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You can egret-watch, canoe, picnic in Marin's McInnis Park.

From easy walking and bird-watching to rugged athletics, John F. McInnis County Park in north Marin County offers visitors a wide range of activities. Within its 440 acres lie expanses of marshland, two playing fields, four tennis courts, a canoe launch, an equestrian ring, and picnic facilities. The park, enjoying some of the driest weather in Marin County, is bordered by the Gallinas delta, so you will be refreshed by salty breezes however strenuous your activity.

Take U.S. 101 to Lucas Valley Road/Smith Ranch Road exit, two exits north of the Marin County Civic Center. Follow Smith Ranch Road east to the park.

On your left is a large playing field, with changing and rest room facilities. Just beyond, turn right and you'll come upon another playing field with picnic tables and, nearby, the canoe launch. From here you can paddle down Gallinas Creek, towards San Pablo Bay, perhaps accompanied by waterfowl.

Father down the road and to your left are the lighted tennis courts.

By following the trail that begins at the canoe launch and passes the equestrian ring on your left, you can stroll eastward along the levee. Wander as far as you like along the paths. This area, once hunted for pheasants and harvested for hay, is slowly being reclaimed by marsh fowl. You'll see egrets, great blue herons, flocks of blackbirds and finches, grebes and ducks swimming among the tules. You may even catch a glimpse of the often secretive clapper rail.

Here you can appreciate the rich colors and smells of the marsh. Earthy browns of dock, intense greens of the tules, and murky depths of the creeks make a peaceful and protected home for bay birds.

When you meander out on the levees, take a long look back at the land and the history it represents: rapidly developing north Marin, the familiar blue dome of the Civic Center, ageless Mount Tamalpais and birds returning to a home that was once given up for lost.

The park is open from 8 to 5; leashed dogs are permitted.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1984
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