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Walking tours of San Francisco Bay's marsh wildlife refuge.

Walking tours of San Francisco Bay's marsh wildlife refuge

The humble beauty of a salt marsh is found in its subtleties: a textured green carpet of pickleweed, a snow-white egret stalking stilt-legged through cordgrass, a slow tidal river snaking its silent way.

San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, centered in Fremont, holds one of the largest natural marsh areas left on the bay's south end. Through its 16,200 acres of natural and developed marshes and uplands, you can hike 20 miles of trails. And this month you can join two free guided walks, each lasting 1 to 2 hours. On August 19 at 2 P.M., hike about 1 1/2 miles along the Tidelands Trail (a bit hilly at the outset, but generally easy) to learn about the salt marsh, its animal life, and how plants can survive high salinity.

On August 25 at 2 P.M., venture about 2 miles on a boardwalk trail into an area normally closed to the public. You're more likely to see two endangered species (clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse) here than in any other part of the refuge. To reserve a place on the tour, call (415) 792-0222.

Walks begin at the visitor center, open daily 10 to 5; refuge lands are open from an hour before sunrise to an hour after. Access to the center has changed slightly since the new Dumbarton Bridge approaches opened. To get there, take State Highway 84 to the toll plaza area and the Thornton Avenue exit, and follow signs.
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Date:Aug 1, 1984
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