Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ridge Trail Service Day set Nov. 7

(Originally published in the 10/29/15 edition)

   The Benicia State Parks Association will be partnering with the sporting goods chain Recreational Equipment, Inc to host the annual Ridge Trail Service Day at the Benicia State Recreation Area on Saturday, Nov. 7.
   The Bay Area Ridge Trail is a multi-use trail that connects over 75 parks and open spaces along the San Francisco Bay. So far, over 350 miles have been completed with the plan of having the trail stretch 550 miles.
    However, since the trail spreads across public and private land, there is no single agency responsible for the overall maintenance with much of the work falling to volunteers, according to Bob Berman, the vice president of the Benicia State Parks Association. Since 2008, REI has partnered with the Bay Area Ridge Trail to host a Service Day at sites across the Bay Area, usually the first weekend in November. Volunteers will work to make improvements to the trail
   Berman says there are two projects that will be focused on in Benicia. The first is a split-rail fence adjacent to the Forest Deaner Native Botanic Plant Garden. 
   “The split-rail is in pretty bad shape,” he said. “ State Parks will be bringing over some sections of split-rails and will have to replace those that are in bad shape with new sections.”
   The other major project for the day will be to remove some of the weeds that have taken over the trail.
   “There’s been a lot of infestation of weeds like fennel,” Berman said. “It’s either on the trail or adjacent to the trail. We’re going to go through and try to clean out some of that fennel and remove it so the trail is more open.”
   The work will certainly be tough, but volunteers do not have to worry about going hungry. REI also has partnered with Chipotle Mexican Grill which will be providing a free lunch during the event. 
   “Volunteers get not just the opportunity to help out but also a token of appreciation in the form of a free lunch paid for and supported by Chipotle,” Berman said. 
   Berman says that the event is “truly a public/private partnership.”
   “This is a good example of a lot of different organizations working together to provide improvements for existing open space trails,” he said. 
   Above all, Berman says the event will be a good way for citizens to contribute to something valuable.
   “This is an opportunity for the public to go out and give back to the community and to help maintain an asset that’s being enjoyed by members of the public,” he said. “It’s a good time to get out there with your friends and neighbors and make new friends while doing hard but worthwhile work.”
   The REI Ridge Trail Service Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Benicia State Recreation Area. The event is free and open to the public. To learn more about what participants need to bring, visit or contact Volunteer Manager Emily Bauska. 


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