When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." -John Muir
I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I'm part of a select few individuals who have bushwhacked the Crestmoor Canyon in San Bruno.
Probably one of most underutilized and underrated small pieces of open space on the SF Peninsula, the Crestmoor Canyon, was cut by San Bruno Creek. Sadly San Bruno Creek, like many others on the peninsula, has largely been diverted into our sewer system. But here in the Crestmoor canyon San Bruno Creek sees the light of day and gives Life to a vibrant ecosystem. And when the canyon ends the creek disappears beneath San Bruno only to reappear at its mouth in San Francisco Bay.
The Crestmoor Canyon really is a place of great wonder and splendor providing natural experiences for the residents that live around it and a home for a variety of wildlife. There's a very active pack of Coyotes that make their home in the canyon floor and often howl back at the sirens of emergency vehicles in the surrounding metropolis. In the sky above Redtail Hawks can be seen and heard daily.
There is a rudimentary trail system in place solely based on firebreaks and trails maintained by local foot traffic. Because of the proximity to an urban environment that completely surrounds this open space with many portal points litter and invasive plant species are huge problems. Although most of the litter is clearly blown in from the neighborhoods around, some is left behind by people who should just carry out their trash. Furthermore the canyon floor at one point is marred by piles of asphalt left by the City of San Bruno for some unknown reason. And like many of the open spaces in the bay area it has an abandoned shell of a car from some freewheeling bygone days.
On the southern edge of the Canyon is San Bruno Avenue, across from the Lunardi's supermarket unbeknownst to most a newly arrived mini Canyon that has eroded so fast that root structures from trees hang in the air. If the rate of this erosion continues it will eat out a chunk San Bruno Ave.
Some residents of the Crestmoor II neighborhood note that the mini canyon formed sometime after the infamous explosion in 2010. I have no evidence for that except for the fact that the beautiful blue colored rock the canyon consists of is not rock all, but a type of loose clay that would be very weak in any type of impact.
Currently the city of San Bruno owns the Crestmoor Canyon. Plans to develop it into a freeway route cutting through the SF watershed to the coast ended in uprising in the 1969 and that is why the western end of the 380 interchange is mess the it is. Democracy in action saved the canyon and the wildlife within, or so says longtime residents of the Crestmoor II neighborhood.
We have those people to thank for this beautiful piece of open space in our urban environment. But is up to us to decide if we would like to manage it as a park, integrate it into our greater trail system , or simply leave it be. But what we cannot allow for is the Crestmoor Canyon to be "developed". We know it is in some peril because we know when land values are high, open spaces without an active user base will always be eyeballed by developers. It is up to us to be engaged with our public open spaces and use our power of democracy to keep them protected.