June 2020 Community Center Calendar
Public meetings are cancelled until further notice due to the
2 | HVCA Board |
9 | HVLT Board |
16 | Firewise Committee |
| Sanitary District Board |
1st/3rd Wed. | Tam Design Review Board |
Saturdays | A. A. Meeting |
Wednesdays | Mill Valley Zen Meditation |
Fridays | SingDancePlay - Music Together |
"There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen."
This quote seems as relevant today as ever before. While it's true that we continue to see and experience harsh realities of our "new normal", there are signs that the fog is lifting and change is afoot. In the coming weeks and months you will be hearing (and seeing) of new updates and projects that will enhance this very special community of ours. The first is an update on our local camp - Camp Funderblast- that is conducted in our Meadow:
As part of the County's phased approach to reopening detailed in the Marin Recovers website, youth activities including Summer camps have been approved to start beginning June 1, 2020 under specific guidelines outlined here. Camp Funderblast, a long time partner of Homestead Valley offering both Summer day camps and after school programs for the community, has requested to begin offering camp again within the meadow starting June 15, 2020. The HVCA board has reviewed the site specific protocol for Camp Funderblast at the Homestead meadow and has approved the reopening of camp during a Special Meeting convened on May 27, 2020.
Because we understand the value of the meadow to our community during this time of Shelter in Place, the Board took this request very seriously and convened a Special Meeting to discuss ways in which we ensure we strike the right balance between space for camp and space for the community at a safe distance. There are a number of provisions in place to conduct camp as part of the guidelines, including a much scaled down camp size, which will allow for both camp to be conducted and for the community to use the meadow. We also remain extremely confident in our partnership with Camp Funderblast and will be conducting weekly check-ins to discuss any process updates that may need to be addressed as we work our way through this very fluid reopening process.
If you have additional questions or would like to speak further to this, please feel free to reach out. As always, take care of each other and see you out in the community!
President, HVCA Board of Directors
Development is underway for a new, beautiful, education-based native, pollinator, fire-wise, water-wise display garden in the area between Montford and the HVCA parking lot. Project is funded primarily thru generous grants from Marin County, Outdoor Art Club and Marin Municipal Water District. You can look forward to plant ID signs, an educational kiosk and web content in the months ahead.
July 4th Parade and Picnic
Out of great concern for everyone's safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual July 4th Parade and Picnic has been regretfully cancelled this year.
We look forward to celebrating with everyone again next year.
Please stay safe and enjoy a wonderful Independence Day holiday!
The Goats Are Coming
By Claudette Heisler and Marabeth Grahame
This coming August, 2020, for a period of 2 to 3 weeks, 400 goats (and possibly some sheep) will enter the boundaries of Homestead Valley to help with brush management and wildfire abatement. This 'Goat Rodeo' will make its way from Cowboy Rock across the south facing hillsides of the Homestead Valley Land Trust to Pixie, to Janes, munching as they go. Accompanying the herd will be a shepherd and two breeds of highly trained working dogs: a Great Pyrenees to guard the flock, and several border collies to herd it. This fire fuel reduction effort is funded by our Firewise grant to help reduce the fuel load on this land.
Much of the area involved is heavily trafficked by Homestead Valley residents of all ages, some with their dogs. As is common when the goats arrive at a site, there is a lot of curiosity and interest, which we welcome. They are fun and exciting to watch. However there are rules:
- As is typical, the herd will be encircled at all times by an electric fence. If a dog or human touches the fence they will receive a shock. Please keep a safe distance from the fence.
- Pet owners must keep their dogs on leash and under control. This temporary leash law is necessary for the safety of all, as the herd's guard dog is trained to protect and might perceive your pet as a threat.
- Feeding of goats or working dogs is prohibited.
We'll have more to say later this summer as the date gets closer. In the meantime, you can go to the website of Star Creek Land Stewards
who are bringing the herd,
By Marabeth Grahame
With the recent spring rains, the ticks are experiencing a big resurgence. I hike or work out in the open space almost every and, lately, I am finding ticks frequently on my dog or me. As ticks can carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme disease, I take all tick bites very seriously.
Many tick safety discussions share the good advice to wear pants tucked into your socks and long sleeved light colored clothing so you can see the ticks and prevent them from biting you. Following are additional safety procedures that I practice to prevent tick bites and to stay safe if I am bitten.
- As soon as possible after leaving tick habitat, take off your clothes and stash them somewhere - washing machine, plastic bag. Assume there are ticks on your clothes.
- Bathe and examine yourself for ticks. When an adult tick bites, it hurts and you will likely feel it but not the nymphs, which are the size and color of a poppy seed.
If you are bitten by a tick
- Remove the tick and SAVE it. Seal it in a plastic bag with a moist scrap of paper towel so it doesn't dry out. A lab cannot test a dried out tick.
- Examine the tick and determine if it is an American Dog Tick or Western Blacklegged Tick (see pic). I photograph ticks so I can zoom in and see enough detail to ID them. The American Dog Tick does not carry Lyme disease and the County Health Lab will discard it and keep your money if you submit one for testing.
- If you have been bitten by a Western Blacklegged Tick, bring it (or send it in these days of COVID) to the County Health Lab where they will test it for the bacteria that causes Lyme. This will cost you $34 per tick.
Having not made it into the wild parts of the valley for some months, I set out from downtown Mill Valley, up the Dipsea steps, and across Edgewood, stopping at Cowboy Rock. It was late afternoon.
There was warm sun, with cool salt air pouring around, and fog streaming over Homestead Hill. Tamalpais Canyon and the upper valley lay below me. The cares of the day flowed away with the breeze.
Soon I was heading up the Eagle Trail, stepping over the fallen bays, loving the glimpses of Three Groves Garden through the redwoods. A year ago I sawed through most of the bay trunk blockade, and now there is a new set.
Losing myself in the rhythm of fern and bay clad gullies alternating with oak and oat grass high spots, I came to Homestead Trail down the south side of the valley, and soon was home.
My body was home, but my head was full of dancing soap-root lilies, harvest brodiaea, monkey flowers, yarrow, and pearly everlasting. Shirley Mitchell told me that the reason soap-roots open so late in the day is that they are pollinated by moths at night.
These timeless articles are reprinted from "On Foot in Homestead A Hiker's Journal of a Coastal Valley," by Matthew Davis, 1988. Matthew Davis (1935-2015), a former HVLT Board member, wrote articles which appeared in the Homestead Headlines beginning in 1984. In 1988 Matthew compiled his columns into a book "On Foot in Homestead - A Hiker's Journal of a Coastal Valley," published by the HVLT.
Mother's Day Bomb
At 11 pm on Mothers Day, May 10, 2020, the UC Berkeley Bomb Squad detonated explosives discovered on Homestead Valley Open Space land above the Weedon Redwoods grove.
Earlier at 4 pm, a hiker was walking off-trail to avoid other hikers, a Covid-19 precaution. He recognized on the ground two partially buried ammunition canisters. He knew such were
available as military surplus. He opened one of them and found that it contained blasting fuses of a type that became obsolete many years ago. He called the sheriff. They met in Stolte Grove at 5 pm and hiked up Eagle Trail and then west to the location. The sheriff removed the fuses from the canister. He called his office and was told to secure the site. At 8 pm the Bomb Squad arrived in a large truck and parked it in Stolte Grove. Throughout the evening one could see men with bright flashlights going up and down Eagle Trail. Present at Stolte Grove were sheriff deputies, HV Land Trust board members, a Parks Ranger truck and a fire engine. After everyone had come down the trail, the Bomb Squad initiated the explosion that was heard as far away as Scott Valley.
This was a case of déja vu all over again. On Saturday, December 18, 2004,
the UC Berkeley Bomb Squad detonated explosives in seven canisters near the Ridgewood Trail on Homestead Valley Open Space land. A hiker had seen partially buried rusted drab-green military-style ammunitions canisters. They were about 30 feet off the trail and about 100 feet from the end of Castle Rock Drive. The Bomb Squad found more such canisters some of which were completely buried. All had likely been there for several years. At 3:30 pm, thirty families had to evacuate from their homes on Castle Rock Drive. The Bomb Squad detonated explosives in the seven canisters, one at a time. The seventh explosion was at 10:45 pm. Residents were then allowed to return to their homes. One of the blasts had blown out a window in the nearest house. The explosions left a crater about 10 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep. It was determined that the canisters contained Tetrytol, a high explosive used for demolition, mining and artillery shells. It consists of 25% TNT (trinitrotoluene) and 75% Tetryl (2,4,6-trinitrophenyl-N-methylnitramine).
On Sunday evening, May 10th, the Berkeley bomb squad safely destroyed ordnance found along Homestead Trail (at 6A on the Homestead Valley Trail Map). The area where the ordinance was discovered is off trail, and was searched. No additional ordnance was found. We believe that this item was placed in the discovered location more than 40 years ago. As a reminder, and to ensure public safety, please stay on the designated public paths while enjoying our trail system.
We hope this finds all our friends and neighbors healthy, happy and safe at home in these continuing turbulent times. As of this writing, the shelter-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues. All public meetings and gatherings are cancelled indefinitely. Due to this order, the Homestead Valley Pool opening has been postponed until further notice.
"We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
HVCA contact information:
Marin County Coronavirus website:
Individuals may contact Marin Health and Human Services with non-medical questions about the coronavirus by calling (415) 473-7191 (Monday - Friday, 9:30 AM to 12 Noon and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM) or emailing
Community Center Office
David Ross, Executive Director
Ashley MacDonald, Vice-President
Brian Spring, President
Bonner Beuhler, Manager
Stolte Grove Rentals
Joint Marin Horizon School/Homestead Valley Committee
Christina Oldenburg, Co-Chair
Bill Perrine, Co-Chair
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