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Dirt Biking Concerns Conservancy Group

Reprinted with permission of SouthSanFranciscoPatch

San Bruno Mountain Watch members investigated dirt bike tracks behind Terrabay neighborhood on Monday morning.


Walking through the Terrabay neighborhood Monday morning, three San Bruno Mountain Watch members looked for clues to where a dirt biker is entering the park.

South San Francisco residents Loretta Brooks, Chuck Heimstadt and Ken Oborn, all members of a San Bruno Mountain Watch conservancy committee, noticed the illegal tracks a week ago.

Brooks says dirt biking can destroy lupine, a primary food source for the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly, which is native to the mountain.

"We are trying to find a way to protect open space around here," Brooks said.

The group suspects that the dirt biker entered the park at the end of Highcrest Lane, off of Hillside Boulevard, where there is parking and easy access. A sign clearly marks that motorized bikes are prohibited in the park.

The sun peaked out from behind the clouds as water trickled down the verdant canyon and ravens circled overhead.

While hiking up the steep ascent, Brooks and Heimstadt pointed out a variety of invasive species, like fennel, radish and Italian thistle.

"The whole food chain is interconnected," Heimstadt said. "By bringing in the non-natives, it breaks up that food chain."

Native species like Blue-Eyed Grass, Sticky Monkey, and California Aster also sprout along the trail, but in fewer numbers.

The group wants to help the San Mateo County Parks Department weed out invasive species in the area but is waiting on a permit.

Heimstadt said there are multiple paths leading up the mountain, but all of them are steep.

"This was never a built trail," he said. "It needs to be switch backed."

The couple looks forward to a proposed east-west bike trail that would go from Oyster Point Marina to the ocean at Fort Funston. A new trail would be built from the base of San Bruno Mountain at Sister Cities Boulevard up to the Ridge Trail.

Hiking up the spine of the canyon past the blooming yellow petals of San Francisco Wallflower, the bike tracks became visible. The tracks zigzag on the mountainside between some rock outcroppings.

Two hikers made their way down, and Brooks asked if they've heard any bikes.

"It's against the law and it can ruin the habitat," she said. The hikers said they haven't seen anyone riding here but will contact authorities if they do.

"There's enough erosion on this mountain without [dirt biking]," Heimstadt says, " and then it's unsightly."

He says the county may be able to install a gate that would stop dirt bikers from entering.

Elias Frangos, park aide for the parks department, said he hadn't received any reports of dirt biking but they will look into it.

"We can definitely go check it out and keep an eye over there," Frangos said.

Have you seen dirt biking or any other illegal activity on San Bruno Mountain? Report to SFPatch here.

Reader Comments (5)

San Bruno Mountain Watch is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the remaining native biodiversity on the mountain. We have concerns about a bike trail put through the native grasslands, and going along the ridge trail. The Ridge Trail has small foot trails branching off it, that would likely be tempting to a small percent of mountain bikers. The grasslands on either side of the Ridge Trail are vulnerable.

We hope to work with the county and the biking community to find a route from Oyster Point to Lake Merced that is enjoyable, safe for all concerned, and does not put precious habitat in jeopardy.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKen McIntire

San Bruno is a beautiful mountain! The south side fire road is steep and a ton of fun to ride on. I stay on the fire road though for sure, but don't you think we can share the space?

September 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRider

Tree huggers at their finest right here. Dirt bike riding is Not a crime. Hiking through these areas on foot could damage the plant life too. Should we just all together shut down San Bruno Mountain then? Public land people, what country is this? Nazi foot patrols lol

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrebor

Brooks says dirt biking can destroy lupine, a primary food source for the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly, which is native to the mountain.

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkaren millen

Screw all of you and that blue butterfly. You are all the reason we can't have fun in the Bay Area. I'm building a time machine.

September 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCory

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