Start the New Year with a Hike in East Bay Parks

By Ned MacKay

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get more fresh air and exercise in 2014, your East Bay Regional Park District stands ready to help.

One early opportunity is a free program called “Tracking the Urban Edge,” led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. First in the series is a hike from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Jan. 5 at Crockett Hills Regional Park in Crockett. The group will learn to identify animals that live near us by the tracks they leave during their wanderings.

Bring a camera, notebook, binoculars and a measuring tool. Meet at the park’s trailhead on Crockett Boulevard off Pomona Street in Crockett.

Another chance is an appropriately named “Resolution Hike” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 5 at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo, led by naturalist Eddie Willis.

This one is a three to four mile moderate jaunt along the park’s scenic ridgelines, designed for ages eight and older. Meet Eddie at the park entrance on Morgan Territory Road, about nine narrow and winding miles south of the junction with Marsh Creek Road in Clayton.

For information, call (888) 327-2757, ext. 2750. Rain cancels it.

If you enjoy bird watching, Anthony leads birding walks almost every Monday. The next one is from 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 6 at Eastshore State Park in Berkeley. Meet in the Seabreeze Market parking lot at the west end of University Avenue, just over the Interstate 80 bridge. For information on either of Anthony’s programs, call (510) 544-2233.

And here’s one for the 55 and older crowd. It’s an informal group called the “Over-the-Hills Gang.” The gang will venture to Briones Regional Park from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, led by naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder, in search of breeding newts.

Meet at the end of Briones Road off Alhambra Valley Road in Martinez. Briones Road is easy to miss. For directions, call 510-544-2233.

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Telltale evidence of a now-vanished mining town will be revealed during a hike from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, led by naturalist Bob Kanagaki. The activity is for ages seven and older. Meet Bob in the parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, five miles south of Highway 4. For information, call (888-) 27-2757, ext. 2750. Rain cancels.

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The New Year brings a whole series of programs to the visitor center at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

You can help test the Delta water quality in a program from 9 to 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday in January and February. Delta Discoveries, a family-friendly series including arts and crafts activities is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

And from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4, there’s a bird-watching program led by the interpretive staff.

Big Break Regional Shoreline is on Big Break Road off Main Street in Oakley. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

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