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May 1, 2019

The worst-kept secret at the park this winter was the burrowing owl camouflaged among the granite boulders on North Point Isabel. Sharp-eyed park visitors first spotted the tiny bird near the end of October.

Burrowing owls can stand 10 inches tall, weigh up to six ounces, and live eight years. Until relatively recently, not very much was known about them. Ours was an adult. Then, depending on which theory you subscribe to, it was either a bachelor wintering along  the shoreline before flying to the Central Valley to mate or a female killing time for six or seven months before heading to Idaho. 

It may have chosen Point Isabel because there are few bigger owls, hawks, or feral cats. Perhaps it appreciated having its choice of gopher holes to commandeer. These cunning birds are known to leave scat lying around to attract dung beetles, and maybe it just felt it had hit the jackpot when it found Point Isabel.

Settling at a big off-leash park may seem unusual, but burrowing owls can be fo...

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) manages 73 parks with 1,250 miles of trails. Each park or trail may have unique requirements, but these nine rules generally apply wherever dogs are allowed:

NO DOGS in buildings, at food concessions, designated bathing beaches, golf courses, tot lots, swimming pools, nature study areas, marshes, wetlands, streams, creeks, ponds, and some lakes.

DOGS ON LEASH for the first 200 feet of dirt trails, whenever cattle are present, when approaching goats behind an electrified fence, and on paved trails, sidewalks, streets, parking lots, playing fields, and at picnic areas and campgrounds.

YOU MUST HAVE A LEASH no longer than six feet for each dog. Retractables in on leash areas must be locked at six feet.

DOG(S) MUST BE UNDER CONTROL.You have to be able to see your dog and it must come when you call it.    

DOGS MAY NOT HARASS OR HARM other dogs, park visitors, wildlife, or livestock.

DOG OWNERS MAY BRING UP TO THREE DOGS to the parks. With an...

May 1, 2019

For Cooper Chisaki, a trip to Point Isabel is simply part of life’s grand adventure. “He just loves going there – it’s like doggy heaven,” says owner Jane Chisaki. In many ways, Cooper is a typical golden retriever: He loves to swim and play ball, easily tracking one down even if he and Mom don’t come prepared. He always finds friends to play with on his regular outings to the Point, whether with Jane on weekends or midweek during group outings from nearby Metro Dog day care.

But like all dogs, he’s got his own personality. “He’s probably the barkiest golden I’ve ever had – and the gassiest,” says Jane, who owned four goldens before Cooper. “And he bays, which is unusual. When he gets home, he likes to run to the back yard and tell the whole neighborhood he’s there.”

Perhaps above all, Cooper likes adventure. “Oh, he’s an adventure dog for sure.” Nowhere is this more evident than on his multi-day trips aboard a 95-foot former Coast Guard cutter for river outings with the Sea Scouts troop...

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