Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fall on the Watershed: Explore the Ridge Trail

Almost any time is good for hiking or cycling the Peninsula Watershed’s Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail. 

Old-growth Douglas fir known as "Old Doug"
But our crisp, clear fall days can make for a particularly exhilarating hike or bike ride along part—or all—of the approximately 11-mile stretch through old-growth conifer forest, fragrant coastal scrub, grassy serpentine ridge tops, and other native habitats.

Public access is available by reservation on selected Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with scheduled Ridge Trail events ranging from easy strolls to fitness hikes or rides. All of them are led by trained trail leader volunteers, and are limited to about 20 participants.  
View of Pilarcitos Reservoir. 

Check out what’s coming up at

Friday, October 5, 2018

Life on the Watershed: Young Western Pond Turtles on the Move

Fall is the time of year when tiny Western pond turtle hatchlings are making their way from warm sandy nests--where they've incubated and hatched on their own--to their permanent reservoir home. The mother left months ago after laying her eggs in early summer, but every year's young instinctively know where to go.

The 36-square-mile Peninsula Watershed is home to an abundance of native plant and wildlife species, including this vulnerable amphibian. Western pond turtles can live for up to 50 years in the wild, but this year's hatchlings won't be ready themselves to breed for another six years or so.   

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

San Andreas Trail Reopens--with New Paving over Rough Spots

The San Andreas Trail is open again, and the rough spots where pipeline repairs were made earlier this year are now repaved. Thank you again to our trail walkers, runners and cyclists for your patience and understanding.

Friday, September 14, 2018

San Andreas Trail Closure Continues through September 23

The San Andreas Trail will reopen late Friday afternoon, September 14, for weekend use, and then close again Sunday evening, September 16, for one more week for emergency tree work by PG&E. It will remain closed the weekend of September 22-23 for repaving of two recent pipe repair locations. 

Cyclists, please continue to use alternate routes throughout the week of September 17.

This approximately two-mile segment of paved trail is between Larkspur Drive, Millbrae and San Bruno Avenue.

For schedule changes or updates, please visit the San Mateo County Parks website at 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fire Protection on the Watershed: Fuel Breaks Under Way

Fear of fire seems to be all around these days (understandably) —especially if you live along or near typical California grassland.

On the Peninsula Watershed weed control goes on throughout the spring, summer and early to mid- fall months to protect land, our native habitats and the diverse plant and animal life they support from destruction by fire. 

With the initial mowing plus trimming now done, we’re working our way, where needed, along property edges and turning the ground by mechanical “disking.” It exposes a wide stretch of bare mineral soil that works as a fuel break to slow and stop any potential fire.

Normally we launch the first phases of weed control early in the spring, as soon as the ground is dry enough to support the weighty tractor mower. Crews also come back to certain spots a week or so later with hand-operated trimmers and other tools to cut away the growth that mowers can’t get to along fence lines and around valves or other structures.

It all started later than usual this year because the heavy rains that lasted through late March saturated the ground into April and May, stalling our equipment in the mud. Subsequent stages, including the fuel breaks, were delayed too.

But if we usually dig an annual fuel break near you and our crews haven’t been by yet, they’re on the way!      

Friday, August 31, 2018

San Andreas Trail Closure from Monday Evening, Sept. 3 Thru Friday, Sept. 14

The San Andreas Trail, from San Bruno Avenue to Larkspur Drive, will be closed from Monday evening, September 3, through Friday evening, September 14 for emergency tree work by PG&E.  The trail will reopen on Saturday morning, September 15.

Cyclists, please use alternate routes during this period. 

For schedule changes or updates, please visit the San Mateo County website at

The two-mile paved trail bordering the San Andreas Reservoir is the northernmost part of the three-segment Crystal Springs Trail.   

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Summertime, and the Living Isn’t Necessarily Easy Out There. Still . . .

. . . "The Watershed is full of babies at this time of year."  

So says Watershed Keeper Sarah Lenz. There are fawns, downy baby quail, bald eagle chicks, small fox cubs, and more, all venturing toward independence from their parents and life on their own—in the watershed or elsewhere. Here are a couple of images of this year’s new young residents.

The bald eaglets will be flying and hunting in and near their watershed birthplace for the next several months before they move on. They'll keep that dark brownish mottled color for the next few years before they acquire the adult’s distinctive white head. This is the sixth year in a row that the breeding adult pair has nested and reproduced on the watershed.  

Here, a  gray fox pup explores the tall grassland. These solitary nocturnal animals are the only wild canine species in the U.S. that can climb trees. During the day, they tend to keep to tree hollows or other other secretive spots. So any sighting  is lucky, especially a view of the babies.   

Thanks to Sarah for sharing her look with us. 

The Peninsula Watershed is home to more than 50 different mammals and 165 bird species as well as amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and other organisms that thrive on the 23,000 acres of long-protected and diverse native habitat.