The park district now offers a free mobile phone app designed to bring convenient safety information and features to park and trail users.

Park visitors may easily access the app at ebparkstrailsafe.org to learn about park safety tips and trail use etiquette and to obtain public safety phone numbers. The TrailSafe app includes tips on hiking safely with dogs or children, hiking near grazing animals, and encountering wildlife. Crime prevention and outdoor preparedness tips are also included.

The "check in" feature allows users to connect with their personal Facebook or Twitter social media accounts by sharing their location with trusted friends, including the name of the park they are visiting and GPS coordinates.

The TrailSafe web app was developed and funded by the Bay Area refineries. To use the new TrailSafe web app, go to ebparkstrailsafe.org using your mobile phone; or look for the TrailSafe link on the district's home page at www.ebparks.org.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: There will be music in the air again Aug. 8, at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda, as the park's free concert series concludes with a battle of the bands. Featured performers will be two KFOG Radio local scene bands: Robin Applewood and The Orange Peels.

The visitor center will offer activities on its deck starting at 4:30 p.m.; the concert is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. You can bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic dinner to make an evening of it.


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Food and beverages also will be sold on site. No alcoholic beverages may be brought into the park, though beer and wine will be available for purchase and consumption, only in a special area. Crab Cove Visitor Center is located at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue in Alameda. Parking is on Webster Street or at the Crown Beach lot at Otis and West Line drives.

The concert series is sponsored by the Alameda Rotary Club, the Regional Parks Foundation, and the park district. Volcanoes will be the focus at Crab Cove's Family Nature Fun Time program from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2-3. For information on the concert or the volcano program, call 510-544-3187.

SUNDAY STROLL: The park district's Sunday Stroll series continues this weekend with a walk from 10 a.m. to noon at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline in San Leandro.

Meet at the Neptune Drive parking lot for an easy, two-mile stroll on a former landfill site transformed into a bayside park. It's a great family excursion, and dogs are welcome, too. For information, call 510-544-3187.

TILDEN HIKES: Up the hill at Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley hills, there are a couple of nature walks scheduled Sunday, both led by naturalist "Trail Gail" Broesder.

The first one is longer and more strenuous: a hike from the Environmental Education Center to the top of Wildcat Peak, from 9 to 11 a.m. The reward for your exertions is panoramic views of the North Bay Area.

There's a less strenuous stroll from 1:30 to 3 p.m., a walk to Jewel Lake in search of signs of local wildlife. Both programs are free. The center is located at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

SWEEP AWAY FRENCH BROOM: And the war on invasive French broom plants continues at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.

If you'd like to volunteer, meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at the park's Canyon Meadow staging area. It's off Redwood Road about two miles east of the intersection with Skyline Boulevard. The group will help to remove French broom from the East Ridge Trail. Tools will be provided. For information, call 888-327-2757, option 3, ext. 4553.

BIG BREAK CRITTERS: "Critter Clues" will be the theme of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

Participants will make plaster casts of animal tracks, examine chewed branches and listen to bird calls to determine what animals are out and about in the park. While you're there, check out the new visitor center exhibits. The program is free. Big Break is located at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at nedmackay@comcast.net.