In the urbanized Bay Area, how much of the "wild" do we have? Actually quite a lot. Even within the Bay Area we have a couple of wilderness areas, as well as the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. California has more federally protected wilderness than any other state except Alaska, and over the Bay Chapter’s 90-year history we’ve played a major role in campaigns to preserve our world-renowned wild places and establish the laws that protect our natural heritage.
The shores of San Francisco Bay provide remarkable havens for wildlife adjacent to intensely urban areas. We work to protect and bring long-term ecological restoration to these lands, especially to the wetlands and adjacent uplands, which support great biodiversity, in many instances despite their past uses as industrial areas or landfills.
The Bay Area's rural areas are rich in natural value. We work to protect native species and wildlife habitats from ever-encroaching sprawl. For over a decade one of the Bay Chapter's highest priorities has establishing and enforcing Urban Growth Boundaries to keep development from overwhelming the East Bay's open spaces and agricultural lands. Even after our tremendous victories in 2000 establishing such lines in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, these lines require constant vigilance.
A unique long-term project is the Altamont Open Space Fund, established as the result of a settlement agreement that the Chapter negotiated in 1999, which uses funds raised by a surcharge on landfill dumping fees to help preserve native biodiversity, protect important viewsheds, and acquire land suitable for non-motorized recreation in Eastern Alameda County. A Chapter representative serves on the committee that disburses the funds.
Urban Parks and Natural Areas
The Bay Area probably has the most extensive parks of any metropolitan area. Some of these lands are quite wild, but small open spaces within the cities also support native vegetation and wildlife.
The Bay Chapter’s San Francisco Group makes special efforts to support San Francisco's Natural Areas Program, which preserves and restores remnants of the City's biological communities.
Our Wild America
The Chapter works with the Sierra Club's national Our Wild America campaign to engage an increasingly diverse nation in protecting all sorts of habitat, wild and human. Our Wild America’s work in California includes efforts to protect forests in the Sierra Nevada, protect the California coast, and help local communities connect with and protect nature nearby.
Some call the ocean “the last frontier”. But despite its many mysteries, many underwater species are threatened by pollution, overfishing, and habitat loss. The Bay Chapter supports policies that protect the ocean as a vital ecological and economic resource.
Outings Into the Wild
The Bay Chapter sponsors dozens of outings every month to give you a chance to see and learn about our local wild lands. For a schedule of upcoming events, visit our Activities Calendar.
Read about wilderness and wildlife on our blog.