Solano Roll 

Tighten your Greenbelt

SUN 10/5

Imagine a world without regional parks, rangers, or trails -- without the variety of Tilden or Joaquin Miller; the beautiful trees of Redwood; the Lakes of Anza, Temescal, and Chabot. Outdoor enthusiasts in Benicia, Vallejo, and Fairfield don't need to imagine: Despite being the fastest-growing county in the Bay Area, Solano has no regional park district. Thank heavens for the Solano Land Trust, a private nonprofit organization that has been buying up open space in Solano County since 1986 and preserving it the best they know how. If one day the Board of Supervisors creates a parks infrastructure, there are a few thousand protected acres ready to go amongst the farmland, ranches, and gentle hills of Solano.

A little more than a thousand of those acres belong to Lynch Canyon, an area northwest of Interstate 80 between American Canyon Road and Highway 12. Acquired in 1996, this enclosed watershed features rolling hills and meadows, groves of native trees, and 900-foot ridges that showcase great views of the Bay Area and beyond. A new trail in Lynch Canyon adds another link to the 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail and is open by special arrangement only a few times per month to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. This weekend, local-land-use nonprofit Greenbelt Alliance sponsors an easy three-mile hike in Lynch Canyon as part of their fall Peak Experience series.

"Our Greenbelt Outings are designed to get Bay Area residents out into the open space," says outings coordinator Julie Cummins. "[We want] to introduce local residents to parks they might not know were even there." See Greenbelt.org for the full menu of hikes led by knowledgeable volunteers who focus on plants, history, and land conservation issues for the terrain they cover. A discussion topic for Sunday's hike is Fairfield's Measure L, an antisprawl measure on the ballot for November that would give voters -- rather than the city council -- control over city boundary lines. For directions and reservations, call Greenbelt Alliance at 415-255-3233 or check the Web site. -- Annika Dukes

10/4-10/5

Swimmingly

Kind course

As swimming events go, this one is pretty low-impact. But you can still make a big splash at Swim a Mile for Women with Cancer by raising a minimum of $150 and then -- guess what -- swimming a mile. Register online at WCRC.org, print out a pledge form, and use it to record the pledges you collect from family, friends, that guy who asks you for change outside 7-11 (wouldn't that be a switch), whoever. Then show up at Mills College Trefethen Aquatic Center this weekend between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., plunk down your registration fee, and do that watery thing. And you don't have to be totally amphibious, either. Fins, buoys, and snorkels are all A-OK by the Women's Cancer Resource Center, the organizers of this noncompetitive event. -- Stefanie Kalem

SUN 10/5

Seeing Stars

The San Jose Earthquakes last played the New York/New Jersey MetroStars to a 4-4 tie in the Meadowlands on July 2, so the Western Division-leading 14-5-7 Quakes will be ready for a rematch this Sunday (1 p.m.) at Spartan Stadium. The 10-8-8 Jerseyites, vying with Chicago for command of the Eastern pack, are led by US national team stalwarts forward/midfielder Clint Mathis and defender Eddie Pope. As the MLS season heads into its home stretch, San Jose has to contend with recent injuries to MF Richard Mulrooney and D Jeff Agoos. But San Jose's ace in the hole, besides all-world Landon Donovan, is rookie sensation Jamil Walker. SJEarthquakes.com -- Kelly Vance

SAT 10/4

Fiddlers on the Hoof

When last we heard of Creeky Routson, the nationally recognized East Bay equestrienne was putting on her 2001 dressage show, Le Carrousel du Roi. She's still teaching horses to dance to music -- as this weekend's event at Walnut Creek's Heather Farm Park demonstrates. Saturday afternoon's horse exhibition (4:30 p.m.) features more equine choreography, and it benefits the Mount Diablo Gateway Alliance, which is dedicated to preserving a wildlife and scenic corridor on the approaches to Mt. Diablo State Park. Tickets cost $50; for further information, call 925-947-3535. -- Kellly Vance

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