Discover Diablo: Nonprofit launching free Mt. Diablo hike series

Twice-monthly program starts this weekend

Local nonprofit Save Mount Diablo is kicking off its new series of free guided public hikes on Mount Diablo with a pair of events this weekend.

"Discover Diablo," sponsored by Shell Martinez Refinery, will offer guided walks, hikes and interpretive tours twice per month this year with the goals of increasing awareness about local land conservation and open space protection, reaching new audiences and sparking a passion among adventurers, explorers and outdoor enthusiasts, organizers said.

"It is the goal of the 'Discover Diablo' program to build connections between people and land, helping communities develop a strong sense of place and a deepened appreciation for our collective backyard," Ted Clement, executive director of Save Mount Diablo, said in a statement this week.

"Most importantly," he added, "We want to cultivate a love of the land in participants -- so as to grow the land ethic and stewardship for our precious Mount Diablo area."

Each month, Save Mount Diablo will host two events: one taking place and focusing on one of its properties and the other designed for families on other public parks.

The Save Mount Diablo property tours aim to "illustrate the importance of preserving wildlife habitat, building corridors between existing parks, and of course, all the beauty that the Diablo Range has to offer," according to the nonprofit.

The series is set to launch on Saturday at 9 a.m. with a hike at the nonprofit's 40-acre Oak Hill Lane property in Clayton. It is described as an easy-rated, two-mile hike with 300-foot elevation change, and it will be led by Save Mount Diablo's Oak Hill Lane property stewards, Fred Massel and Bennett Berke.

A second walk will follow on Sunday through the East Bay Regional Park District's Castle Rock Park, described as an easy-paced nature walk good for families with children. Dubbed the "Pine Canyon Family Walk," the event starts at 9 a.m. at the park located at 1700 Castle Rock Road in Walnut Creek.

RSVP is required. To register or see the full schedule of "Discover Diablo" hikes, visit the Save Mount Diablo event webpage.

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