Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

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A dedicated group of outdoor lovers and trail planners is working to build a 500-mile biking and hiking trail along the entire shoreline of San Francisco and San Pablo bays. 

The San Francisco Bay Trail project was started in the 1980s to build a "ring around the Bay." The project has been compared to the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail in that it connects the communities along the way.  But the Bay Trail is unique because it circles a body of water and does so in a major metropolitan area.

Some 310 miles of the San Francisco Bay Trail have been completed as of this summer, and it turns out that Richmond is the city with the most miles of trail so far: 30. It makes sense if you think that Richmond is the city with the longest shoreline in the Bay Area. The city has also been lucky enough to have a group of volunteers who in the late 1990s created the Trails for Richmond Action Committee with the goal to finish the Bay Trail in that city.  They have 11 miles left to go.

Our video takes you on a journey along several sections of the Bay Trail in Richmond. We start out bird-watching at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline, then ride to the wetlands north of Pt. Isabel Regional Shoreline, and end up at the newest section of the Bay Trail, which circles a former landfill off the Richmond Parkway.

In our video, we wanted to somehow recreate the experience of watching the scenery change as you move along the Bay Trail.  So we asked Bay Trail project manager Laura Thompson to ride her bicycle as we interviewed her, and we came up with our own low-tech "dolly" so that we could film her as we rode alongside.  Check out the photos: