naturalist Notes

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

Red-capped, clown-faced flocks are easy to spot in oak woodlands. They live in big noisy groups; listen for their raucous, laugh-like calls. In fall they get busy, drilling holes and stashing acorns in trees, fence posts, and other wooden structures. A single tree may hold thousands of hidden morsels, serving as a communal food pantry through winter. The birds carefully tend stored food, making sure acorns are wedged tightly so other animals can’t snatch. They also practice cooperative breeding with all the adults working together to raise the young from a single nest. Add sightings of Melanerpes formicivorus to iNaturalist.

Volunteer Opportunities

Young girl planting native flowers at Creekside

Stewardship

Have a few hours? Let's pull together as we bring back volunteer events. Join together outside and have fun, meet new friends, explore the outdoors, and give back to the special places where you love to hike, run, ride, and play. For more information check out the calendar or contact Parks volunteer coordinators:

  • Parks: email Kirk Schroeder
  • Open Space: email Greg Reza
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