News Briefs: CA parks kickoff 2023 with special hikes

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday December 28, 2022
Share this Post:
California State Parks are once again kicking off the New Year with First Day Hike offerings at various sites across the state, such as at Calaveras Big Trees State Park northeast of Stockton. Photo: Courtesy California State Parks
California State Parks are once again kicking off the New Year with First Day Hike offerings at various sites across the state, such as at Calaveras Big Trees State Park northeast of Stockton. Photo: Courtesy California State Parks

California State Parks officials invite residents to welcome in 2023 by taking part in the agency's annual First Day Hike offerings. The national program encourages people to get out and enjoy the outdoors with unique hikes and other activities each January 1.

On Sunday 50 of the state's parks will be participating and offering guided hikes that day. The distance and rigor will vary per hike or activity, with such details as start times, meeting locations, day-use pass costs, and descriptions of the various hikes listed at the event's webpage.

In the Bay Area a morning hike of three miles lasting roughly three hours will take place at Olompali State Historic Park in Novato, while Mount Tamalpais State Park is offering a 3.2 mile-long afternoon hike that will trek through its various habitats and take about three hours to complete. Hikers can also join a guided trek around Angel Island State Park in San Francisco Bay or explore Gray Whale Cove State Beach off Highway 1 on the San Mateo County coast.

Further afield will be guided hikes in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which will provide a look at the Santa Cruz County park's regrowth following the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire, and Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, which will focus on the redwood ecology of the park in the LGBTQ resort town of Guerneville in Sonoma County.

Those interested in joining one of the hikes should download the California State Parks mobile app, which allows users to add park unit maps onto their phone and get up-to-date information on any trail closures and events. First Day Hike participants will also be able to join virtually with the check-in challenge, post their progress and share photos along their way. Powered by OuterSpatial, the app has hike information, route details and more. Visitors can download the app here.

Park visitors are encouraged to share their January 1 experiences on social media using the hashtags: #HikeInto2023, #FirstDayHikes, #HikeWithCAStateParks and #CAStateParks.

SF again will recycle Christmas trees

In another New Year's tradition, San Francisco residents can again recycle their live Christmas trees by placing them on the curb in front of their homes from January 3 through January 14. The city's garbage hauler, Recology, will "treecycle" them for free, noted the San Francisco Environment Department on its website.

Clean, unflocked trees free of decorations, lights, and tree stands should be placed on the curbside next to the green recycling bin the night before residents' scheduled garbage collection day. Trees taller than 6 feet should be cut in half before being placed on the curb.

Recology uses a special truck to pick up the trees. Anyone whose tree isn't picked up by the end of the day on their regular garbage service day should contact Recology by calling (415) 330-1300 or sending a message via its website.

Jorge Rivas has been hired as executive director of San Francisco's Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs. Photo: Courtesy  

Gay man to lead SF immigrant affairs office
A gay man who is the son of Mexican immigrants has been hired to lead San Francisco's office that oversees services and initiatives for immigrants and newcomers. Jorge Rivas will take over as executive director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs on January 17.

City Administrator Carmen Chu announced her appointment of Rivas to the position December 20, as the Bay Area Reporter reported online last Tuesday. Rivas previously worked for the city in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development as the director of Invest in Neighborhoods, an interagency partnership aimed at strengthening and revitalizing neighborhood commercial districts.

He is currently deputy director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Bay Area, which works to preserve and produce affordable housing and economic opportunities for people of color and immigrants.

"As the son of immigrant parents, I understand firsthand the fears and uncertainty the immigrant community experiences," stated Rivas, whose parents came to California in the 1970s and worked as migrant farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. "There's a lot of work ahead of us, and this requires integrity and an unwavering commitment to immigrant communities. Together, I earnestly believe that we can make San Francisco a more welcoming place for all to thrive."

Fluent in Spanish, Rivas is the first in his family to receive a college degree. He earned a B.A. in urban studies from UC Berkeley and a Master's of Planning from the University of Southern California.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.