Earth Day is still more than a week away, but there are opportunities this weekend to pull the hiking boots out of the back of the closet and get outdoors. (Weather.com shows the sun peeping out on Saturday in Walnut Creek after taking a couple of days off.)
The outdoors opportunities, briefly, are here, with more details below the bullets:
- Up in the thin air, volunteers will renovate the Visitor Center at Mount Diablo State Park on Saturday morning, April 14.
- Down in the thick air, there's the Second Saturday Walk with the Mayor at Lime Ridge featuring Open Space guide Bob Simmons, who is the mayor of Walnut Creek.
- There's a guided bird walk on Lime Ridge Sunday, April 15, led by the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation.
The Mount Diablo work is organized by the California State Parks Foundation, its 15th annual Earth Day restoration and cleanup. This one takes in 19 projects at parks around the state.
Up to 200 volunteers will check in around 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. Saturday at the Mount Diablo Visitor Center. The project work goes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Projects include
- Rebuilding fencing around a propane tank
- Installing new garbage and recycling bins
- Painting handrails
- Installing lights on the outside of the center
- Trail maintenance
- Non-native plant removal.
The project is made possible by grants from PG&E and Chevron. The park contact is Dan Stefanisko, State Park Peace Officer, (925) 855-1730, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Second Saturday walk at Lime Ridge is led by Mayor Bob Simmons at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Bayberry Court entrance to Lime Ridge Open Space.
"This walk is intended to provide the maximum opportunity to see wildflowers in a variety of habitats," said Mayor Bob. "We should see buttercups, blue dicks, lupine, blue-eyed grass, Indian paintbrush, hound’s tongue, and perhaps a surprise or two."
The hikers, taking in about five miles, will be crossing under Ygnacio Valley Road. Two tunnels provide safe passage from one side of Lime Ridge Open Space to the other, and Saturday's hikers will get to walk through both. "The views are spectacular, and the path goes through a series of different vegetation habitats, so it is one of the most interesting and varied hikes available in the Walnut Creek Open Space," said Simmons.
The Lime Ridge bird walk is led by Maury Stern at the Valley Vista staging area, across from Boundary Oak Golf Course, from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, April 15. The hike will take in an elevation gain of 700 feet, which is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you have allergies. Moderate rain will cancel the event, organizers say. For information, call Harvey Ceaser, (925) 937-1406.