Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Henry Coe"

This may be the coolest place I’ve ever been, alone or otherwise.

What does one think about when hiking alone? I was finding out.

It was an overnighter in Henry Coe State Park, Northern California’s largest state park -- maybe its most rugged, too. One thing, perhaps the thing, to know about Henry Coe is this: What is up must go down, and what is down must go up. A long way up.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The End of the Wilderness Exchange

I loved this place, and now it's gone. Visiting during the store's final days to report on the closure was bittersweet: I learned a lot about the Wilderness Exchange and its history, but knew that in a few days' time it'd all be gone. Customers and employees had mixed reactions to owner Jerry Jordan's decision to sell the building and move away after 23 years running the store, but one thing's for sure: There's nothing else quite like it, and shopping for outdoors goods in the East Bay will never be the same.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Piedmont Gardening Goes Green ... Sort of

It's on its way, at least -- but there's a long way to go. As I report in my story, between 2005 and 2009, Piedmont residents used an average of 356 gallons per day, compared to 171 in Berkeley and 191 in Oakland. But a new group that formed in April is out to make Piedmont a more sustainable city, and Bay-friendly, drought-tolerant landscaping is a big part of their push. The group, called Piedmont CONNECT, already boasts 165 members, so there's clearly interest within the city to make some changes. Let's see if it works.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The City Streets Project: Where Cars Are Not King

This is one of those big-picture stories that ties everything together: urban design, city planning, efficient transportation and mass transit, resource conservation, carbon emissions, urban heat islands, greening, and more -- all the pieces of the puzzle we'll need to put in place if we are to save our industrialized cities and society from environmental doom. The City Streets Project, funded by grants from the California Energy Commission, is an ambitious, long-term program in its earliest stages at UC Berkeley. It's a joint project between the College of Environmental Design and the law school -- the former providing the design expertise and the latter providing the legal and bureaucratic know-how to actually put the plan in place. Their ideas are big and their aspirations vast. But that's exactly what we need; when it comes to redesigning our cities to make them (and our lives there) sustainable, piecemeal approaches won't gonna cut it.