Yelp’s Top Bay Area spots to celebrate Bay Day

Bay Day is almost here! Museums, aquariums, parks, community organizations, and small businesses across the Bay Area will host special Bay-themed programs for residents to explore, enjoy, and learn more about our Bay on Saturday, Oct. 1. Whether you’re in San Francisco, the East Bay, South Bay, or North Bay, there’s something for everyone on Bay Day. Find the event that’s right for you at BayDay.org!

And for more ways to celebrate and enjoy the Bay, check out these top spots as curated by our friends at Yelp:

Bike the Bay on Bay Day

Pump your tires, grab your bike helmet, and zip over to one of three Bay Day cycling events hosted by our friends at the San Francisco Bike Coalition, Bike East Bay, and the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition on Saturday, Oct. 1.

On Bay Day, thousands of Bay Area residents will unite in celebration of San Francisco Bay in their own unique ways. If experiencing the Bay on two wheels is more of your thing, then check out one of these family-friendly Bay Day cycling events happening near you.

Group Bike Ride with SF Bike Coalition
Saturday, Oct. 1:  11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Grab your friends and family for a casual-paced 6 mile bike ride along San Francisco’s famed waterfront, The Embarcadero. Soak in the beautiful Bay views and learn more about the ongoing changes coming to the waterfront and ways you can get involved in the planning processes for new developments and transportation infrastructure. Sign up for this fun event today!

Berkeley Group Bike Ride with Bike East Bay
Saturday, Oct. 1:  3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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Grab your friends and family and join Bike East Bay for a fun, easygoing 6.6 mile roundtrip ride from UC Berkeley to the Berkeley Marina and back on Bay Day. During the ride, you’ll pass over and learn about parts of the Bay watershed, including some historically significant creek restoration sites, and a permeable paved roadway experiment in Berkeley encouraging healthier rainwater runoff to the Bay. Sign up for this fun event today! 

Group Bike Ride in San Leandro with Bike East Bay
Saturday, Oct. 1:  10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

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Grab your friends and family for a fun day of riding on the Bay Trail with Bike East Bay. This ride will begin at the San Leandro BART station and make its way to the Hayward Regional Shoreline and back, passing by San Lorenzo Creek and Marina Park.  At the end of this 11-mile round trip Bay excursion, there will be the option to finish the ride at 21st Amendment Brewery on Williams Street. Sign up for this fun event today!

Group Bike Ride with Silicon Valley Bike Coalition
Saturday, Oct. 1:  10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

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Even in the heart of Silicon Valley, the world’s most renowned center for technological innovation, there are miles of paved bike trails leading to the Bay shoreline for all to enjoy. On Oct. 1 pedal your way from the Mountain View Caltrain station to the Bay shoreline with the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition. There will be 10-mile and 20-mile options available for riders of all abilities, and a chance to check out the newly-opened Moffett Field Trail. Sign up for this fun event today!

Paddle Boarding with StokeShare

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Veronica joined StokeShare for a day of paddle boarding with local youth at China Camp.

StokeShare, a gear-sharing organization and community that also works to inspire love and advocacy for the outdoors through recreation, invited Save The Bay to come paddle boarding at China Camp State Park in San Rafael on Halloween. They were looking to bring several organizations together to give ten high school students from San Francisco a free day of recreation and education on the Bay. I normally work behind-the-scenes in the Save The Bay office, but it was an easy choice to volunteer for the job. Paddle boarding, China Camp, and the chance to meet people who are enthusiastic about recreating on the Bay? Sign me up!

This was my first visit to China Camp State Park. When I arrived, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the Bay waters. It was a perfectly still day, and the warm sun shining on China Camp’s historic village made for a serene scene. The volunteer docents greeted me warmly and shared that they talk to state park visitors about Save The Bay every day. We all shared the joy of having a common vision of constantly improving the Bay for future generations.

Building community on the water

Joel and Warren from StokeShare had organized volunteer instructors and paddle boards from a wide group of organizations, another testament to the sense of community that the Bay brings. Once the youth arrived, we all did a group safety training and got in the Bay. The weather was perfect, and everyone successfully stood on their boards. I could see that the youth were enjoying connecting with each other through the activity. It was fun to be outside, sharing our love for the outdoors while bobbing on the water. Everyone present had a permanent smile on their face during our time on the boards.

Inspiration in the brackish water

Going to the shoreline and getting on a paddle board was a personal reminder of why Save The Bay’s work is so important. I adore the perspective of viewing the bay from the water itself, whether it’s atop a ferry, kayak, or paddle board. Being so physically close to the water brings me a sense of being spiritually closer to nature. This personal connection is what fuels my desire to advocate for the Bay every day – whether I’m behind a desk or on a paddle board. After our time on the water, I talked to the kids about the importance of wetlands and the history of the Bay, and how they can each make an impact through their everyday habits. Joel from StokeShare encouraged them to follow their passion for the environment into a career path, using him and myself as examples. Hopefully we provided some inspiration to these high school students. Truly, I believe that the Bay spoke for itself, as we enjoyed the warm brackish water with each other’s company.

A huge thank you goes to Joel and Warren of StokeShare, and the variety of people and organizations that participated in this fantastic event on the water. StokeShare is a mission driven company that aims to create access to the outdoors for everyone. Joel Cesare and Warren Neilson are the co-founders, whose inspiration to begin their organization came to them while surfing at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. They both come from environmental backgrounds and are focusing their personal and professional efforts on environmental advocacy.

As StokeShare says, “people protect what they love, love what they know and know what they experience”. Get outside, enjoy the water, and spread the advocacy for the Bay that we all love.

 

Connect with Mother Nature, offline

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Sometimes, a new perspective of the world around us is all it takes to “disconnect to reconnect” with the self. Photo By: Vivian Reed

It seems like it was only yesterday when my Dad purchased our first family desktop computer in 1996. During that time school computer labs were furnished with clunky, colorful Macintosh desktop computers, CDs and VHS tapes predated MP3s and Netflix, and the Y2K hysteria dominated tech headlines.

My friends and I, most of whom were born in the early 1990s and grew up in Silicon Valley, often talk about the role of technology and its lightning-fast changes throughout our lifetimes. The consensus? A shared belief that the definition of childhood has evolved as today’s children are more in touch with technology, literally.

Growing up in a town where at least one member of each family worked in tech, meant every kid on the block had the latest and greatest gadget in his or her possession (and it still is the case today). Although I was often envious of my classmates who sported their shiny, razor-thin camera flip phones, I always felt happiest and more relaxed outdoors.

Swinging on my backyard swing set, puddle jumping with friends in a rain storm, playing organized sports at the local park, hiking around the Bay Area with my family, and backpacking with friends in the Sierra Nevada are my fondest childhood memories. And it is those memories of a time spent outdoors, that fueled my decision to begin my career as an environmental advocate at Save The Bay.

We are lucky to live in a region with incredible access to the outdoors, but only if we take the time to get away from our screens. Recently, I have become concerned that we’ll lose a connection that’s stronger than your wifi signal — our connection with the natural environment.

The truth is, technology is so inextricably woven into our lifestyle that it’s not just a millennial issue. Look around — anyone old enough to operate a smartphone most likely owns one (or at least has access to one). This constant connection affords an ability to know what is happening in real time, but it also takes away from using that “real time” to inspire the next generation of Bay Savers.

Today disconnecting from the world has transcended into a spiritual practice that cleanses the mind, body, and soul. This trend of “disconnecting to reconnect” opens a new area of study for social science researchers, provides fodder for a “reality” television show, and even inspires business entrepreneurs to found a tech-free, digital detox camp for adults. But here’s my question: Can the practice of seeking solace outdoors in this highly-connected era help solve the environmental problems we face today?

I’m not so naive to suggest that one glance of San Francisco Bay from the region’s tallest peaks, one day of biking along the Bay Trail, or one night of camping at Angel Island State Park will immediately inspire you to tackle today’s environmental challenges head on. But, I do believe that prioritizing and making a continuous effort to play outdoors can redefine what is really important to us as individuals. And if we value outdoor recreation, then the next logical step would be to commit to preserving and protecting this open space.

If the old adage “Today’s children are tomorrow’s future” rings true, then it’s our collective responsibility as adults to make play a priority for our children by signing off of technology and plugging into the world around us. It is time we all see and experience the world  through our own eyes — not live vicariously through someone else’s photograph of a beautiful landscape posted online.

This weekend, I challenge you to go outside and enjoy a day by the Bay free of technology. Then store those memories in your mental computer and and share them with your loved ones in person. I bet you won’t even miss your screen.

News of the Bay: March 28, 2014

Check out this edition of News of the Bay for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay

3/20/2014
San Jose Mercury News
Photos of 30-day trek on San Francisco Bay Trail capture its many wonders
Kurt Schwabe had just been laid off from a dead-end job when he decided to start walking.
Not just any kind of walking — purposeful walking.
“What I really wanted to do was expand the tools that I feel I’m best at, writing and photography, and I love to be outdoors. I wanted to help make a difference about something,” he says.
And that’s how he found himself spending the entire month of June walking the 330 miles of the San Francisco Bay Trail, a still-uncompleted project that began in 1997 and that runs through 47 cities in all nine Bay Area counties.
Read more>>

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3/20/2014
San Francisco Magazine
History Written in Water
San Francisco Bay is clearer than it has been since the gold rush. Its waters are less muddy, and much of the befouling sediment that formerly covered the bay floor has washed away into the Pacific.
Good news, right? Wrong. Actually, the fact that the bay’s water is more transparent than it has been in 150 years is causing some serious problems, a development that is both unexpected and deeply ironic. The silt that until recently muddied the bay was created by what has always, and rightly, been considered California’s first and worst environmental disaster: hydraulic mining. By 1853, panning for gold was no longer profitable, so miners began using water cannons to blast away riverbanks and entire mountains. The amount of sand and dirt blown loose was inconceivable: One geologist estimated it at one and a half billion cubic yards, or eight times more than the material removed to build the 48-mile-long Panama Canal. So vast was the quantity of sediment that the mighty Sacramento River’s bed was raised 13 feet at the capital.|
Read more>>

3/24/2014
New York Times
Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes
A dangerous new form of a powerful stimulant is hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon and even the barrel.
The drug is nicotine, in its potent, liquid form — extracted from tobacco and tinctured with a cocktail of flavorings, colorings and assorted chemicals to feed the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.
These “e-liquids,” the key ingredients in e-cigarettes, are powerful neurotoxins. Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures and even be lethal. A teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child.
Read more>>

3/25/2014
San Jose Mercury News
South Bay Passenger Rail Corridor Proposed for Moving Crude Oil
The tracks that carry Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains through about a dozen heavily populated East Bay and South Bay communities could become a rail superhighway for potentially explosive crude oil transports to Central California under a plan by the Phillips 66 oil company, Berkeley officials warn.
A project at Phillips 66’s Santa Maria refinery would enable it to receive crude oil from North American sources that are served by rail, according to a draft environmental report under review by San Luis Obispo County.
Read more>>

3/27/2014
CBS Local
California Drought Creating Toxic Clams in San Francisco Bay
California’s ongoing drought is affecting much more than just drinking water supplies as scientists are looking into how declining rainfall may be increasing the toxicity of the San Francisco Bay.
With less water flowing into the bay during the drought, there is an increase in naturally occurring toxins—materials which are then ingested by all kinds of creatures, including the overbite clams, which are non-native to the ecosystem, and then move up the food chain.
Read more>>