The Bay Area’s rainy season is quite long and strong this time, but it doesn’t stop us from hiking in nature. In addition to paved trails like Stevens Creek Trail in Blackberry Farm and Mora Trail in Rancho San Antonio Preserve, we also hiked on “organic” trails like Sanborn Trail, Madrone Trail, and Peterson Trail located in Sanborn County Park. Seeing the light shining through the foggy forest was one of the most memorable moments during our winter hikes. All year around, Sanborn offers nature lovers many fun activities. For those who love mountain biking, John Nicholas Trail is a great choice, as we shared in our 2020 article. In spring and summer, many come to enjoy camping and picnicking, outdoor Shakespeare, and YSI (Youth Science Institute) science and nature center and hands-on programs. 

During our recent hike at Sanborn, we had fun hiking around fallen trees, climbing above or under fallen trees depending on their dimensions, and balancing on rocks to cross a small creek overflowing on the trail. Of course, we followed the “Hike Smart” safety tips and stayed alert with all our senses during the entire hike. 

We remember the tragedy that happened in March 2023, when a boy scout’s mother was killed by a falling tree on Stephen E. Abbors Trail (PG&E trail) in Rancho San Antonio Preserve, “the first incident of its kind in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s 50-year history.” Checking carefully around while we hiked along the trees, we noticed some trees have white paints on their “wounds”. These are the traces of forest maintenance work. Sanborn County Park’s website highlights three notices on the top, two related to their Forest Health Plan Project. Indeed, forests need maintenance just like our gardens.

“Forest Health Plans were first developed in response to an increase in tree disease spread and tree failures at Mount Madonna Park in the early 2000s, leading to the removal of hundreds of affected trees. As the largest forested park, Mount Madonna was the first park to receive a completed Forest Health Plan in 2018. As of 2022, Natural Resource Management staff are working on completing a Forest Health Plan for Sanborn and Upper Stevens Creek County Parks.  Like Mount Madonna County Park, Sanborn and Upper Stevens Creek County Parks have had an increase in forest pests and disease in many of the camping and picnic areas of the park, including the presence of Sudden Oak Death. The development of a Forest Health Plan for these parks will guide management activities to improve forest health and resiliency to climate change, drought, and wildfire.”

Santa Clara County Parks

These forest health plans are being developed and implemented. If you would like to get involved, you may sign up to participate in their upcoming public event for volunteers from 9am to 1pm on March 16, or check out many other volunteer opportunities that they offer to anyone who wants to improve the health of the forest in the area, at the same time, enjoy outdoor exercises with their community together in nature. We’d love to hear your experiences if you volunteer for the Forest Health Plans. Thanks to the park rangers and all the volunteers for taking good care of the forest.