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Oakland Firesafe Council

Park Stewards

Park Stewards

Volunteers regularly work on fuel reduction and restoration in Oakland parks and open spaces, and new volunteers are always welcome. For information on volunteer workdays get in touch with the listed contacts.

Oakland Wildland Stewards

The Oakland Wildland Stewards (OWLS) is a coalition of groups stewarding open spaces and wooded parks within the city of Oakland. Each member group conducts volunteer workdays to preserve, protect and restore the native habitat and ecology in its project area. Vegetation management is a key component of their focus:

  • to advocate for the urban forests and open spaces of Oakland with one voice
  • to share our experience and knowledge with each other
  • to work cooperatively with the city to improve land management and fuel management practices

MAP wpad_OWLS_061814

Beaconsfield Canyon is a 5.5-acre open space located at the corner of Beaconsfield Place and Keswick Ct., off Chelton Drive in Montclair. The volunteer group, Friends of Beaconsfield Canyon, was started by neighbors in 2007 to reduce fire hazard and restore habitat. It was later allied with Friends of Sausal Creek. Volunteers hold regular monthly workdays every last Saturday to remove nonnative, invasive plants and to plant natives. Students from Joaquin Miller Elementary School make regular field trips to the canyon to learn about local ecology and habitat restoration. Beaconsfield was also the model site for a timed clearing program by the Oakland Fire Dept., establishing a protocol for cutting certain flammable invasive plants before they seed.



Popular with dog walkers, neighbors, and families, Bridgeview Trail runs along the edge of Dimond Canyon. Sausal Creek is accessible from a couple of switchback trails. A lovely oak and bay laurel forest gives way to redwoods about halfway down the trail.  The big problem is invasive ivy, which has virtually overrun some sections of the trail. The ivy removal team meets on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, 9 – 11 a.m. 


  • Kathleen Harris –

Butters Canyon is a half-mile stretch of wild, woodsy land along Butters Drive, just off Joaquin Miller Road. This serene oasis of native trees houses hundreds of species of wildlife and plants and represents a green riparian and wildlife corridor at the headwaters of Peralta Creek. To preserve this unique treasure, a non-profit corporation was formed in June 2001, now known as Butters Canyon Conservancy (BCC). Since inception of the land trust, a total of eleven creekside lots have been preserved. BCC has done some habitat restoration and uses volunteer workdays to remove invasives: broom, Cape ivy, and Algerian ivy. VOLUNTEER

Claremont Canyon Conservancy works closely with public and private property owners and various government agencies to ensure the best possible stewardship of the canyon as a whole.  We support educational programs designed to improve fire safety and seek out the most effective measures that private property owners can take to protect their own properties from wildfire.  The  Conservancy supports and actively conducts strategic fuel reduction projects in the canyon.  We promote stewardship through general weed management to help restore the natural balance in the various ecosystems within the watershed, through educational programs that increase public awareness and appreciation of the canyon, and through advocacy for improved public access. VOLUNTEER

Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) works with environmental groups, neighbors, and students to improve multiple sites within the canyon, especially Monterey Redwoods trailhead, Bridgeview trailhead, Bridgeview oak understory, El Centro trailhead, and Benevides trailhead. Activities include everything from clearing invasives and planting natives to doing erosion control, rebuilding trails, and managing storm drain runoff. A major effort was made in 2001 to restore the creek, with FOSC’s part being to plant 20,000 natives. Projects that were started near trailheads (a pollinator garden and a streetside garden) have expanded into the park, adding to plantings of local, native species. On Earth Day and Creek-to-Bay Day, FOSC attracts as many as 250 volunteers to Dimond Park, with specialized crews removing vegetation and cleaning trash from the creek. FOSC VOLUNTEER EVENT CALENDAR

Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) maintains a Native Plant Demonstration Garden in Dimond Park (since 1996) and also works to clear invasives and plant natives along the riparian corridor. As in Dimond Canyon Park, we have “sub-adopters” for some of the area. Friends of Dimond Park VOLUNTEER opportunities.

The Oakland Landscape Committee is community based, volunteer landscape committee that has worked on greening projects in the North Oakland Highway 24/13 corridor since 1979. VOLUNTEER to work Saturdays from 9 am – 2 pm  at one of our primary garden sites:

  • Firestorm Memorial Garden at Tunnel Road and Hiller Drive
  • Gateway Garden & Emergency Preparedness Exhibit at Tunnel Road & Caldecott Lane
  • Broadway Pollinator Garden at the Highway 24 Broadway off-ramp @ Broadway

See the NHCA calendar for schedule of GARDEN DAYS

Garber Park is a 13-acre woodland park located in Claremont Canyon. The Garber Park Stewards was formed in October, 2009, when a small group of neighbors, alarmed by the high fuel load in the park, volunteered through the Adopt-a-Park/Creek Program to maintain and restore its natural beauty. We have been educating ourselves and the community, through workshops, in everything from planting natives to collecting native seeds and controlling erosion. We hold twice-a-month volunteer workdays to remove invasive weeds, plant natives, and maintain/upgrade the trails. We now have 7 restoration sites and have almost eradicated blackberry and broom that blanketed the steep slopes. VOLUNTEER

Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) and Friends of Joaquin Miller Park (FOJMP) have jointly adopted numerous sites throughout this 500-acre park (Fern Ravine, Big Trees, Palos Colorados trailhead, and Joaquin Miller Road at Skyline). Over the past 10 years, we have been coordinating volunteers from the surrounding community and local schools, holding workdays to remove broom, blackberry, star thistle, ivy, and other invasives; fence off/block areas where overuse has killed the redwood understory; and plant natives (many from the FOSC nursery). A number of the sites harbor rare native plants (e.g., pallid manzanitas, Tiburon buckwheat), and annual grasses and competing shrubs are removed to enhance the habitats. VOLUNTEER

Once the master plan for the Glenn W. Daniel / King Estate Open Space Park was approved by the Oakland City Council in 1998, the Oak Knoll Neighborhood Improvement Association (OKNIA) Park Committee began a volunteer program of eradicating non-native species. The eastern slopes behind the middle school were choked with French broom. Over the course of 5 years, the broom was brought under control, and a wonderful grove of oaks made accessible to hikers enjoying trails hewn from the hillsides with the help of Volunteers for Outdoor California (VOCAL). The eradication program continues within the 80-acre park, focusing on broom, salsify, Himalayan blackberry, and cardoon.


  • Oak Knoll Neighborhood Improvement Association (OKNIA) –

Knowland Park, formerly the Knowland State Arboretum and Park, was deeded by the State of California to the City of Oakland in 1975 on the condition it would always remain a public park. Within its ~500 acres, ~100 acres are fenced and occupied by the Oakland Zoo. Friends of Knowland Park appreciate the natural beauty of ~400 acres of open space wildland that is characterized by heritage oak woodlands and native California bunchgrass prairie. We have removed enormous quantities of French broom from the rare maritime chaparral and native grasslands in the western highlands. We have hosted weed and trash removal, participated in the annual sudden oak death blitz. The group confers with the Oakland Fire Department on its annual goat grazing plan, and we monitor the park’s City-contracted stewardship as performed by Zoo management.


  • Karen Asbelle: karen.asbelle “at”

Situated near Merritt College with a burbling creek, little waterfalls, towering redwoods and beautiful coast live oaks, Leona Heights Park is a serene natural escape just a few miles away from downtown. The York Trail runs the length of the park, connecting the quiet, sun-dappled canyon floor with expansive, unobstructed views across Oakland at the summit. Wear appropriate hiking shoes and explore this scenic haven.



Located at the intersection of Ascot and Chelton drives in Montclair, Marj Saunders Park was originally called Sulpher Springs Park. Volunteers battle encroaching nonnative plants and are slowly implementing a planting plan created in 2008 to transition from grass landscaping to primarily native plants. Workdays are the first Mondays of the month from 11am-1pm.


  • Elaine Geffen –

Friends of Montclair RR Trail is a community-based group of trail users, neighbors and supporters who maintain, preserve and enhance the wild and natural character of the “Montclair RR Trail”, a City of Oakland Linear Park. We provide an extra pair of eyes and additional hands when needed, augmenting Oakland’s Parks and Recreation resources to keep the Montclair Railroad Trail clean, safe and natural for all who use it. VOLUNTEER

This former city dump has been gradually transformed into a place of beauty thanks to the Shepherd Canyon Eco-Pullers, a group supported by the Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association. The homeowners association, in cooperation with FOSC, commissioned a vegetation survey in 2003. The resulting management plan guides native plantings on public as well as private lands and informs the fire mitigation plan for the canyon.


  • Mike Petouhoff –