Bush Whacking Sustainability Barriers & Clearing Trails for Environmental Progress

Guest authored by Doug Silverstein

Edgewood ParkOh, the benefits of hiking… aerobic exercise, budding friendships, and beautiful landscapes… especially at Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve (see below).

But it’s absolutely clear, halfway through 10 treks, the 2019 SMC Hike-a-Palooza is providing huge additional benefits — building the network of 29 environmental sustainability leaders who’ve joined so far.

And more importantly, expanding our community’s capacity to make substantial progress towards specific sustainability targets – of 29 hikers and 17 organizations — and our united environmental goals:

  • Lower our global ecological footprint to long term sustainable levels
  • Enable happy, healthy & equitable living within our county’s environmental limits

Hike-a-Palooza attendance, with expected slow start (weather, locations, lead-times), has consistently grown each week as we trek the county’s parks from north to south:

Now across 57 ‘hiker afternoons’ that convened 17 local sustainability organizations, we’ve initiated almost 500 networking connections (~8 per attendee per hike). That’s 500 stimulating conversations about environmental challenges we face and solutions we implement.

We’re building relations, gaining knowledge, receiving advice, vetting ideas, refining plans, and enabling future actions that help reach individual and community goals. Thematically, we’re bush whacking through sustainability barriers and clearing the trail for massive environmental progress.

So, at this midpoint, I firmly believe these treks are providing huge benefit for the 29 hikers and importantly, for the:

  • SMC sustainability community
  • regional population
  • global citizens and species

And future generations!!!

Edgewood Park and Ghostwood Beer Co

Now back to beautiful landscapes and aerobic exercise, Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve is an amazing space for both. The gorgeous afternoon of Wednesday April 24 was ideal for enjoying the budding wildflowers, bright open spaces, and shaded canyons with trickling creeks. In the quiet heat, we observed butterflies, birds, lizards, and many beautiful flowers – California plantain, goldfields, and serpentine linanthus.

Describing it with words is impossible. First see the pictures below, then go visit!!! By my calculations it’s about 20 miles from the farthest SMC border (Daly City). Enjoy the 3.7 miles of trails we traveled – Edgewood, Old Stage, Serpentine, Sunset, and Sylvan – or any of the amazing paths. You’re sure to find those beautiful landscapes that recharge your soul.


After Edgewood, a few of us hearty hikers enjoyed the hoppy beers of Redwood City’s newest jewel, Ghostwood Beer Company. The Guavzilla DIPA had too much vanilla for my taste so I leaned towards the Mawingu, a 7% New England IPA hopped with Southern Passion and African Queen. That’s exactly what I needed to cool down from the heat.

Join Us on the Next Hike and the 4 that Follow

From the start, the 2019 SMC Hike-a-Palooza was pitched as a way to get social, enjoy nature, and broaden networks for leaders and enthusiasts of local environmental sustainability organizations across:

  • 7 disciplines – climate, energy, food, land, transit, waste, & water, and
  • 4 organization types – business, education, government, & nonprofit

It was advertised to convene local leaders in nourishing settings — to build relations and stimulate ideas, increase awareness of SMC Parks, and experience the benefits of open space.

But the real goal is to build our community and tackle the large ecological challenges facing this region… and beyond. We’ve got lots of work to do to lower our global ecological footprint to long term sustainable levels, and enable happy, healthy and equitable living within our county’s environmental limits.

So, join us on the next hike, and the four that follow. Build connections, whack the sustainability barriers, and clear the trails for massive environmental progress.


Doug Silverstein is a 23-year San Mateo County resident and local sustainability leader. As a volunteer for Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame, Citizens Climate Lobby, Sustainable San Mateo County and others, Doug has used his decades of technology sales and marketing skills to champion local clean energy and transportation justice causes.

Join San Mateo County Parks Foundation and other San Mateo County sustainability leaders on one or more of these hikes. San Mateo County Parks Foundation inspires people to care for, learn about and enjoy San Mateo County Parks.






Comments are closed.