Park Happenings for November

News from the East Bay Regional Park District

November 7, 2023

(Please feel free to use excerpts and request photos)

The East Bay Regional Park District is leading the way in wildfire protection for the community with innovative solutions to address wildfire risks. At Anthony Chabot Regional Park, a first-of-its-kind, large-scale fuels reduction project is underway using a climate-friendly carbonator to dispose of vegetation. The carbonator, a Tigercat 6050, burns organic matter at very high temperatures (about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit) and with very little oxygen. The process, called pyrolysis, produces very low emissions, especially compared to conventional disposal methods of open pile burning or transporting long distances off-site in diesel trucks. The resulting biochar is being used throughout the Park District to enhance soil health, improve water retention, and increase crop productivity, including at the Park District’s Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont. State, federal, and District funding are being used for the fuels management project at Anthony Chabot Regional Park.

The innovative use of the carbonator for fuels reduction projects is being seen as a model statewide as well as nationally. The Park District’s leadership team, firefighters, scientists, park rangers, and dedicated staff across departments continue to focus on wildfire mitigation strategies and large-scale fuels management projects, all while seeking new partnerships and ways to protect the community. For more info, visit www.ebparks.org/sites/default/files/carbonator-feature-article.pdf 


November marks Native American Heritage Month, a time for us to honor and celebrate the past, present, and future of the vibrant Indigenous communities that have called the land now known as the East Bay home since time immemorial. In November and throughout the year, the East Bay Regional Park District recognizes enduring Indigenous traditions and Native Peoples’ role as the original stewards of this region's ecosystems. To learn more about California Native peoples, visit www.ebparks.org/we-celebrate/native-american-heritage-month.


FREE park entrance for active, retired, and former military on Veterans Day – Saturday, November 11. The East Bay Regional Park District honors veterans with free access and parking on Veterans Day at Regional Parks, including Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont. The fee waiver covers parking and park entry but does not include dog fees, boat launch or inspection fees, fishing permits, or concessions, such as the Tilden Merry-Go-Round and Redwood Valley Railway steam train.


Celebrate Green Friday, November 24, with a FREE Park Day. Green Friday at the Park District provides healthy and fun ways to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving with family and friends. On Green Friday, all entrance activity fees are waived in Regional Parks, including parking, dogs, horses, boat launching, and fishing, as well as entrance to Ardenwood Historic Farm. The fee waiver does not include state fees for fishing licenses and watercraft inspections or concessions, such as the Tilden Merry-Go-Round and Redwood Valley Railway steam train. To learn more, visit www.ebparks.org/we-celebrate/green-friday.


For years, Ardenwood Historic Farm’s eucalyptus groves have been the site of a rare and exciting natural phenomenon – the annual gathering of monarch butterflies. From late October to February, a few hundred to several thousand monarchs typically form dense clusters in the trees and, on sunny afternoons, fly around looking for nectar.

Lately, it has become challenging to predict whether the monarchs will return to Ardenwood. Dramatic variations in winter temperatures, combined with extended drought and habitat loss, have resulted in very few monarchs present at the farm over the past three winters.

While many typical monarch gathering sites in the state saw few to no monarchs last winter, volunteers at other locations across California were surprised by unusually high numbers – the highest total since the 2000 season according to Western Monarch Count, a community science program through the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. This news was a great relief to monarch enthusiasts throughout the state who feared the monarch was on the road to extinction.

To learn more, consider attending a naturalist-led monarch program at Ardenwood. For more information, visit www.ebparks.org/calendar and search for “monarchs.”


The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the nation, comprising 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and over 1,300 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and environmental education. The Park District receives more than 25 million visits annually throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.