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Park It: Wild Flowers in Bloom

By NED MacKAY
Special to the Tribune

The spring wildflower pageant continues in the East Bay Regional Park District, with several naturalist-led walks scheduled to view this year’s exceptional displays.

Two wildflower walks are on the agenda at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo.

The first is a “Footloose Friday” excursion from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 28, led by naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder. The hike will take place rain or shine, though muddy trails may shorten it.

If you can’t make that one, there’s a long wildflower hike from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 at Morgan Territory. This one is a six-mile trek led by staff through sometimes-steep terrain, and rain cancels it. It’s best for ages 10 and older.

Both hikes meet at the park’s entrance on Morgan Territory Road. Be advised that Morgan Territory Road has been closed at the Clayton end because of slide damage. For current information about the status of Morgan Territory Road, go to www.co.contra-costa.ca.us and click on “Morgan Territory Road Update.” It may be that the only way to reach the preserve is to drive in on Morgan Territory Road from the Livermore side.

For more information on Gail’s Footloose Friday hike, call 510-544-2233. For more on the long Sunday hike, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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Wildflowers are also the theme of Family Nature Fun Hour at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. From 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, naturalists will lead explorations of colorful spring blooms.

Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.

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If you’re going out on your own, I can offer several suggestions. There are nice wildflower displays along the first mile or so of the Briones Crest Trail at Briones Regional Park near Orinda, starting from the Oak Grove picnic area at the Bear Creek Road entrance. Be advised, it’s a bit of a steep climb, but worth it for the views and flowers.

Another good wildflower walk is at Sunol Regional Wilderness at the end of Geary Road in southern Alameda County. Walk out Camp Ohlone Road to Little Yosemite, then return via the Canyon View Trail.

The Chaparral Loop and Manhattan Canyon trails at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch are another good bet.

And I haven’t been up there for a few years, but I’ve seen stunning wildflower displays along the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, especially on Rocky Ridge, which is a two-mile climb from the Lichen Bark picnic area at Del Valle Regional Park.

Del Valle is on Del Valle Road off Mines Road about nine miles south of Livermore. You need a permit for the Ohlone Trail because it passes through San Francisco Water Department lands. For more information, visit the park district web site, www.ebparks.org. Click on “Parks/Trails” on the left side of the home page, then click again on “Ohlone” on the right side.

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Ohlone people and their cultures will be featured in a program from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. Naturalist Francis Mendoza will discuss the Ohlone’s intimate relationship with nature, family and their ancestors, and their values of generosity and fairness.

The program is for ages eight and older. Meet at the visitor center, which is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. For information, call 510-544-3220.

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At Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Naturalist Kevin Dixon plans a long walk from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. The group will go from the Somersville town site through historic Rose Hill Cemetery to Nortonville, up the Coal Canyon Trail and on to Pioneer Pond.

The hike is for ages 10 and older. Meet Kevin in the parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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And you can find out about lots of other educational and recreational opportunities in the regional parks by visiting the district web site, www.ebparks.org.

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