Islais Creek Park (2/3/2022)

Today I squeezed in an unexpected bit of Naturing during my Food Bank volunteering. I became fascinated by the Islais Creek at Glen Canyon Park after discovering it really was a running creek. I looked up a bunch of old maps showing where it flowed, etc. And, I read that where the creek empties into the Islais Creek Channel and flows out to the bay had a small park. There was an intention to create a much larger park for it, but that never happened.

Turns out, this small park was right near where I pick up groceries from the Food Bank. That bridge that crosses water right there crosses the ISLAIS CREEK CHANNEL. The small park was just on the other side!

So, after picking up my groceries for delivery, I made a quick stop to see it. I had no expectation to actually see anything new there.

But, I DID.

The park is small. Like, a couple picnic tables, a couple trees, and (surprisingly), a bathroom – but, with no lock and the door left open, it’s not really a bathroom you’d want to use. Oh, and a trash can.

It does have a small ramp to the water. And, a kayak/paddling company appears to house stuff at the park edge.

Other than a grebe in the channel (that I couldn’t ID as I did not bring my binocs) and a Black Phoebe, not much was going on. But, there was an art piece at the street right by it that looked intriguing.

Surely enough, it was an art piece to commemorate the Islais Creek. There’s a plaque with the artist’s name and the piece’s info. And, there were a number of bits of flora growing around it. INCLUDING, a blooming lupine I didn’t recognize. Arroyo Lupine! Wasn’t expecting to find a newtome flower that also was native, wow!

I walked back to my car and noticed a shrub of a tree with unusual shaped leaves that was on this street median triangle at the back of the art piece. It reminded me of Cottonwood trees I saw in the Sierras last summer. Western Redbud! Another native! ANOTHER newtome flower!

At this point, I felt bad for assuming there’d be nothing new for me to see, so I went back to the small park and searched for any other signs of flora. What were those tiny pink flowers in the grass? Musk Stork’s-bill! Now, I’ve got this one in my Flora database, where it’s my guess that that’s what that is. But, this might be a confirmation on iNat waiting to happen. ALSO, NATIVE.

So, yeah. I underestimated this tiny patch of green amidst industrial whatnots. Sadly, I can’t imagine the park getting more love anytime soon. Unless the neighborhood becomes more residential or something. And, it’s hard to imagine that.

But, I’m so glad I went there. I looked left/west to where the creek comes into the channel. All you can really see from the park is the highway. I’d love to see closer. Maybe I can find out how to do that. Bottom line is, I love that along with learning more about the flora and fauna and fungi and slime molds of SF, I’m also learning more about what the natural world of SF was before it became San Francisco.

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