Monthly Meetings

First Monday of every month
Next meeting: March 2, 2020

1st Monday each month
7:00 pm.
Meetings are held in the cafeteria conference room
Vaca Valley Hospital,
1000 Nut Tree Rd, Vacaville.

For all planned walks in Northern California

Planned Vaca Valley Volks walks for 2020

- February 2020 - Mare Island
- May 2020 - Rosie the Riverter
- Sept 2020 - Berryessa, Smittle Creek
Mare Island Flyway Festival
February 8,9 2020

LOCATION:TBD - Mare Island, Vallejo

START TIME: 9:00 a.m. - noon




cranes UPDATED UPDATE: The Flyway Festival is back on!! The walk start point is a start table at 975 Nimitz Ave on Mare island. The shortened Flyway Festival will be at the Veteran's Memorial Building, 420 Admiral Callaghan in Vallejo. Portions of Mare Island are closed due the fires this summer. We will have two 5K loops to walk, one on the San Pablo Bay Trail (no dogs) and one through the renovated areas and buildings.

Vaca Valley Volks invites you to their annual Mare Island Flyway Walk on February 8,9 in conjunction with the 25th annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival. The festival, held on Mare Island, is an annual celebration of the migration through San Francisco Bay of more than 1 million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, hawks and other wildlife at the peak of their migration. In addition to our AVA walk, there are guided and self-guided tours, wildlife shows, art exhibits, lectures and non-profit organizations and commercial vendors with items for sale. A limited number of “Mare Island Crane” parody patches will be available. Because of fires on the island we are not yet sure which building will house the Flyway Festival or our exact route. Please check our web page for updates.

Admirals house The walk will pass through or by many of the interesting places on Mare Island. We try to vary our annual walk, highlighting various areas to keep it interesting. The former Mare Island Naval Shipyard was the U.S. Navy's oldest installation in the Pacific and during World War II turned out scores of ships and submarines. Warships damaged in battle were also repaired and refitted in the base's dry docks. It was an active navy base from 1854 until closed in 1996. The dry docks and submarine slips are still standing and can be seen on the walk. The waterfront area near the former shipyard is being renovated as an historic area. Mare Island was home to the many naval personnel assigned here. Our walks proceed along Officer’s Row where the higher ranking officers on the island lived. At 10,500 square feet, Quarters A is largest of the thirteen white Colonial Revival mansions which once lined Officers Row. Known as The Admiral’s Mansion, it was once the home of the highest ranking Officer on Mare Island. The other twelve quarters on the row had 7,500 square feet each.

St Peters St Peters Chapel is the oldest continuously operational chapel in the Navy. Built in 1901, it is a classic example of Victorian Gothic architecture with its tidy brown shingle, cream-colored trim, steep pitched roof and a soaring octagonal spire. The chapel is non-denominational and houses one of the largest collections of Tiffany glass under one roof.

The cemetery on Mare Island is the Navy’s oldest cemetery in the West. It includes the graves of three Medal of Honor recipients and veterans from the War of 1812, Civil War and World War I. Burials began at this hillside cemetery in 1856 and continued until 1921. Among the approximately 900 buried here are the daughter of Francis Scott Key, murderess Lucy Lawson, and six Russian sailors who were laid to rest near the middle during the Civil War era. Beyond the cemetery at the top of a hill is the Ghost Ship, a sculpture dedicated to the ships built at Mare Island.

view The portion of the San Pablo Bay trail on the walks goes out to the water and back. As you stroll along the flat 4-mile path, you’ll see incredible views of Mt. Tamalpais, Mt. Diablo, the East Bay hills, the Carquinez Strait, Napa Valley, and of course, San Pablo Bay.

We hope to see you for a weekend of bird watching and history. There may even be wine tasting at the Mare island Brewery.

A patch will be available for $4. You may participate free if no credit is desired. No refunds. The event is open to everyone.

Dogs OK with cleanup and on leash except on te San pablo Bay Trail. Water available at the Start Point.

Skyline Wilderness Park, Napa
Completed Sept 21, 2019

LOCATION:2201 Imola Ave, Napa, CA 94559

START TIME: 8:00 a.m. - noon




You are invited to join the Vaca Valley Volks for an exploration of the undeveloped lands of Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, CA. Skyline sits at the edge of Napa and is neither a state or federal park, but 850 acres of private, volunteer-run and maintained wilderness, undeveloped except for the trail system and which takes in numerous natural features

Lake Marie Trail and ecological habitats. The trails are well laid out, but are gravel or hard packed dirt with hills. Skyline is a great park for hikers with trails of all difficulty levels set in a wide variety of settings like oak woodlands, grasslands, chaparral, and even hardwoods and ferns along the creek. Our walks stay on the moderate trails. The main and most heavily used trail is the Lake Marie Trail which begins in the sparse, sun-beaten oaks nears the park's entrance and ends in the cool, shaded Bay Laurel forest adjacent to Lake Marie. The destination and namesake for the trail makes for a nice picnic spot and rest point for the walks.

Old quarry Keep your eye out for caves and other “mysterious” old ruins and quarries throughout the park, remnants that may predate Napa State Hospital ownership, which began in the 1870s. Or look for a well-preserved stone fence dropping down the flanks of Sugarloaf Mountain, one of several stone walls in the park, constructed at an unknown date, perhaps by Chinese or Italian immigrants. But if you are going to investigate, also keep a wary eye out for snakes. Sightings of mountain lion, peregrine falcon, rattlesnakes, coyote and bobcat are often reported.

Lake Marie The information site states the dominant plant community at Skyline Park is oak woodlands, including valley oak, coast live oak, blue oak, black oak, California bay and madrone. The buckeye trail is lined with its namesake, the California buckeye. The northern flat portion of the park is primarily open grasslands consisting of mostly of non-native annual grasses and a variety of native and non-native flowers. Patches of open grasslands are also found at various locations elsewhere in the park. Chaparral is found primarily along the eastern edge of the park, and includes such characteristic plants as chamise, manzanita, sticky monkey flower and coyote bush. Riparian vegetation extends along the length of the creek feeding into Lake Marie at the southeast end of the park, through the length of the park into Lake Camille and eventually into Tulocay Creek northwest of the park.

Walk for credit only. You may participate free if no credit is desired. No refunds. The event is open to everyone.

Dogs are not permitted on the trails which are shared with horse riders and mountain bikers. Skyline Wilderness Park charges a $5.00 entry per vehicle to enter the park. That is a $5.00 per vehicle, not per person. Motorists should be prepared for heavy traffic especially in the afternoon. There are numerous dining options in the area. Skyline Park is a Wilderness Park. Both the 5K and 11K continue on gravel and dirt trails to Lake Marie and return. There are rest rooms at the start/finish. Elevation rise over grades ranging from 6 to 20%. All walkers are advised to wear appropriate clothing and carry water. The park advised sightings of snakes, mountain lions and wildlife indigenous to the wilderness are not uncommon.

Skyline Wilderness Park, 2201 Imola Avenue, Napa, CA 94559.
FROM THE SOUTH (San Francisco Bay) I80 to CA 37 then CA 29 (Sonoma Blvd.) to Napa. At the split stay to the right onto CA 221 "Napa Lake Berryessa" and continue to Imola Ave. (Napa State Hospital, on corner(. Turn right onto Imola and continue to park.
FROM THE WEST take CA 29 or CA 12 to Imola Ave. and continue to Park.
FROM THE EAST (Sacramento) take I80, I5 or CA 99 to CA 12 West towards Napa. Continue to junction with CA 29 (Sonoma Blvd.) Turn right (N) towards Napa to split onto CA 221 "Napa Lake Berryessa". Continue to Imola Ave. Turn right on Imola Ave. to park.

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This page last updated June 10, 2019

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