Hills conservation network


...but this beautiful place of quiet sanctuary is being threatened.

Since the Oakland hills firestorm of 1991, there has been a growing movement to eliminate vegetation as a means to lessen fire danger. While the actual cause of the ’91 firestorm was the result of a toxic mixture of unfavorable atmospheric conditions coupled with numerous human/infrastructure failings, a small but vocal group has been pressuring various public agencies that own significant land parcels in the area to remove several species of foliage that they have deemed to be a significant fire risk.

To further make the case, it has been asserted that since these species are not “native” (although they have been here for a very long time), this is yet more reason to demand their eradication.

An interesting aspect of these programs is that they are not targeted for the canyon that burns every 20-30 years, but rather the adjacent areas that have had few, if any, fire issues. To remove trees in Claremont Canyon to minimize the threat of fire in the canyon overlooking highway 24 would seem to be a rather obtuse way to address the real problem....but that’s what’s happening.

In response to this pressure, the University of California, East Bay Regional Parks District, and East Bay Municipal Utilities have been systematically removing eucalyptus and Monterey pine trees from the Oakland/Berkeley hills. One can see their handiwork along Grizzly Peak and Skyline, and increasingly in Claremont/Gwyn canyons.

The following pages provide a graphic depiction of the type of damage done by these projects.


The Oakland/Berkeley Hills is a place of great beauty. This wonderful place marking the dividing line between Oakland and Berkeley has been a place of quiet, shade, and nature in abundance for many decades.

With its wondrous mix of oaks, bay trees, pines, eucalyptus, and a wide range of other foliage, this place is home not only to a small number of lucky humans, but a great number of deer, squirrels, skunks, foxes, raccoons, and all manner of other creatures.