It was not quite the moon landing, but nearly as significant, the first footprints of man making an impression in the soft, thick soil. Call it one small step for Mare Island, one giant leap for hikers of all kinds as the first official guided walk of the Mare Island San Pablo Bay Trail took place Oct. 9. A small group of about nine enthusiastic nature lovers, led by the affable and keen-eyed Brian Collett, Mare Island Heritage Trust naturalist and board member, ventured out into the marsh for a late afternoon glimpse of the new trail. The nearly four-mile round trip hike got walkers within 100 yards of San Pablo Bay and netted them stunning views of the marsh, its range of topography, golden grasses and reeds, colorful pickleweed and an exciting array of birds, including mourning doves, kestrels, killdeers, kites, harriers, stilts and mallard ducks. The trail, long in development by Weston Solutions, was once the site of a landfill (thus, its location off of Dump Road), but now boasts a beautiful man-made marsh pond and stations with an information kiosk and interpretive panels along the way providing guidance on Mare Island history and flora and fauna. The landfill area has been hydroseeded with native grasses soon to spring forth with the coming rains. The trail is expected to officially open to the public in November. Because the area is a wildlife refuge, home to native endangered species, dogs will not be allowed on the trail. Watch this blog for more information on the official opening.