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06.04.08

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By P. Joseph Potocki


Prettying up the Parks

Over a million outdoor enthusiasts nationwide are expected to head to a favorite park, forest or recreation area on Saturday, June 7, for a day of trail work and celebration. Established in 1993, National Trail Day (NTD) now includes almost 3,000 separate events across the country. Volunteers refurbish national, state regional and local park trails. Organizers offer workshops, educational exhibits and new trail dedications in addition to giving folks the opportunity to give a little elbow grease in payback.

Rod Helms is the executive director of the Sonoma Trails Council, the nonprofit spearheading Sonoma County's efforts. Helms encourages everyone who has ever used a park to lend a hand in NTD trail-maintenance efforts. In the past, Helms says that he's enjoyed everything from "brushing trails, tread-work and reversing erosion from lumber trails into creeks" to "removing seaweed off a beach" to luring potential bike-riding volunteers off the path "with cookies."

In Marin, volunteers will meet at Tennessee Valley to do fence-building, clear brush and construct a raised turnpike. In Sonoma, the event is Trail Days-with-an-ess as the work at Salt Point State Park runs Friday–Sunday, June 6–8, with work needed on the pygmy forest and rhododendron preserve, as well as such mundane places as the beach. In Napa, volunteers get an unprecedented chance to enjoy the new Newell Preserve, an open space acquisition not yet open to the public, as they tour the area that is slated to one day be the River to Ridge Trail, part of the overall Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Aside from the satisfactions to be had from a well-spent day of magnanimous labor and camaraderie, all volunteers receive free raffle tickets good for mounds of outdoor gear provided by REI, Sonoma Outfitters, Camelbak and Marmot. In Sonoma County, the gear will be handed out at the Sonoma County Trails Jamboree, which is slated for Saturday, June 21, at Santa Rosa's Juilliard Park. The featured guest speaker is Traci Verarbo-Torres, the legislative and policy director for the California States Parks Foundation.

For further details on Sonoma County NTD events, call 707.490.4950 or visit www.sonomacountytrails.org. Marin County residents can call 415.561.3068 or visit www.parksconservancy.org. For details on the River to Ridge Trail event, call 707.647.7275.


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