Hikes in this year's lineup are scheduled to kick off near Livermore and Alamo in the coming weeks, in addition to rock climbing opportunities in Danville.
"We wanted to be able to offer a variety of different events for different communities, so we wanted to be able to offer not just hiking," said Laura Kindsvater, communications manager for Save Mount Diablo.
In addition to hiking and rock climbing, the 2023 lineup consists of a total of 36 events ranging from plein air painting, meditation walks and trail running, along with the addition of a second day for the popular tarantula walk in the fall, with expanded options this year in response to increased demand.
Kindsvater said that while the specific locations and activities were chosen by the nonprofit conservation group's staff and volunteers, the overall mission of all of the activities was shared with that of Save Mount Diablo's broader vision.
"When people enjoy nature, when they have the opportunity to connect with nature, then they have more will and more interest in taking care of nature," Kindsvater said. "What we love we take care of."
Ted Clement, the organization's executive director, emphasized the ways in which opportunities to connect with nature particularly serve to build a sense of place and community on a local level.
"It is the goal of the Discover Diablo program to build connections between people, Save Mount Diablo, and the land, helping our communities develop a strong sense of place and a deepened appreciation for our collective backyard," Clement said in a statement. "Most importantly, we want to cultivate a love of the land in participants, as that is what it will take to ensure the precious Mount Diablo natural area is taken care of for generations to come."
With Save Mount Diablo's origins dating back to more than half a century, and its success in expanding conservation efforts on and around the mountain, Kindsvater noted that the organization has already invested work in efforts that have paid off for the current generation of Bay Area residents.
"Mount Diablo is a really beautiful place," Kindsvater said. "It's a refuge for millions of people. When Save Mount Diablo started its work in 1971 it was just one park on Mount Diablo and a little less than 7,000 square feet in size, but because of the work Save Mount Diablo has done over the last 50 years now we have more than 120 acres."
While wet weather led to the cancellation of one of the first events of the season, a hike at Shell Ridge Open Space proceeded as planned at the start of this season's programming on Jan. 21. The canceled hike at Two Ridges and Creek was rescheduled for last weekend.
The next two events -- both scheduled for Tri-Valley locations -- are set for Feb. 25. A guided hike along Bob Walker Ridge is set to commence from 9401 Morgan Territory Road in Livermore at 9 a.m. with the loop trail offering views of the expansive East Bay Regional Park District preserve, along with the peak of Mount Diablo and portions of the Sacramento river.
The San Ramon Valley will also be home to a concurrent Discover Diablo event, with a belay rock climbing course kicking off at 9 a.m. on the western side of the mountain from the Rock City Parking Lot at South Gate Road in Danville.
The event will consist of training for beginning rock climbers on equipment, knots and best practices for partnered climbing on the mountain's Boy Scout Rocks.
While both upcoming events are fully booked, Kindsvater said to keep an eye out for openings, which often become available after last-minute cancellations starting about one week before events. She noted that with limited spaces for the free programming, events generally book up fast, with organizers opening registration for 60 days ahead of each event rather than the full season. Registration is first-come, first-served.
Near the beginning of spring, the next Tri-Valley event in the series is set for the Macedo Ranch Staging Area starting at 9 a.m. at 3756 Green Valley Road in Alamo on March 25, with a six-mile hike along the mountain's southeastern slopes offering views of the San Ramon Valley throughout grasslands and woods.
In October, organizers will return to Danville for another perspective on rocks in the area -- a talk and hands-on tour of the mountain's geologic history, "Rocks on the Move" at the Rock City parking lot.
Hikers interested in experiencing Bob Walker Ridge will have another opportunity in November, with an easy to moderate four-mile hike set to offer views of the mountain's eastern side and Blue Oak woodlands.
In addition to the Tri-Valley activities, the expanded Discover Diablo lineup for the current year consists of a range of other opportunities on the more than 100,000 acres of protected land on and around the mountain, including Mount Diablo State Park, EBRPD, Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation, Stanislaus County and National Park Service property.
More information and registration for all the free Discover Diablo events are available at savemountdiablo.org.
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