La Loma is the newest path to be added to Berkeley’s network. Photo: Colleen Neff

On Sunday, La Loma Path was added to the network of approximately 140 walkways that meander between houses and streets in the Berkeley hills.

The network of green passageways make a perfect outing when there’s no time to head to Tilden or Wildcat Canyon. The bramble of unruly plants are refreshingly wild compared to the pruned shrubbery and disciplined yard plants that typically characterize suburban topography. August is when blackberries reign supreme, a tasty treat for the pathway adventurer.

La Loma is the latest addition to the network, which was developed at the turn of the 19th century and has been slowly expanding since 1998 with the efforts of the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association.

“We are really trying to encourage people to use them as green space,” says association president Keith Skinner.

To do so, they have been creating new paths that were penciled into original city plans but never constructed, reviving some of the moribund paths, and, in their spare time, organizing hikes through the ivy-strewn corridors.

BPWA Co-Founder Jacque Ensign and former city councilmember Betty Olds at the La Loma Path dedication. Photo: Colleen Neff

“We always think strategically when considering paths for development in terms of the benefit they deliver to walkers and the neighborhood,” Skinner said.

The BPWA selected La Loma as its next project because it would link pedestrians from Selby Trail in Tilden Park to Glendale-La Loma Park.  La Loma consists of 161 wood tie steps, salvaged from a disassembled railroad, and connects Glendale Avenue to Campus Drive. It is the 30th path built by the BPWA.

The blueprints for more than a dozen other plans will likely never been realized because of engineering challenges, as well as geological and man-made obstructions

The paths, which are public property, are clustered in Berkeley’s hillier neighborhoods; Northbrae and Thousand Oaks have the highest concentrations.  Nearly all of them are labeled with street signs, and some are paved for public safety. Their canopies of tangled overgrowth blot out sunlight and, momentarily, the aura of suburbia…

BPWA president Keith Skinner hammers in the “golden” stake to complete La Loma Path. The path, which runs between Glendale Avenue and Campus Drive, is the last of in a series of paths that provides a safe short-cut to the Selby Trail in Tilden. Photo: Sandy Friedland

… Continue reading on Bay Nature, where this article first appeared, on August 7.

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