Been thinking about San Francisco's natural areas, and the people who take care of them for the rest of us. By "natural areas" I mean the remnants of our indigenous local landscapes, the flora that supports our fauna. There's been such a tug of war through the years over these precious bits of green (brown, yellow) spaces in a city so disproportionately paved with asphalt and concrete. Sometimes it's easy to lose the thread that connects plant life with wildlife. If it gives you a thrill to see a red-tail hawk, then think about the food it eats, the small vertebrates that live in our parks and open spaces. What do THEY eat? Follow the thread that eventually leads back to plants and trees growing native in our clay/rocky/sandy soil sustaining life that gives the hawk its lunch. To lose our natural native areas is to lose the little bits of wildlife left in the city. The folks who work to preserve and maintain the vestiges of our native plant cultures are full-blown heroes in my book.
I've talked about natural areas in earlier posts, but for me, the best place to experience nature in the city is Glen Canyon Park, 60 acres of quiet, almost rural open space smack dab in the middle of San Francisco yet totally removed from the urban cacaphony around it. My son Charlie went to pre-school at Glenridge, tucked way back in the canyon, a daily hike along pathways bordering Islais Creek under tree canopies (Eucalyptus mostly, non-native, drops camphorous bits of detritus that poison the undergrowth, and yet, love walking under those trees, guilty as charged). The Friends of Glen Canyon Park working with the city's Natural Areas Program pull out great swaths of blackberry bramble beside the creek to daylight the natives beneath. Talk about sweat equity - this is back-breaking work. Follow the path all the way in, past the school building, to the raised walkway, an ingenious method enabling hikers to cross sensitive habitat areas without harming them. My son grew up here, learning the value of land not built upon but preserved by human hands. Lucky kid.
I may get blow back from folks who just love to let their dogs run off-leash here and think 4-year-old kids are a menace who interfere with their fun, but I don't care. My blog. Put your dog on a frickin' leash. And clean up the poop - it's ruining the creek.