Snow, Students, and a New Trail!

staff bucking and chipping fallen trees & branches at knobcone

Stewardship Update

Written by Haley Sutton, Land Stewardship Associate

Preparation for the Opening of Knobcone Point Road

volunteers at mount diablo's knobcone point road

Volunteers installed gates and posts along Knobcone Point Road. Photo by Sean Burke

Staff spent a few days along Knobcone Point Road, thinning dead knobcone pines and chipping other downed trees and fallen branches to restore through-access after the first of this year’s storms.

Staff then led a volunteer day with the Trail Dogs and property stewards at Curry Canyon Ranch, where they installed infrastructure for the opening of the Knobcone Point to Riggs Canyon Trail.

Knobcone Point area; the dieback can be seen on the slopes of Knobcone Point. Photo by Sean Burke

With the power of seven volunteers, we installed one pedestrian gate on the western side of the trail that visitors will access when coming from the area of Curry Canyon Point.

Volunteers also installed posts for two information kiosks, one located near the first pedestrian gate and the other closer to the Riggs Canyon gate.

Lastly, volunteers installed posts for two vehicular gates that will signal the land banked area along the trail that is not to be accessed by visitors.

This next month, we will get the remainder of the infrastructure and signage in place for the trail opening on March 29, 2023. Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed to this project so far!

Planting California Milkweed

monarch caterpillar nestled amongst large milkweed flowers

Monarch caterpillar on California milkweed. Photo by Sean Burke

Staff began planting California milkweed (Asclepias californica) at Curry Canyon Ranch to expand the existing populations that were monitored the past few years from our seed collection project.

The Watershed Nursery grew hundreds of plants from the seed staff collected last summer. Because of the sensitive habitat type where these plants love to grow, milkweed planting will not be a part of our group events or DiRT days.

Stewards in the Field

snow on Mount Diablo

Snow on the mountain! Photo by Shannon Grover

Stewards witnessed snow at the end of the month at Oak Hill Lane, Highland Springs, and Anderson Ranch.

Staff observed snow at the top of Curry Canyon Ranch, and in some places it looked to be over a foot deep.

The Trail Dogs also worked on ongoing defencing projects at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, and completed trail work on Walnut Creek Open Space and Mount Diablo State Park lands.

Students Outdoors

Campolindo Students complete their service project at Mangini. Photo by Haley Sutton

We held a Conservation Collaboration Agreement with Campolindo High School at Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve.

Students installed reclaimed redwood posts around the interpretive gardens for their service project.

What makes this project special is that the redwood is getting a third life, first as a mighty tree followed by use as ranch fencing, before a third life as fencing around the native gardens at Mangini Ranch.

To install each post, the students first dug a two-foot-deep hole, then set a post into the hole before filling it back with a mixture of dirt and base rock while ensuring the posts were plumb.

The post installation is the first step towards building a more permanent split-rail fence around the gardens.

We appreciate the hard work of all the students to install 27 posts around the two gardens. Thank you Campolindo!

Campolindo high school students at Mangini Ranch for a Conservation Collaboration Agreement

Campolindo students. Photo by Ted Clement

Sixth graders at The Athenian School joined staff at Big Bend to build on the trail going from the parking area to the pond that the Trail Dogs installed last year.

The 52 students added another thick layer of mulch to the trail and used branches already piled on the flood plain to line the trail.

Thank you Athenian!

Join Us!

DiRT day at Curry Canyon Ranch: April 8th, 9 AM -12 PM

Top: staff bucking and chipping fallen trees and branches at Knobcone Point. Photo by Sean Burke

Join us to save the remaining natural lands of Mount Diablo!

Make a Donation