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West Marin

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Driving out to the coast among the seemingly endless ranks of Marin County hills, studded with rock outcrops and spotted with grazing cows, you can feel the calmness that flows from a stable landscape. It has always been this way, … Read more

Wild Gardens

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A visit to remnant native grasslands in Richmond or diverse oak woodlands in eastern Alameda County gives a taste of our region’s native habitats. But few of us are aware of an important element that helped shape those habitats: the regimes of burning, pruning, and digging carried out over centuries by the East Bay’s indigenous inhabitants, some of whom still carry on those traditions today.

New Life For The Laguna

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Thirty years ago, few people gave a second thought to the Laguna de Santa Rosa, the North Coast’s largest freshwater wetland. The once-teeming marshland had become a dumping ground. But things are changing, and this complex waterway is finally beginning to recover some of its former glory.

Eastshore Park, Two Decades in the Making

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Eastshore State Park, an 8.5-mile-long ribbon of East Bay shoreline between the Bay Bridge and Richmond’s Marina Bay, is proof that many good things don’t come easily. The park is the result of 20 years of advocacy, negotiation, and planning … Read more

A Landscape Renewed by Fire

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Enter the woods on Inverness Ridge and pause for a moment to listen. Natural history weaves itself into stories for those willing to hear—whether teased from the patterns in stone, distilled from the rings of a tree, or gathered from … Read more

Fire on the Ridge

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On a clear January day in 2005, I took a walk up from my house on the east slope of Inverness Ridge to the trail that runs south from Mount Vision in Point Reyes National Seashore to Drakes View Drive … Read more

Getting Burned

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Fire dwells deep in the human psyche. It is among the oldest of words, the most elemental of tools, and the primary means by which early man projected himself onto the world. The torch and the hearth fire enabled our … Read more

Out of the Flames

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On October 3, 1995, a wildfire erupted on Mount Vision at Point Reyes National Seashore. Before the flames were extinguished a week later, 12,000 acres of this popular park had been scorched, and 45 nearby homes burned to the ground. A decade later, we return to Point Reyes for a lesson in local fire ecology to see how the landscape—and the community—were reshaped and renewed by the blaze.

Letter from the Publisher

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Parking the car in front of my house a few weeks ago, I noticed movement across the street. It was a deer—a mature doe, I believe—walking up the sidewalk in the early evening twilight. Aware of my presence, but not … Read more

The Deer Next Door

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It certainly seems that we’re seeing more deer all over our neighborhoods. But how can these large mammals make a living among all the cars and houses? Writer Bruce Morris took the time to observe the deer in his suburban Belmont backyard. What he learned may surprise you: These deer weren’t just “making do”; they were thriving. With surprisingly small home ranges, suburbanized deer are redefining our built landscapes to fit their needs—an orchard becomes a fawning zone, an abandoned garden a nursery, a wooded lot a feeding area.