Tour stop: Coyote Creek & Drawbridge Observation Point
Coyote Creek Watershed
With headwaters starting deep within Henry Coe State Park near Morgan Hill, Coyote Creek travels 64 miles north through San Jose and ends in the south San Francisco Bay. The fresh water from Coyote Creek helps balance the nearby saline ecosystems thus allowing a wider variety of plants and wildlife to flourish. As the largest watershed in Santa Clara County, Coyote Creek faces many issues such as urbanization, trash, pollution and alteration. Do your part and help protect this wonderful ecosystem.
Drawbridge: Our local ghost town
Drawbridge, the ghost town of the South Bay, once florished as a paradise for duck hunters and adventure seekers alike. Originally occupied by a sole bridge attendant in 1876, by 1926 Drawbridge would eventually grow to have 80 to 90 homes, two hotels, boat builders and many gun clubs. As the landscape became polluted by sewage and chemicals from the nearby canneries, residents began to abandon their former homes. The last resident, Charlie Luce, moved out of Drawbridge in 1979.
Southern Pacific Coast Railroad
The narrow-gauge South Pacific Coast Railroad began its operation in May 15, 1880. Built by Comstock millionaire James Fair and Alfred "Hog" Davis, the rail line ran from Alameda to Santa Cruz. James Fair was an Irish immigrant, he grew up in Illinois and then moved West. He worked many gold mines, and silver mines. He ultimately invested in the Comstock Mining District in Virginia City, Nevada where he made his millions. Alfred "Hog" Davis, a banker, was his partner and front man. Over 600 Chinese immigrants worked to lay the track, built the two over 5,000 foot tunnels. The work was dangerous and sadly, 31 workers died building the railroad line. The narrow gauge was best for the winding tracks that led up into the Santa Cruz mountains. The train transported passengers and freight. Freight included redwood lumber from the Santa Cruz Mountains and fruit from the Santa Clara Valley. Much of the line was decommissioned in the 1930's. However today, the portion that goes through the marshes of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is managed by Union Pacific, and is used by Altamont Commuter Express (ACE), Amtrak, and many freight trains. This single track is one of the busiest tracks in Northern California!
Sea Level Rise
Sea level rise is a result of anthropogenic global warming which causes ice caps to melt and water levels to increase along coastal regions. As water rises, it will change the landscape and force plants and animals to adapt quickly to a changing environment. Tidal wetlands are a natural buffer against flooding since they are capable of absorbing much of the extra water like a sponge and releasing it back to the Bay at a slower rate. Also, the marsh plants and soil sequester carbon dioxide in the air.
Back to homepage: https://sfbayws.org/refuge-tour