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Council members get close to Palo Alto baylands

Original post made on Aug 11, 2010

City Couoncilman Greg Schmid prepares to dig in for a paddle stroke during a recent tour of the baylands. Two council members who were recently given a canoe-paddler's eye-view of Palo Alto baylands waterways and sloughs say they would like the city to find ways to share the experience with more people. Two other council members took such a tour in May. ==B Photo courtesy City of Palo Alto staff. ==

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 12:33 AM

Comments (26)

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Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 8:21 am

Good going Gail and Greg. We need more residents to be aware of our local environment, and this is a great way to illustrate our connection, and to call attention to our impact on the Bay.

Perhaps the next step would be to lead some classes on composting, or choice of foods, as it is a fact that the opportunity for real environmental improvements for Palo Alto is in the cummulative actions of the residents.

This potential outweighs any of the expensive high-tech proposals that are in the works. Behavior changes in disposal practices, composting, food choice, and transportation choices even outweigh the positive impact of the City's Green Engergy efforts.

I hope other Council members will join Greg and Gail in harnessing the potential of Citizen Participation in helping residents make greener choices.

A sincere salute to a symbolic but important effort. Thank you Gail and Greg.

Timothy Gray


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 8:33 am

Sounds like a fun thing to do on a summer day. Can someone take me on their kayak around the Baylands? I would enjoy a guided tour by someone who knows how to get around in a kayak and can point out to me all the sights. Perhaps this should be a good business opportunity for qualified kayakers?

What a wonderful idea.


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Posted by walker
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 9:28 am

You don't need a canoe to enjoy the Baylands. There are dirt roads along the levies that are open to walkers and bicyclists. This time of year, the marshes are full of egrets, herons, pelicans, and lot of other birds that I can't identify.

If you need to drive there, you can find parking lots on San Antonio Road, Embarcadero Road (near the recycling center), and Geng Road. Or it is an easy bike ride from anywhere in Palo Alto.

If you were wondering what the people in the Gulf of Mexico are putting up with these days, imagine the marshes covered with an inch of BP crude oil and all the birds were dead.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:58 am

I have been round the Baylands numerous times on my own and have been on a couple of docent lead tours too. Don't get me wrong.

I think the novelty of being taken in a kayak would be lots of fun. If our council can have a fun outing in a kayak, it should be a fun outing for anyone.


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Posted by council watcher
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:07 am

Notice how the council members did not forget to let the PA Weekly know so that they could have a nice Photo-op (look our council members care about the Baylands). Never let it be said that our council passes by an opportunity for self-promotion and back-slapping.


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Posted by walker
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

You can probably rent a canoe somewhere and take yourself on a tour. There's no surf in the Baylands, so you're not likely to flip the thing.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Damn shame our Council lied their way to closing our yacht harbor. These displaced were not Kerry sized yachts; the majority were El Toros, little 8' sailing dingys. A good summer evening would see swarms of these little jewels skittering around the bay, learning about the bay. Rumor has it that the pressure to close South Bay marinas came from boater complaints about raw sewerage spills. This was followed by stealing the Sea Scout building from hem as the final reneging on the promise to make new accommodation for Sea Scouts. Word is that San Jose is considering re-opening the Alviso Marina, atoning for the corrupt election that took self rule away from a proud, independent community.


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Posted by none
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:35 am

note: article indicates tour opportunities

Guided canoe trips are available to the public during the summer at 650-617-3156 for a $42 fee, with pre-registration and some basic canoeing experience required.

@ Council Watcher
Council members did not alert the press. This tour was coordinated by the staff at the Water Quality Control Plant that are responsible for programs that lessen the pollution impacts on the Bay. It is important that the Council be educated so they can make informed decisions on issues pertaining to the Bay and City programs. The City alerts the media because it is a good photo op, interesting story and serves the purpose of getting information out to the public on issues pertaining to the Bay.


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Posted by council watcher
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:57 am

"The City alerts the media because it is a good photo op, interesting story and serves the purpose of getting information out to the public on issues pertaining to the Bay. "

6 of one, half a dozen of another--the council called the paper/the city called the paper--as you say--it is a good photo-op--I rest myc ase


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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm

A better and more relevant tour:

The grounds of the former ROMIC plant.... and how to mitigate the pollution caused by the site...

They can follow up with all expense paid ( by your tax $$$ ) tour of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal site and Rocky Flats site.....

Now if they survive those tours, the council will have a REALITY CHECK on what the South Bay actually needs.....

Like a complete overhaul of Cooley Landing...


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Posted by Michele
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Please be careful if you decide to rent a canoe or kayak and just take off by yourself. The Palo Alto Yacht Harbor is a mud flat at low tide and around low tide. Any boat trips out of there have to be timed with the tides. You don't want to get stuck in the mud.


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Posted by Mara
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I'm glad they did the tour. There are many issues that should be addressed to keep things in check out there. Months ago there was a city film festival on green topics. I still remember one of the entries by a middle school student where near the end there were views of plastic trash in the baylands and creek. Just found the link.

Web Link


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

As with harbors all over the world the Yacht Harbor was effectively and inexpensively dredged. The cost of one City Color
coordinator would have kept the channel open for several years.
Cooley Landing also needs rehabilitation. Perhaps some stimulus money?


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Posted by Will
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Walter,

The harbor was doomed as soon as they channelled/moved San Francisquito Creek to put the airport in. The creek use to naturally dredge the harbor with only the supplimental mechanical dredging to keep the deep channel open.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Our Baylands is an awesome place that would really be great if it were not for the space and noise used by the airport.

The Baylands has fallen into disrepair, but it could be such a moneymaker for the city. Why couldn't we have busses that go out there and drop people from the three main arteries Oregon, Embarcadero and University?

One thing that might really be nice is to research why the Palo Alto sewage treatment plant stinks so much more than other treatment plants and upgrade it so it is not a total disgrace to the city.

Palo Alto could be even nicer than Mountain View, and Mountain View and Shoreline and its Steven's Creek Trail is really fantastic.

Thanks Will .... I never realized the harbor was cut by the SF Creek, and that is another f-up from the GD'ed noisy and dangerous airport.

I was just there the other day showing some friends arounda and walked by the old boat launch out by the big parking lot ... that whole area is now full of mud right up to the top inches of what used to be the place to launch boats.

What a bunch of useless city government people to push the environment out of the way and shove that airport on everyone just for the rich folks.

The people who manage and plan our city have not done one right thing since the 70's.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

The other sad thing is that the old boardwalks to service and repair the electrical towers are not accessible to folks anymore. I remember walking out way out along those paths out into the bay and really enjoying the view and the hikes out there.

And the boardwalks from the Interpretive Center are another mess that used to be fun. Not they are unlevel, and a real disgrace. Lots of people go out there ... so why? Why are the people who live here just ignored for the sake of some kind of global elite financial jerks who want to be big shots? I really makes me mad.

And if you have to use the restroom you are out of luck most of the time. The place is a mess ... and I have complained about it over and over. The "contractors" they have working out at the Bay do not do anything, or if they do they do a terrible job, and when they are driving they park anywhere, and if out on the trails they drive too fast and kick up all kinds of dust.

This place need someone who cares about it, and the people of Palo Alto to kick these people in the butts and get the place in shape ... but then again ... the whole city needs that.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

How about a contract with the Sea Scouts to manage bay access. As I said, harbors all over the world are dredged.


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Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 9:45 pm

"Two City Council members who were recently given a canoe-paddler's eye-view of Palo Alto baylands waterways and sloughs say they would like the city to find ways to share the experience with more people."

"Guided canoe trips are available to the public during the summer at 650-617-3156 for a $42 fee, with pre-registration and some basic canoeing experience required."

These two quotes are from the PAW's article above. It seems to me that the City Council members didn't ask their guides about the public's access to guided canoe trips--those trips are already available!

In addition, I can't help wondering if the City Council isn't exploring another way of making money for Palo Alto's often misguided government to mis-spend. They got nowhere in trying that with Foothills Park, so now they're trying the Baylands.

How about City Hall marketing Palo Alto ("hot") air and earth, in little vials for tourists visiting this destination city?!

Cynical, I know . . .


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Posted by Jan
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I think we should keep the Baylands for educational outings, and canoeing and kayaks. Don't know if there is enough air flow and space for some little sail boats. But for sure we need marshes and areas for creatures that like marshes and to keep birds etc.


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Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm

As an avid bird-watcher, I use our majestic bay lands frequently. I would love to go canoeing there, too. Great information. Thanks for the lovely look at our wonderful wetlands.


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Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:41 pm

"The Baylands has fallen into disrepair, but it could be such a moneymaker for the city. Why couldn't we have busses that go out there and drop people from the three main arteries Oregon, Embarcadero and University?"--Anon (above).

This is exactly what I worry about--that this would destroy the habitat of a lot of rare creatures out there. Look at what eco-tourism is doing to the Galapagos.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:12 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

There is a long history of sailing in the South bay. I trust the Bay far more in the hands of recreational users than in the hands of the folk who "improved it" with garbage mountains. It was a recreational boater who first told me in 1949 about the cesspool the Bay had become. I consider "Protecting" public lands against wise use by the public to be the ultimate arrogance.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:35 am

Anon says: "Why couldn't we have buses that go out there and drop people from the three main arteries Oregon, Embarcadero and University?'

If you haven't noticed the cross town shuttle bus runs empty now. If you want to see empty buses, run some out to the Baylands!!! Do you know how much it costs the City to run those empty buses across town?

I say: No more tax dollars for empty running buses.

If you really want to destroy the Baylands how about installing an anoerobic digestion plant on Byxbee Park.


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Posted by donhwd
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

The Embarcadero shuttle ends at the Harbor which makes it almost usable to get to the Baylands, but not. If that route could be extended, even on a per need basis, I'd definitely use it often.


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Posted by Impartial
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I applaud them for looking at the district in which they serve. Palo Alto Council Members, as a rule, never leave their City Hall ivory tower to fact check.

As council watcher points out: it's only for a photo op. So they have no clear idea of what in the city needs attention, causing them to make uninformed statements and voting without wisdom.

Whomever arranged for this, I thank. At least two members took advantage of the opportunity, leaving their seats to become informed, should they ever have to speak or vote about it.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm


.... some people ? ....

Our Baylands, lovely as it is, is not Galapagos Island ... and never will be.

I am not saying run empty busses around town, but if we can get rid of the airport and put some recreational or educational buisness out there we could give people who wanted to go a way to do it without generating lots of traffic and pollution.

Redwood City used to have some places ... I'm thinking of the old Charlie Brown's restaurant out by the bay. It was really spectacular and nice and now that whole area seems closed down.

Palo Alto could be just as nice and we could do it without ruining the environment ... pretty much it would be better, because right now it is a mess.

People go out running at night even now along the paths through the marshes ... it would be nice to keep that maintained and pleasant ... maybe a restroom out there or something, some more benches for people.

The vast majority of this area is scenic and people don't go tromping through it at all except on th raised paths out there. Wildlife can be seen, but not easily interfered with.


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