GWS2015: Field trips

GWS2015 logo

GWS2015 will feature a varied roster of Field Trips: learning opportunities outside the confines of the host hotel.  Trips will be offered on Sunday, March 29, and Friday, April 3.  Below are details of the trips.  Sign-up for the trips will begin when conference registration opens in December.




Sunday, March 29

Explore John Muir National Historic Site and Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial (POSTED MARCH 12 — THIS TRIP IS NOW FULL)

Get an insider's tour of John Muir's home and ranch, including the "scribble den" where many of his most famous writings were penned. Then, take a guided tour of the site of the single greatest loss of life on the home front during WWII,  at Port Chicago, and learn how the aftermath of this disaster led to the desegregation of all branches of the military and the future civil rights movement. (Note: Access to Port Chicago is determined through NPS coordination with the US Army. If the memorial is not accessible, staff will either expand the tour at John Muir NHS or include a trip to Eugene O'Neill NHS in Danville where America's most famous playwright wrote many of his masterpieces.)

Cost: $25 (includes box lunch)

Type of transportation: Bus provided by National Park Service

Departure time from Oakland Marriott: 9:15 am

Arrival time back at Oakland Marriott: 4:45 pm

Participants will depart Oakland on the NPS bus, and will arrive at John Muir National Historic Site by 10:00 am. There will be plenty of time to visit the house, Martinez adobe, and possibly a short hike up Mt. Wanda (named after one of Muir's daughters). Participants will eat lunch at the site, prior to boarding the bus for Port Chicago at 12:30 pm. The tour of the memorial including the historic railcars and revetments will take place from 1-3 pm, returning to John Muir and then Oakland, with a final drop off by 4:45 pm.

IMPORTANT: Access to the Port Chicago memorial requires entry onto an active U.S. Army base.  You must be a US citizen or a permanent US resident with proper identification in order to enter the base.  Participants will be required to submit background information to the NPS a minimum of one week in advance so that the Army can do security checks on everyone.   People who sign up for the trip will be given complete instructions on what to do, but these are the general requirements:

  • Active NPS staff will be allowed onto the base using Dept. of Interior access/smart cards, since staff have already had security checks completed for employment. It is imperative that NPS staff have their cards with them, or they may not be allowed to enter onto the base on the day of the field trip.
  • All others: Government-issued photo ID with full name, address, and date of birth (e.g., driver's license, passport, or other ID card). You will also be asked to provide your phone number.

Lunch arrangements: Participants will be supplied with a box lunch upon boarding at the Marriott

Suggested clothing / gear: Good walking shoes, jacket for rain/wind, hat

Minimum number of participants: 10

Maximum number of participants: 25





Sunday, March 29

University of California Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Museum of Paleontology: Behind the Scenes Tour

Come explore these two extraordinary museums on the UC Berkeley campus and learn about museum engagement in conducting scientific work in national parks and protected areas. Work between the MVZ and national parks extends back to the museums inception in 1908.

Founding Director Joseph Grinnell not only conducted seminal wildlife surveys at Yosemite and Lassen, but his advocacy to preserve these pristine natural areas for scientific research, public appreciation and education was instrumental during the formation of NPS, and his views further permeated the NPS through his students (including George Melendez Wright). We invite you to learn more about this history and tour the collection of nearly 700,000 vertebrate specimens.

The UCMP also has a long history of collaboration with parks, including UCB student projects and efforts to establish parks such as the John Day Fossil Beds NM. Come explore 5 million specimens that range from invertebrate and microfossils, to ancient North American mammal, crocodilian, turtle, and marine reptiles, to massive dinosaurs that once roamed Montana and California. Enjoy this exclusive behind-the-scene's tour and also learn about contemporary work between UCMP and NPS, and see a phytosaur collected by John Muir!

Cost: $10

Type of transportation: Public transport via BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) — see directions below; or transport of your choosing

Departure time from Oakland Marriott: 1:00 pm

Arrival time back at Oakland Marriott: 5:00 pm

This tour starts promptly at 2:00 pm at the west entrance of the Valley Life Science Building (VLSB) on the UC Berkeley Campus. We have space to accommodate two groups of 15 people. The total tour will be two hours with one hour spent in each museum. You will meet the tour guide at the VLSB entrance. Participants may take BART or transportation of their choosing to arrive at the UCB campus by 2:00 pm tour start time.

Lunch arrangements: No lunch involved

Suggested clothing / gear: Good walking shoes

Minimum number of participants: 5

Maximum number of participants: 30

Directions for BART:
Both museums are located in the Valley Life Science Building on the UCB Campus. The 12th Street/Oakland City Center BART Station is immediately adjacent to the Marriott. Take the Richmond Train (Red) and get off at the Downtown Berkeley BART Station, taking the escalator up to the main station entrance/exit at Allston Way & Shattuck Avenue. Walk east on Allston Way three blocks, then go left on Oxford Street. In a couple of blocks you will see the west circle entrance to campus. Walk up this campus entrance past the entrance station to the traffic circle. At the circle take the path to the east and you will see the VLSB on the right. Proceed to the main (north)entrance of VLSB and the group leader will meet you there at 2:00 pm.




Friday, April 3


Fuels Management at the East Bay Regional Parks — Showcasing Tilden Park

The East Bay Regional Park District has been managing hazardous fire fuels in its wildland-urban interface lands for more than 75 years. In 2010, a comprehensive fuels management plan was adopted by the board of directors to guide activities and funding strategies for greater fire protection in the East Bay Hills – a critical area historically impacted by wildfire disasters. The plan recommends sound wildfire hazard reduction methods, while simultaneously protecting ecological, cultural, and aesthetic values within parklands.

Our field trip “Fuels Management at the East Bay Regional Parks: Showcasing Tilden Park” is designed to guide you to see some of our recent fuels management projects in one of the oldest and most popular parks in our system. In an effort to show you the diversity of habitats and difficult wildland fuels conditions, we will be hiking on fire roads and trails where eucalyptus forests have been managed, hand crews have done fuel reduction and prescribed burning, and goat herds have grazed. Be prepared for steep hikes and wonderful views!

Cost: $30 (includes box lunch)

Type of transportation: Mini-coach

Departure time from Oakland Marriott: 8:30 am

Arrival time back at Oakland Marriott: 12:30 pm

9:30 - View Frowning Ridge Fuel Break
10:00am - Lake Anza Parking lot, view park Hills fuel break
10:30am - Inspiraton Point, view Wildcat Canyon fuel break
11:30am - Lunch break at Inspiration Point
12 noon - Depart for Hotel

Lunch arrangements: Box lunch

Suggested clothing / gear: Casual field dress; jeans and sturdy walking shoes/boots. Dress appropriately for hiking and the weather.

Minimum number of participants: 5

Maximum number of participants: 25




Friday, April 3

Presidio Restoration Tour and Heritage Center

The group will begin at Inspiration Point and see the restoration of the rare serpentine grassland with 2 endangered plant species and then walk down the Tennessee Hollow watershed that is being restored to ponds, creeks, wetlands, and eventually a marsh, by removing culverts and remediating landfills. Lunch will be at the new Heritage Center featuring the history of the Presidio, and a Mexican Restaurant. That afternoon we will visit Mountain Lake, which is being remediated and the original aquatic species are being re-introduced with the assistance of 5 research institutions.

Cost: $10 — lunch on your own

Type of transportation: The Presidio will pick up participants from (and return then to) the Marriott in vans

Departure time from Oakland Marriott: 8:00 am

Arrival time back at Oakland Marriott: 5:00 pm

8:00 pick up
9:00 Inspiration Point (rare plant restoration)- walk down watershed (wetland and creek restoration (Lew Stringer, Brett Stevensen, Michael Chasse) and up to Main Post
12:00 Heritage Center - leave at 1:30 - lunch at new Mexican Restaurant (the Arguello) or bring your own.
1:45 Arrive Mountain Lake - view dredging, east arm wetlands restoration, lake restoration (turtles, mussels, fish, frogs) (Jon Young, Terri Thomas, Brian Hildebidle)
3:45 - prepare to leave site and walk back to vans to leave by 4:00
5:00 - back at Marriott

Lunch arrangements: See itinerary, above

Suggested clothing / gear: Casual walking clothes

Minimum number of participants: 12

Maximum number of participants: 24




Friday, April 3

Redwood Creek Watershed: Restoration and Collaboration (POSTED FEB 11: THIS TRIP IS NOW FULL)

The Redwood Creek Watershed, in southern Marin County, extends from the peak of Mt. Tamalpais through Muir Woods National Monument to the Pacific Ocean at Muir Beach. The watershed has outstanding natural resource values since it is almost entirely owned and managed by three public agencies: the National Park Service, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and the Marin Municipal Water District.

This field trip will wind through much of the watershed to highlight examples of both ecological restoration and innovative partnership to meet goals on a watershed scale. We will visit Muir Beach, where the lower half-mile of Redwood Creek, its floodplain and dune system have been restored in a manner that also accommodates its 450,000 annual visitors. We will visit Muir Woods to enjoy the redwood forest, see the habitat where federally listed coho salmon spawn, and learn details about resource management in one of San Francisco’s most popular visitor destinations.

Throughout the tour of the watershed, we will highlight the many ways in which the recently formed State Parks Collaborative has brought together California State Parks, the National Park Service, and the non-profit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to get things done. This innovative Collaborative has brought a watershed identity to public land management and achieved a broad set of projects for trails, signage, invasive plant management, mapping, and coho protection.

Cost: $10 — lunch on your own

Type of transportation: NPS and the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy will provide vans

Departure time from Oakland Marriott: 9:00 am

Arrival time back at Oakland Marriott: 4:30 am

10 AM - Arrive at Muir Beach (restrooms available). Tour the site of the Redwood Creek Restoration at Muir Beach, with creek, riparian, wetland and dune components, as well as trail and other visitor access enhancements.
11:30 Depart Muir Beach. One brief stop in the mid-watershed area to discuss trail management and work by the State Parks Collaborative.
12:30-1:30 - Lunch at Muir Woods concession. (Participants purchase their own lunch). A variety of organic sandwiches, salads, and soups are available. Eat on the concession deck in the redwoods.
1:30 -3:30 - Walk Muir Woods. Discussion of management approaches and work and examples of the State Parks Collaborative projects.

Lunch arrangements: On own at Muir Woods concession.  See itinerary, above.

Suggested clothing / gear: Good walking shoes. Jackets and layers. Water (no water available at Muir Beach).

Minimum number of participants: 10

Maximum number of participants: 22





Friday, April 3

Point Reyes National Seashore: Managing a Land in Motion (POSTED MAR 18: THIS TRIP IS NOW FULL)

Participants will be touring the Point Reyes Ranching districts, which is are the focus of a comprehensive management plan to be completed in late 2015. The district is home to two dozen ranching families, many whose tenure dates to the mid-1800's, over 75 threatened, endangered and species of concern, and is the tribal homeland of the Coast Miwok people. It has been described as a crucible in which we are forging some new thinking about ranching and resource management in a National Park

Cost: $50; lunch on your own

Type of transportation: Mini-coach

Departure time from Oakland Marriott: 8:30 am

Arrival time back at Oakland Marriott: 4:30 am

The tour will begin at the Seashore's Bear Valley Headquarters in Olema at 10:00a. From there we will venture out into the park, returning at 3:00p. We will stop at a nearby deli to pick up lunches, which we will eat along the way.
Lunch arrangements: Participants will get lunch on their own

Lunch arrangements: On own at deli.  See itinerary, above.

Suggested clothing / gear: Layers - can be windy and foggy

Minimum number of participants: 15

Maximum number of participants: 25




Friday, April 3

Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park

This relatively new national park was established in 2000 to preserve historic World War II resources in Richmond, and to interpret the stories and places of our nation’s home front response to the war. The deep-water port, rail connections, and the presence of industrialist Henry Kaiser, made Richmond a natural site for four massive shipyards and 56 other war-related industries.  The wartime migration of workers quadrupled the population of Richmond and overwhelmed the city’s transportation, housing, education and public health services.  The resulting stories of those who lived and worked in Richmond, and of the solutions developed for housing, health care and child care are told through exhibits, films and artifacts in the new Visitor Education Center on the Richmond waterfront.  Particular emphasis is given to the story of the millions of women and people of color who entered the U.S. workforce during the war.

Cost: See next item.

Type of transportation: 

Option 1:  Public transportation from Oakland City Center to Richmond via BART (24 min.). Transfer at Richmond BART station to AC Transit bus #74. Off board at Ford Point. Walk east  200 yards along the water, around the front of the Ford Building to Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center. COST: $20

Option 2:  Bicycle on the Eastshore State Park trail along the San Francisco Bay from the Berkeley Marina to Rosie the Riveter (7 miles one way).  Eastshore State Park ( encompasses remnant natural marshlands, restored wetlands, and fill moved much of the park’s shoreline 1000 feet west of its historic location. Rental bikes will be obtained from a bike store in Berkeley.  Participants will get to/from the bike shop via a 20 minute bus ride (AC Transit #72) from Oakland City Center. Those who sign up to bike will have the default option of travelling by BART/bus if the weather isn’t suitable for cycling. COST: $40 (POSTED Mar 16: The bike option has been canceled.  The field trip is still using the BART/bus option.)

Departure time from Oakland Marriott: 10 am

Arrival time back at Oakland Marriott: 4:30 pm

Possible Activities:

Self-guided tour of exhibits: Take approximately 45 minutes to tour 8000 square feet of newly installed exhibits that highlight various aspects of the WWII home front.

Two Orientation Films:

1)    Home Front Heroes (plays on the ½ hour) 16 minutes: Film focuses on the local Richmond stories.

2)    The War at Home (plays on the hour) 25 minutes Overview of national response to WWII in America.

Meet some ‘Real Rosies’:  10:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Volunteer docents who worked in the Kaiser Shipyards are available to the public to answer questions, and give short presentations about their lives and work in Richmond during WWII.


Ranger Betty Soskin: 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Nationally famous park ranger Betty Soskin gives a presentation about her experiences working as a young African American woman in Richmond during WWII.

Lunch arrangements: On own at Assemble Restaurant adjacent to Visitor Education Center. Other options are available within ¼ mile.   (Reservations recommended at Assemble, since it’s crowded at lunch time.   Phone:  510-215-6025.)

Suggested clothing / gear: Shoes suitable for walking and/or cycling. Jacket suitable for wind or rain.

Minimum number of participants: 2

Maximum number of participants: 25