Feb 27, 2010

One less eucalyptus

Until this morning, I had overlooked the loss of another Panhandle Park tree - this large old eucalyptus, just off the south path near Lyon St @ Oak. I'm told that it fell about a week ago. A big thank you to everyone who worked on removal - you left the area looking good!

After the rainfall of this past week, the ground in the Panhandle is really saturated. It's affecting the turf, the paths, and obviously, our trees. With the thin layer of topsoil and shallow roots, trees in the panhandle are vulnerable to being toppled during a windy storm, especially this time of year. The good news behind this, though, is that snowpack in the Northern Sierra is 121% of normal, and the U.S. Interior department yesterday indicated that California's three-year drought is over. Possibly California is getting enough rain to begin reviving the salmon in the Sacramento river? 

The Panhandle Park still has many - at least a dozen - large, mature eucalyptus trees. They're not my favorite tree, but you've got to admit that their trunks have a certain human-like pulchritude.
Posted by Picasa

Feb 26, 2010

We lost a tree to today's storm

Fell St east of Shrader

A good-sized tree came down in the Panhandle, apparently a result of today's fast-moving rainstorm. Does anybody know what kind of tree this is? 
Update: I've referred to a copy of Trees of the Panhandle, and believe I've identified this as a prunus lusitanica, a.k.a. Portugal laurel. 

Posted by Picasa

February blooms in the Park

During late February, we start seeing some early blooms in the Panhandle Park. Above - Cherry Laurels (just east of Masonic). Below - a white magnolia and a pink magnolia near the McKinley Monument.

Posted by Picasa

Feb 16, 2010

Panhandle Park Pathway - work to be done

I've hoping to design a task for the Panhandle Park Stewards' next work day: some simple path maintenance. The multi-use pathway is increasingly traveled by cyclists and other users, and is arguably not wide enough to safely accommodate everyone. Yet areas of the path are inundated by mud, and grass is growing in it. See red outline for an area that has been "taken back" by mud, grass and leaves:
This area needs to be cleared

Let's get the most out of every inch of pathway we've got! While out with volunteers and tools, we stopped for a trial run with shovels and rakes. We made decent progress.
small area cleared this weekend

I found Kikuyu Grass was one of the weeds intruding on the paved path. It's a plant from East Africa that can take over. Since it's rhizomatic and somewhat ropelike, and it can actually be kind of fun to pull up...if you like weeding!

Feb 14, 2010

February Work day wrap-up

Yesterday's work day for the Panhandle Park Stewards brought out lots of enthusiastic volunteers to work on making the Panhandle a better park - and the best weather we've seen in a long time. 

After meeting at the Bulletin Board, a group travelled east to a stand of trees just east of Masonic. After picking up a few bags of trash (see last week's post on drinking parties), we shoveled wood chips on the ground to shield the shallow topsoil and protect the trees' roots.

After posing for this group shot, we travelled further east to the Redwoods and spread more compost around the grove (a task we started in January). This hard working group, which included both neighbors and green-agers from across SF, had their pitchforks, wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes moving fast.

Back at the playground, our Panhandle gardener Dave was helping lead another dozen volunteers, including One Brick and Asian American Recovery Services, were sweeping and raking leaves in and around the playground. Meanwhile, a crew from Rec & Park made a soil delivery. I gather that the children's garden around the playground is getting a make-over. For planters, it's out with the old tires and in with wood barrels.

Above: Jay with some of the day's One Brick volunteers.

A huge THANK YOU to everybody who helped make the work day a huge success. Hope to see you back on the Second Saturday in March.
Posted by Picasa

Feb 10, 2010

SFPD citing campers/drinkers in the park today

When you visit Haight Street or the Panhandle Park, you may see what many people refer to as gangs of homeless youth. The SF Chronicle, the city government and our new police chief have been engaging in some political drama about how to police these folks, especially when they hunker down on the sidewalks of Haight St. The increasing police pressure on Haight St might be pushing them down more often into the Panhandle park.

Today, I saw three police officers on bicycles engage with a group of five men drinking under a big redwood tree and get them moving. And the photo shows some of the empties left over after a drinking party yesterday in a grove of trees near the Central Ave cross-over.
Posted by Picasa

Using 311 for furniture and illegal dumping

When you see furniture or other large objects left in the park, call 311 to have city workers remove it. It's also easy to use 311 online, if you can figure out how to click your way through. For something like this chair, you'd select Parks on the main page, then Neighborhood Services, then Trash or Dumping.

The online form requires a search for location, and GGP Panhandle is how the park is listed. Try to remember the nearest cross-streets so you can include that when you describe the location.

Don't assume somebody else has already reported it. In my experience, they probably haven't.
Posted by Picasa

Feb 8, 2010

Muddy February

It's February, more than halfway through our rainy season in San Francisco. In the Panhandle, a chronic, recurring eyesore is getting people's attention - standing water, usually found in and around tire tracks. The problem's concentrated along the short pathways leading from Oak and Fell St to the park's main east-west pathways.

I did a quick, subjective assessment of these conditions today (looking only at the short entry paths, and not trying to get a handle on similar problems along the main pathways). Here's the result, showing that the poor conditions are pretty widespread, especially along the north side, and that the worst mud puddles are at Ashbury.

I've got more questions than answers. What have we done about this in the past? How much of a problem is it to the community? Does this resolve after the rainy season, or do we deal with this year-round in some spots? What's causing it? If vehicles, then which ones, and what are the alternatives? If those vehicles are going to continue to enter the park, how can we mitigate the damage?

Posted by Picasa

Feb 5, 2010

February workday: download and post a flyer

Here are links to download your own flyers for our next workday, coming up a week from tomorrow on Saturday, February 13 (with the storms coming in, I'm glad it's not tomorrow!)

Feb 1, 2010

February 13 in the Panhandle: Register now!

Update: Jay, who's organizing the Feb. 13 work day, explained that it would be great to have any neighborhood volunteers sign up through the Onebrick site to ensure we have enough supplies.

Signing up requires registration with OneBrick, which is free and easy. Plus you get access to a calendar full of cool volunteer opportunities.

Our current plans for the February work day are to focus on cleaning and greening the playground. These barrels have fresh potting soil this week, and look ready for a bunch of new plants. Please join us - there are plenty of tools and work to go around.
Saturday February 13
9 am to 11 am
Meet at the Bulletin Board (in the Panhandle, one block west of Masonic Avenue)
Posted by Picasa

January work day - photos

At the monthly workday in January, we raked up huge piles of fallen leaves near the basketball courts. Then we spread cinders (rich composted matter) around the redwoods just west of the McKinley monument.
Posted by Picasa

Second Saturday workdays continue in 2010

Neighbors of the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park are renewing their commitment to a community-based volunteer park stewardship program in 2010. The long-standing Panhandle Cleanup, a monthly event happening on the second Saturday of each month, will continue in partnership with NOPNA, PRO-SF, and SF Recreation Parks.
Posted by Picasa