In the south peak of the mountain was selected by Colonel Leander Ransom as the initial point — where the Mount Diablo Base and Mount Diablo Meridian lines intersect — for cadastral surveys of a large area. Subsequent surveys in much of California , Nevada and Oregon were located with reference to this point. Camron's "Green Valley" road opened later.
Hall also built the room Mountain House Hotel near the junction of the two roads, a mile below the summit 2, foot elevation, operated through the s, abandoned , burned c. As far north as Meridian Road, on the outskirts of Chico, California , the summit was used as a reference point.
The road is colinear with the summit, and is named for the meridian which intersects it. An aerial navigation beacon, the Standard Diablo tower was erected by Standard Oil at the summit in After initial legislation in , the state of California acquired enough land in to create a small state park around the peak. Many improvements were carried out in the s by the Civilian Conservation Corps but park expansion slowed in the s through the s.
Her study boundaries became the basis for the state park's first map and for the park's eventual expansion, as well as the origin of many of the park's place names. In KOVR erected its television transmitter tower on the mountain. One of the workers involved in the project said that parts of the tower were trucked up to the summit and assembled there.
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Based in Stockton, the station eventually became affiliated with ABC and was known for its popular "Toonytown" program hosted by Art Finley. With the completion of the mammoth television tower near Walnut Grove , KOVR moved its transmitter there and later relocated its studios to Sacramento. This initial park has been greatly expanded over the years. Soon after Earth Day in the nonprofit organization "Save Mount Diablo"  was created by co-founders Mary Bowerman and Art Bonwell, barely ahead of real estate developers.
According to Save Mount Diablo there are actually 50 individual preserves on and around Mount Diablo, some conservation easements covering a single parcel, others expected to eventually be absorbed into larger nearby parks; as of December , the organization recognizes 38 specific Diablo parks and preserves. In this way the open spaces controlled by cities, the East Bay Regional Park District, Mount Diablo State Park, and various regional preserves now adjoin and protect much of the elevated regions of the mountain, with significant exceptions in Arroyo del cerro, Curry Canyon, the Marsh creek region and on the northern slopes of North Peak, and in a number of inholdings surrounded by preserve land.
Park expansion continues on all sides of the mountain although its western boundaries are largely complete. Extensive development continues in the southwestern foothills and Tassajara region, such as the upscale development of Blackhawk and individual estates overlooking the Livermore Valley on Morgan Territory Road. Large scale development of other private parcels is restricted by city and county urban limit lines, by lack of water, excessive slope and sensitive resources including rare species.
Smaller ranchette subdivisions continue to fragment and threaten many parcels and large areas of habitat. Updated acreages and trail mileages were discussed in accompanying press materials and news articles.
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The mountain is the result of geologic compression and uplift caused by the movements of the Earth's plates. The mountain lies between converging earthquake faults and continues to grow slowly. While the principal faults in the region are of the strike-slip type, a significant thrust fault with no surface trace is found on the mountain's southwest flank. The uplift and subsequent weathering and erosion have exposed ancient oceanic Jurassic and Cretaceous age rocks that now form the summit. The mountain grows from three to five millimeters each year.
The upper portion of the mountain is made up of volcanic and sedimentary deposits of what once was one or more island arcs of the Farallon Plate dating back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, between 90 and million years ago. During this time, the Farallon Plate was subducting beneath the North American continent. These deposits were scraped off the top and accreted onto the North American Plate. This resulted in the highly distorted and fractured basalt and serpentine of the Mount Diablo Ophiolite and metasediments of the Franciscan complex around the summit.
East of the subduction zone, a basin was filling with sediment from the ancestral Sierra further to the east. Up to 60, feet 18, m of sandstone, mudstone, and limestone of the Great Valley Sequence were deposited from 66 to million years ago. These deposits are now found faulted against the Ophiolite and Franciscan deposits. Over the past 20 million years continental deposits have been periodically laid down and subsequently jostled around by the newly formed San Andreas Fault system, forming the Coast Ranges.
Within the last four million years, local faulting has resulted in compression, folding, buckling, and erosion, bringing the various formations into their current juxtaposition. This faulting action continues to change the shape of Mount Diablo, along with the rest of the Coast Ranges. The summit area of Mount Diablo is made up of deposits of gray sandstone graywacke , chert , oceanic volcanic basalts greenstone and a minor amount of shale.
The hard red Franciscan chert is sedimentary in origin and rich in microscopic radiolaria fossils and seashells.
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In the western foothills of the mountain there are large deposits of younger sandstone rocks also rich in seashells, severely tilted and in places forming dramatic ridgelines. Mount Diablo is a double pyramid and some [ who? Deposits of glassmaking-grade sand and lower-quality coal north of the mountain were mined in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but are now open to visitors as the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.
Guided tours of the sand mines and coal field are provided. The park's vegetation is mixed oak woodland and savannah and open grassland with extensive areas of chaparral and a number of endemic plant species, such as the Mount Diablo manzanita Arctostaphylos auriculata , Mount Diablo fairy-lantern Calochortus pulchellus , chaparral bellflower Campanula exigua , Mount Diablo bird's beak Cordylanthus nidularius , and Mount Diablo sunflower Helianthella castanea.
The park includes substantial thickets, isolated examples, and mixed ground cover of western poison oak. It is best to learn the characteristics of this shrub and its toxin before hiking on narrow trails through brush and to be aware that it can be bare of leaves but toxic to contact in the winter.
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At higher altitudes and on north slopes is the widely distributed foothill pine Pinus sabiniana. Knobcone pine Pinus attenuata may be found along Knobcone Pine Road in the southern part of the park. In the endangered species Mount Diablo buckwheat Eriogonum truncatum , thought to be extinct since last seen in , was rediscovered in a remote area of the mountain. All vegetation, minerals and wildlife within the park are protected and it is illegal to remove such items or to harass any wildlife. Commonly seen animals include coyote , bobcat , black-tailed deer , California ground squirrels , fox squirrels and grey foxes ; many other mammals including mountain lions are present.
It is a chief remaining refuge for the threatened Alameda whipsnake , California red-legged frog. Less common wildlife species include the reintroduced peregrine falcon , ringtail cats , and to the east American badgers , San Joaquin kit fox , roadrunners , California tiger salamander , and burrowing owls.
There are also exotic non-native animals such as the red fox and opossum , the latter being North America's only marsupial. In September and October male tarantula spiders can be seen Aphonopelma smithi as they seek a mate. These spiders are harmless unless severely provoked, and their bite is only as bad as a bee sting.
More dangerous are black widow spiders , far less likely to be encountered in the open. In the wintertime, between November and February, bald eagles and golden eagles are present. These birds are less easily seen than many raptors; golden eagles, particularly, fly at high elevations. In recent years there have been credible sightings of California condors, which have been reintroduced at Pinnacles National Park, located to the south in the Gilroy-Hollister area. Of special note as potential hazards are Northern Pacific rattlesnake.
While generally shy and non-threatening, one should be observant and cautious of where one steps to avoid accidentally disturbing one. They are often found warming themselves in the open as on trails and ledges on cool, sunny days. Other wildlife to avoid include fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. There has also been an increase in the mountain lion population in the larger region and one should know how to respond if these animals are encountered.
Please see the mountain lion safety tips in the Mountain lion article. The Danville entrance is also known as Southgate. If the entrance stations are not operating, park fees may be paid at the junction ranger station, where the two roads join. From here the road reaches the summit of the mountain, where there is a visitors center housing an observation deck and natural history exhibits. From the elevation of the lower lot the Mary Bowerman Trail is a level wheelchair-accessible path and boardwalk with interpretive stations that extends part way around the mountain; a regular single track trail completes the loop.
Camping facilities are available within the park. There are numerous picnic sites. Pets are restricted and require proper documentation for rabies not just a tag. Daytime visitors must exit the park by sunset except for special events. Some picnic spots may be reserved but most are available without reservation. Alcohol is strictly forbidden in the park. Fires are allowed only during the wet season generally December through April , and only in sanctioned fire pits.
The park may be closed on windy days during the dry season due to extremely hazardous fire conditions. Two additional entrances with parking for hikers are provided on the northwest side of the park at Mitchell Canyon and Donner Canyon. The warmest month at the station is July with an average high of The coolest month is January with an average high of The most precipitation recorded in a month was The greatest hour precipitation was 5. The average annual days with measurable precipitation is Snowfall at Mount Diablo Junction averages 1. Prior to , the most snowfall observed in a month was The greatest snow depth was 3.
Today the park encompasses 80, acres in three counties, and has become what I could not imagine that evening. Miles of chain-link fencing were removed, acres of exotic foliage were replaced with native habitat, and historic buildings were rehabilitated. Just look at the trails, visitor centers, kiosks, and brochures done by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy!
Park programs are available for everyone, from children to seniors. Every time I visit the park, I know we succeeded. Today our relationship with the community provides many opportunities, and we are fortunate that these parks are valued as an integral part of the quality of life in our region.
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The timing was right! The beginning of the s was a period of profound awakening in Marin. Marincello had been defeated, as had the plan to cover West Marin and connect to with an east-west freeway. On one local front, the alarm of Mill Valley residents who saw nearby ridges of Mt. Tamalpais being slated for development grew into a community effort to save North Ridge. Citizens rallied, lobbied, and ultimately convinced the voters to pass Measure A, thus assuring a stream of tax dollars to fund acquisitions of lands as open space throughout the County.
Whatever the exact words, Joske was persuaded to spearhead the formation of what became the Marin County Open Space District, later renamed Marin County Parks, with Joske as its chief and Brian Wittenkeller as its first planner. Over four decades, Marin County Parks has continued to acquire hundreds of undeveloped parcels from willing sellers, totaling more than 20, acres.
Much of this acreage became open space preserves—now 34 in total.
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The preserves are complemented by four regional parks, as well as many active sports facilities, picnic areas, and paths. An attorney by training, she has the enthusiasm and vision of someone who looks forward to many years of commitment of service to the environment. Point Reyes peninsula photo courtesy and copyright Bob Grace. Tomales Bay photo courtesyTim Rosenfeld. Help support the Marin Conservation League and protect and preserve Marin County's beautiful natural assets.
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