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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.
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Claremont Canyon Conservancy
The 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.

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

 Beaconsfield Canyon
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.
Contact: Richard Kauffman,

Butters Canyon
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.
Contact: Sue Duckles,

 Dimond Canyon Park
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.
Contact: Karen Paulsell,

 Dimond Park
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.
Contact: Karen Paulsell,

Garber Park
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.
Contact: Shelagh Brodersen,

Firestorm Memorial Garden, Gateway Emergency Exhibit Center and North Oakland Sportsfield
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. Volunteers 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
  • Frank H. Ogawa Firescape Garden at the North Oakland Sports Field
  • Broadway Pollinator Garden at the Highway 24 Broadway off-ramp @ Broadway

Contact: Hillary Conlon, North Hills Community Association Garden Committee
 Joaquin Miller Park
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.
Contact: Karen Paulsell,

 King Estate Open Space
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.
Contact: Philip Dow,

 Knowland Park
Friends of Knowland Park and the East Bay chapter of the California Native Plant Society are active stewards of Knowland Park. We survey the park’s animals, plants, lichens, and fungi, and document wildlife through critter cameras and services of wildlife biologists. We have removed enormous quantities of French broom from the rare maritime chaparral and native grasslands in the western highlands. We host weed and trash removal, participate in the annual sudden oak death blitz, and coordinate with the Oakland Fire Department to create a sound goat grazing plan. To enhance the public’s use of the park, we have created a nature trail guide and map, and we offer nature tours.

Leona Heights Park
Contact: Christopher Cook,
Montclair Railroad Trail
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.

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