Gay for Good helps out in the park

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The Friends of Glen Canyon Park have intermittent help with their ongoing stewardship of the neighborhood’s 70-acre natural area.

On September 14, 30 Gay for Good volunteers worked along side three Rec and Park’s Natural Areas Program gardeners, pushing back willow adjacent to Alms Road and pruning Himalayan blackberry on the last leg of the recently completed Creeks to Peaks Trial.

Gay For Good volunteers Tony Inojosa and Paul Huber relaxing after three hours of working in Glen Canyon.

Gay For Good volunteers Tony Inojosa and Paul Huber relaxing after three hours of working in Glen Canyon.

Founded in 2009, the San Francisco G4G chapter boasts 2,000 Facebook friends, includes hundreds of volunteers and schedules a volunteer event each month.

“We’ve were last in Glen Canyon two years ago,” said Paul Huber, G4G chapter leader. Huber had just completed sweeping the path running along the north bank of Islias Creek of hundreds of eucalyptus bulbs. “The changes since we were last here are incredible.”

Surrounded by a ring of volunteers, Huber faced the box steps ascending the thirsty eastern grassland, not even a whiff of the much-ballyhooed winter El Nino scenting the air.

Tim Miller, Paul Huber, Robert Camacho, Alan Pellman

Tim Miller, Paul Huber, Robert Camacho, Alan Pellman

“The playground’s been remodeled, the tennis courts are new and the stairs all make a huge difference,” said Huber, who sells property for Pacific Union Real Estate and has a feel for capital improvements.

With the mission of mobilizing its LGBT members to interact with their communities by volunteering their time for social welfare and environmental service projects, G4G boasts chapters in Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Dallas, the Twin Cities, and Seattle.

Using power saw, Rec and Park gardener, Jenny Sotelo, cutting thick willow limbs along Alms Road.

Using power saw, Rec and Park gardener, Jenny Sotelo, cutting thick willow limbs along Alms Road.

“We’re always looking for additional efforts,” said Huber, surveying his volunteers, 25 of whom were first-timers. “We can get lots done in three hours.”

Giving up their time, G4G’s San Francisco volunteers have built trails in Golden Gate Park, worked on habitat projects at the Presidio, cleared derelict lots in blighted neighborhoods, maintained the Aids Memorial Grove, sorted books for the Friends of the Public Library, repackaged donated food for City food banks, and even rejuvenated the San Francisco zoo.

“We usually get around 80 volunteers for our zoo work,” Huber said, clad in a G4G T-shirt. “Recently we built a big sand box for the cats and painted the petting zoo.”

No question about sandy holding pens for free-ranging canyon coyotes and any thought of petting one, well, it’s just not encouraged.

In fact, the question that begged asking is whether Huber and his volunteers were aware of the carnivores, probably dining upon mice and gophers the very moment he and his friends finished the snacks he’d brought.

“It’s impressive how organized the Natural Areas Program is,” Huber said, as Rec and Park gardeners Jenny Sotelo and Jon Campo placed their tools in their truck flatbed.

The same might be said of Gay For Good, with its assistance in making Alms Road more accessible during this treacherous fire season, as well as the path used by Glenridge Nursery School children.

“It’s about getting involved, making new friends, and making a difference,” said Huber. “We do good and always have fun doing it.”

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