"All good things are wild and free." --Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Group Hike at Heron's Head--Saturday, September 15th, 2012

From the air, this park looks like a bird's head, and so it was named after the heron. Our next group walk is Saturday, September 15th at Heron's Head Park in southeast San Francisco. Please join, and bring your kids!
Heron's Head

Meet at 10 o'clock by the Eco Center, the off-the-grid building next to the parking lot at Cargo Way and Jennings Street. I will distribute maps showing where we'll have our picnic lunch, and include a trail to India Basin, which is a great flat walk for adults, older children, and babies that can be carried. The walk ends whenever you want, but I will be finished around noon.

This walk is stroller friendly, breastfeeding friendly, free, and public. I recommend bringing a picnic blanket and something to share. The route is flat and easy.

Please spread the word. The more people who know about phenomenal places like Heron's Head--once destined to be a shipping terminal but now a protected Salt Marsh--the sooner great environmental changes will happen in our city (like the Blue Greenway, a 13-mile corridor that will connect parks like this one to the rest of the city by bicycle and pedestrian paths).

Also, it's just fun to hang out with new and familiar faces, and let the kids play the old fashioned way, under the sunshine, in the fresh air.



The EcoCenter and Literacy for Environmental Justice Websitea site that is not to be missed

Port of San Francisco's Web Page about Heron's Head Parkwith a link to a bird field guide specifically for Heron's Head Park

Bay Natives, a great native plant nursery, is right across the street from the EcoCenter

Blue Greenway, a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly corridor that will connect Heron's Head and other waterfront parks in the city

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Pier 94 Marshland: sea lions, pickleweed, and a tenuous environment

With some trepidation and a whole lot of doubt, my friends, my daughter, and I drove down the most industrial street in San Francisco, called Amador Street, in the Hunter's Point / Bayview neighborhood....
looking for Pier 94

There couldn't be marshland down here! We rolled past a massive abandoned silo-looking building, a rendering plant (or something nasty) that stank to high heaven, and enormous piles of aggregate for making concrete.
Big Industrial Momma, what were you in times past?
Now, I'm a lady fascinated with industrial plants, and abandoned ones are even more cool, but when I'm on a search for marshland, the industrial sector leaves me doubtful.
Cranes to inspire (or scare) the children
Flowering Pickleweed

Yet Pier 94 was at the end of Amador, its entrance marked by a lone port-o-potty and a printed placard posted at the far end of the most unlikely looking parking lot.

Greenery spread for acres beyond the chain-link fence, and beyond that was the shoreline with cormorants, pelicans, gulls, and even one beautiful sea lion.

It is a tidal marsh that has become protected in large part by the Port of San Francisco (see their link here).
The Pier 94 Marshland is a gorgeous five or so acres surrounded by the heart of industry in San Francisco.

One day it will be part of a connected series of green spaces along the perimeter of the city, the Blue Greenway.

Right now, Pier 94 could use some visitors and attention. 

According to the fellow from Audubon Society who my husband and I met last Saturday morning, during the Audubon Society's monthly cleanup and caretaking of this site, this was a dump of flotsam and jetsam a some years ago.  Even last Saturday, he hauled a soggy mattress away.

I wandered around with my garbage bag and my kid, but there was barely any trash. Instead I saw pickleweed galore, flowers, and birds. I saw mud and slime, and lots of rocks.

Then my daughter and I sat at the water's edge and a sea lion poked its head out of the water and watched us for a minute. We were very impressed! 

Pelican and gulls
Just going out to Pier 94 and acquainting yourself with the marshland restoration situation in San Francisco is great. Nobody has to "do" anything, as sometimes the best action is to just appreciate something.

I'm starting to realize I should always carry a plastic bag to pick up trash when I hike with my kid. It's good practice, so I recommend it to you too, whether you come here or elsewhere.

The first Saturday of the month is a volunteer workday. To get involved with restoration, see this page on the Audubon website. You could always just show up at 9 in the morning.

My husband and I came with our toddler. While Marshall worked on digging up invasive weeds,  the kid and I did what we could, which wasn't much! I picked up trash but mostly ogled at the wildlife juxtaposed with the incredible man-made structures.
Homo sapiens, mom and daughter
Look for this sign!

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