San Francisco Bay Chapter Sierra Club

California sea lion

California sea lion

Wilderness and Wildlife Habitat

In the urbanized Bay Area, how much of the "wild" do we have? Actually quite a lot. Even within the Bay Area we have a couple of wilderness areas, as well as the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. California has more federally protected wilderness than any other state except Alaska.

Our Chapter Wilderness Committee is working during 2014 to promote events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. For more information about getting involved, contact Chapter 50th coordinator Anne Henny at, or contact Cassie Barr at or Vicky Hoover at or (415)977-5527.

The Bayshore

The shores of San Francisco Bay provide remarkable havens for wildlife adjacent to intensely urban areas. We work to protect and bring long-term ecological restoration to these lands, especially to the wetlands and adjacent uplands, which support great biodiversity, in many instances despite their past uses as industrial areas or landfills.

To learn more about our shoreline efforts see Shorelines and Wetlands.

Rural Areas

The Bay Area's rural areas are rich in natural values. For example, we have been working to prevent a road-widening project in Niles Canyon from destroying native vegetation and damaging trout habitat in adjacent Alameda Creek.

A key current campaign is the effort to protect Doolan Canyon, between Dublin and Livermore, from development.

For over a decade one of the Bay Chapter's highest priorities has establishing and enforcing Urban Growth Boundaries to keep development from overwhelming the East Bay's open spaces and agricultural lands. Even after our tremendous victories in 2000 establishing such lines in both counties, these lines have required eternal vigilance.

A unique long-term involvement of the Chapter's is the Altamont Open Space Fund, established as the result of a settlement agreement that the Chapter negotiated in 1999, which uses funds raised by a surcharge on landfill dumping fees to help preserve native biodiversity, protect important viewsheds, and acquire land suitable for non-motorized recreation in Eastern Alameda County. A Chapter representative serves on the committee that disburses the funds. In 2012 the Fund provided funds to help the East Bay Regional Park District acquire the 1,378-acre Robertson property on Sunol-Pleasanton Ridge. In 2013 the Fund provided funds for three valuable purchases.

Urban Parks and Natural Areas

The Bay Area probably has the most extensive parks of any metropolitan area. Some of these lands are quite wild, but small open spaces within the cities also support native vegetation and wildlife.

The Sierra Club's San Francisco Group makes special efforts to support San Francisco's Natural Areas Program, which preserves and restores remnants of the City's biological communities.

Our Wild America

The Chapter works with the Sierra Club's national Our Wild America campaign (formerly called Resilient Habitats), to engage an increasingly diverse nation in protecting all sorts of habitat, wild and human. Our Wild America work in California includes efforts to protect forests in the Sierra Nevada, protect the California coast, and help local communities connect with and protect nature nearby.

The Ocean

On Dec. 20, 2012, President Obama began action to add nearly 3,000 square miles off the Sonoma/Mendocino County Coast to the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. We had been working for many years towards this goal.

Outings into the Wild

The Bay Chapter also sponsors dozens of outings every month to give you a chance to see and learn about our local wild lands.