Those of you who visit here at the Crossroads regularly may recall reading my series on “Healing By the Bay” – in which I describe my experiences while trekking down to Kirby Cove with my friend and ecopsychologist, Ginny Anderson.
Kirby Cove is one of seven Sacred Sites around the Bay Area which Ginny describes in her book – Circling San Francisco Bay. In this book, she takes you to these seven places of power, and describes how you can use them to explore your own connection to the web of life.
Having experienced the healing powers of the Cove, I was now continuing my own circle of the Bay by visiting another of the sites – San Bruno Mountain.
San Bruno Mountain is situated in northern San Mateo County, adjacent to the southern boundary of San Francisco. It is the northernmost point of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and stands as a landmark of regional significance; a unique open-space island in the midst of the San Francisco Peninsula’s urbanization.
The mountain is home to a number of rare and endangered species of plants and animals… including the beautiful Mission Blue Butterfly
the San Francisco Garter Snake
and the Diablo Rock Rose.
San Bruno Mountain is also at the heart of on-going efforts to protect and preserve this fragile ecosystem, as the largest and richest remaining example of the native Franciscan bioregion. As the mountain and its surrounding grasslands is threatened by encroaching development, thus is the habitat of species such as those above also threatened. As Ken McIntire explains
San Bruno Mountain is the last remnant of the Franciscan ecosystem that once covered the northern peninsula, so it holds the keys to the region’s biological past. It is still a large enough area that many of the rare or endangered species there still have a chance for long term survival, providing that lands are added and protected, not subtracted, from San Bruno Mountain.
~ Ken McIntire
Ken is the Executive Director of the San Bruno Mountain Watch Conservancy, a non-profit organization established to preserve San Bruno Mountain in perpetuity. The organization is also dedicated to preserving the Native American village sites on the mountain. In order to fulfill this mission, San Bruno Mountain Watch has four program areas:
1. Advocacy. San Bruno Mountain Watch organizes citizens to speak up on issues that affect the preservation of the mountain. Often this involves attending city or county civic meetings where policies affecting the mountain are decided. Sometimes the organization finds it necessary to oppose planned actions through legal means. In such cases, they work to generate community support for such actions.
2. Education. The organization educates the public about how important it is to save the mountain. This usually starts with hikes that show people the beautiful habitats there, and the delicate relationships among the components of the ecosystem. Members talk about the history of the mountain, the treats to it, and how they are working to save it. San Bruno Mountain Watch has taken thousands of adults and children on hikes, given many slideshows and presentations, and hosted a table at community fairs.
3. Stewardship. The organization also leads weekly habitat restoration outings with the goal of preserving the native habitats and rooting out invasive species. This program is crucial to protecting the three endangered butterfly species on the mountain.
4. Land Acquisition. San Bruno Mountain Watch intends to preserve as much of the mountain as possible. There are many parcels in private hands that they believe should not be developed, but saved as open space instead. The organization was able to save the largest undisturbed shell mound left around the bay and get it added to the county park, and plans to do much more of this work in the future.
It only took one visit to the mountain for me to recognize how important the San Bruno Mountain Watch Conservancy and its efforts really are. This is a truly beautiful site… and indeed quite sacred. We cannot afford to lose the gifts it has to offer us to encroaching development.
please click on the above graphic to go to the
San Bruno Mountain Watch Conservancy Website
show your support for this important organization!
San Bruno Mountain is a treasure hiding in plain sight. We love to introduce people to the mountain and share some of its secrets. Many people come out of curiosity and end up falling in love with the mountain, and join us for stewardship outings and solstice gatherings. Please join us for a hike.
~ Ken McIntire
San Bruno Mountain Watch Conservancy
If you would be interested in attending a Deaf-friendly hike on San Bruno Mountain, please send an email to Ocean at firstname.lastname@example.org