It’s the 50th anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act, and a time for reflecting on the meaning of wild and nature. Bay Nature’s July-September 2014 issue explores the wilderness areas in our region, places that prove you don’t have to be far from the city to find land “where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” We also turn to natural areas still in the making, like the Hamilton Wetlands restoration project, where a levee breach this spring will allow the Bay to slowly reclaim its former territory. On the 25th anniversary of the Bay Trail, 2.7 miles of new trail has just opened at Hamilton, a “yellow brick road” around the edge of the marsh where hikers and bikers can watch a wetland reborn. The July-September issue also features stories from a generation of retiring East Bay Regional Park District workers that came into the parks in the 1970s suffused with the spirit of the environmental, equal rights, and anti-war movements, leaving behind the largest regional park district in the nation. We uncover the majesty of sparkling bioluminescence; the fun and science behind a wild nature-counting weekend in the Golden Gate National Parks; and an attempt to really understand the effects of climate change at the local level.
This issue explores wilderness in the urban Bay Area after 50 years of the Wilderness Act. Plus a generation that shaped the East Bay Parks.
Looking out across the 650-acre project toward the distant Godzilla arm of the backhoe against the blue sky, I finally see on the ground what the planners and engineers have been describing to me ever since I first began writing stories about Hamilton ten years ago: a tapestry of habitats.
Habitats: Freshwater, Bay, Marine | Human History | Stewardship | Wildlife: Birds, Mammals, Fish
It’s not “news” to Bay Nature readers that climate change is in the process of giving a serious thwack to living systems. But what’s less well understood is how plants and animals and the habitats they inhabit are moving—and being altered—in response to changing temperature and precipitation patterns.
Climate Change | Stewardship
As far as I know, the passage of the Wilderness Act 50 years ago was the first time in human history that a society has declared by statute that certain areas shall never be developed, nor exploited for commercial gain, nor intruded on by motorized transport.
The ideas driving the environmental and social movements of the early 1970s gained a strong foothold in the East Bay Regional Park District, thanks in large part to a cohort of young park workers hired during that decade.
On the last weekend of March, 9,000 people armed with binoculars, butterfly nets, cameras, and smartphones, spread out over an archipelago of national park lands from Point Reyes in Marin County to Mori Point on the San Mateo coast. Their goal: document as many species as possible of plants, animals, and other living things in […]
Climate Change | Kids and Nature | Stewardship | Urban Nature | Wildlife: Birds, Mammals, Fish | Wildlife: Invertebrates, Reptiles, Amphibians
Another phenomenon, equally fabulous but much lower in the food chain, can also occur in the ocean at this time of year: bioluminescence, or “living light.”
Recreation | Wildlife: Invertebrates, Reptiles, Amphibians
In a world thoroughly worked over by humankind, wilderness is our term for those places that seem the least altered, the least managed. It identifies the rawer end of a spectrum, with downtown San Francisco on one end and, say, the Wrangell Mountains on the other. But the word is elastic.