On Sunday, friends of Save The Bay gathered at the East Bay Regional Parks Shoreline Center to celebrate the San Francisco Bay. We were joined by over 75 guests, including our Board of Directors, Founding Members, Legacy Society, and Save The Bay’s founder Sylvia McLaughlin and family.
Sylvia McLaughlin was thanked by the many members who have stood by her side since the 1960s. Many shared their stories about what it was like growing up in a time when the Bay was being filled with trash from neighboring cities. Their memories of founders Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin and Esther Gulick making phone calls, writing letters and collecting $1 membership contributions to create the “Save San Francisco Bay Association” around Sylvia’s kitchen table were surreal. Save The Bay and the entire Bay Area have these women to thank for creating the movement to save the Bay from destruction.
It was wonderful and inspiring having such close friends of the organization celebrate San Francisco Bay together. Thank you to our long-time supporters and new friends for making the event a huge success!
Save The Bay would like to extend a huge thank you to Ernst & Young LLP for volunteering with Save The Bay for the past three and a half years! Ernst & Young LLP volunteers have removed invasive species at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward, transplanted seedlings at Palo Alto Baylands Nursery, and have spent hours restoring our great natural treasure, the San Francisco Bay. “EY professionals are hard workers. They always bring out a large group and are dedicated to their partnership with Save The Bay,” said Jack States, Restoration Project Specialist.
Some of our other dedicated Corporate Bay Savers partners include eBay, REI, Google and Seagate Technology. These companies, among dozens of others, get their hands dirty and help us accomplish our ambitious restoration work while also generating $50,000 annually for Save The Bay. This funding from our Corporate Bay Savers program helps offset our environmental education program costs and allows us to deliver free education programs to over 50 schools in the Bay Area. Thank you to our corporate partners for their hard work and generous contributions!
As an avid local day hiker I always longed for a bit more of an adventure. At the end of this summer I had the opportunity to take my very first backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the Sierra Nevada mountain range for a real off the beaten path experience.
Little did I know that I was hiking right along the Mokelumne Watershed, which links to the San Francisco Bay! The Mokelumne River begins in the Sierra Nevada, flows through the foothills across the Central Valley and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which empties into the San Francisco Bay. Not only does it supply most of the East Bay’s residents their drinking water through the Mokelumne Aqueduct, but it also provides clean water to a thriving San Francisco Bay.
Pictured at the top right was the first stop, Lower Kinney Lake of Mokelumne Watershed. Kinney Lakes are actually a trio of reservoirs along Ebbetts Pass where you can often find PCT hikers camping out for a night. Once I arrived at Lower Kinney Lake I couldn’t believe how serene and clean the glass-like water appeared.
While both preparing and hiking along the watershed I learned a few do’s and don’ts of backpacking (from a first timer’s perspective) highlighted below:
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. I was surprised to find out how long it took to prepare my pack due to the limited amount of space.
Research! Be sure you have an idea of exactly what you need for your trip from tents and sleeping bags to freeze dried food.
Get fitted for your pack. This is one of the most important things I learned while getting ready for my trip. Have a professional fit you for your pack so you can be as comfortable as possible while hauling 40+ pounds up a mountain. Be sure they fill your pack with a realistic weight so you have an idea of how it would feel full. Make sure the majority from the weight of your pack is resting comfortably on your hips and not entirely on your back or shoulders. I was adjusting the straps on my pack for the first two miles of the trek until I found a comfortable fit. Everyone is different; make sure you find a pack that fits you right.
Take everything out that you brought in. A sign of a good backpacker is leaving no sign that you were ever there.
Don’t pack more than you can carry. This is very common for first time backpackers. Take the essentials and nothing more. Conserve weight by purchasing a water purifier, freeze-dried food and keep the electronics at home.
Don’t be an over-achiever. Do what you can. Carrying a 40+ pound pack is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Don’t out-do yourself on the first day.
Don’t skimp on the essentials, including rain gear, shelter and good hiking boots.
Don’t underestimate the power of nature. Be aware and know what’s around you.
While hiking along the Mokelumne Watershed I learned first-hand the satisfaction and challenges of backpacking, I also took on a whole new perspective about how water travels from the Sierra to the Bay. Backpacking in such an isolated area, knowing that the environment surrounding me supports the health of our Bay reminded me how important it is to take care of our environment, no matter where the trail takes you.
With summer coming to an end, take these moments to enjoy what the Bay Area has to offer without the hustle and bustle of the city. As a Bay Area native, I am extremely fortunate to have so many open spaces and hiking trails nearby, but with that easy access comes the usual crowd of fellow adventure-seekers.
Here are just a few of my favorite local hiking spots:
Redwood Regional Park is a hidden redwood forest that covers over 1,000 acres of land in the Oakland Hills. This park contains the largest remaining natural stand of coastal redwood trees found in the East Bay, many of which are over 100 years old. Enjoy the numerous hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in the comfort of the well-shaded forest.
Briones Regional Park in Contra Costa County is a treasure chest of rolling hills and abundant wildlife. Hike to Briones Peak, the highest point in the park and enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views from Mt. Diablo all the way to Mt. Tam.
Marin Headlands is one of my favorite places to hike in the Bay Area. Located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this area has some of the most beautiful views of the coast, Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Put on your hiking boots and trek out to 150 year-old Point Bonita Lighthouse, which is still actively being used today. Miles of trails, wild flowers and sharp sea cliffs will have you coming back for more.