Park It: Walk on the wilderness in Sunol to watch wildflowers bloom

The wildflower season is starting, and one of the best places for viewing the blooms is Sunol Wilderness Regional Preserve in southern Alameda County.

With that in mind, Sunol’s naturalist staff has scheduled a series of wildflower walks. The first one is from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The next is at the same time on March 26.

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The hikes are free of charge, intended for ages 4 and older, with adult participation required. To join in, sign up at the Sunol Visitor Center the morning of the hike. Attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. Trails and hike capacity will vary each day. Wear weather-appropriate clothing, sun protection, and closed-toe shoes. Bring drinking water.

Sunol Wilderness is at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road, about 5 miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 510-544-3245.

Note that Geary Road has been closed periodically due to landslides. So before you go, check to be sure the park is open and the program is on. It’s a good idea to do this prior to every visit to a regional park and/or program you wish to join.

There will also be a naturalist-led wildflower walk from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday at Thurgood Marshall Regional Park in Concord. This program is also free, but requires advance registration. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.

Antioch: There are few signs remaining that one of Contra Costa’s most populous mining communities once thrived in what is now Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch.

Through historic photos, maps and clues on the ground, naturalist Katie Garchar will bring the town of Somersville back to life during a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Black Diamond Mines.

The program is drop-in and free of charge. Heavy rain may cancel the program. Meet Katie in the park’s uppermost parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. For information, call 510-544-2750.

Martinez: Birds of Briones Regional Park near Martinez are the focus of a walk from 9 a.m. to noon on March 27, with naturalist Anthony Fisher.

The program is free and no registration is required. All levels of bird-watching skill are welcome.

Meet Anthony at the park’s Old Briones Road staging area. Old Briones Road leads up the hill from Alhambra Valley Road, about 100 yards west of the intersection with Reliez Valley Road. For information and directions, call Tilden Nature Area at 510-544-2233.

Alameda: “Duck, Duck, Goose!” is the theme of Family Nature Fun Hour from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Doug Siden Visitor Center at Crab Cove in Alameda. It’s all about fun with our feathered friends. The program repeats at the same time on March 26.

And in celebration of Women’s History Month, naturalist Susan Ramos will host a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary at Crown Beach in Alameda.

During a short walk along the edge of the bay, learn how Sylvia McLaughlin, Kay Kerr and Esther Gulick formed Save the Bay. Also discover the stories of Elsie Roemer and Junea Kelly. Bring your binoculars or borrow one from Susan.

Both programs are drop-in and free of charge. The visitor center is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. The marsh observation platform is at the intersection of Park Street and Shoreline Drive. For information on either program, call 510-544-3187.

Award: The Park District and Regional Parks Foundation has presented State Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan with the District’s 2022 Radke Championing Advocacy Award, in recognition of her years of support for the Park District in Sacramento.

She was instrumental in securing $4 million in the 2019-20 state budget for restoration at McCosker Creek in Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Orinda. She also secured $3.5 million in the 2021-22 state budget for wildfire protection equipment.

The award is named for late Park District Board member Ted Radke, the longest-serving board member in the district’s history.

Documentary: Learn more about the park district’s history of land preservation at the premiere of the film documentary, “The Long Game: How Robert Doyle Shaped the East Bay.”

The documentary will be premiered at a Save Mount Diablo program from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Center.

Doyle is a retired park district general manager and a founding member of Save Mount Diablo. The program also honors two recently retired long-term park district elected board members: Beverly Lane and Ayn Wieskamp. All three have been active for many years in preserving East Bay open space for public enjoyment and wildlife habitat. To obtain tickets, visit

Online: These are just a few of the activities planned in coming days in the Regional Parks. For the complete calendar, visit

Ned MacKay writes about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at

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