The Fremont Podcast

Bonus Episode: Audio Tours and The End Of An Era with Ishan Gohel

March 29, 2024 Ricky B Season 3
The Fremont Podcast
Bonus Episode: Audio Tours and The End Of An Era with Ishan Gohel
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this bonus episode of The Fremont Podcast, our editor, Andrew talks with Ishan Gohel, an Eagle Scout in Fremont.
His Eagle Scout project is an audio tour for the Sabercat Historical Park located in the Mission San Jose district of Fremont. 
Gohel researched and recorded the tour himself and then produced the audio with the help of his brother. He worked with Fremont city officials, his troop leaders, officials at PG&E and the local community to create the necessary infrastructure for the audio tour. QR codes are set up on sign posts along the Sabercat Historic Creek Trail.
You can listen to the audio tour files here:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Pe4lS-XCJoHc8pgizaU0katjEN5ym_gM

The four main entrances to the Sabercat Historical Park can be found on:
Via Orinda
Quema Drive
Gallegos Ave.
and Becado Place.
**Although there are other, smaller, neighborhood entrances without parking.
If you would like to learn more about the city’s ongoing creek restoration efforts and how to volunteer your time to clean up the creek, please contact: Sabrina Siebert at SSiebert@fremont.govor by phone at 510-552-3675.

Fremont Bank has been serving our community for over 60 year. Find out more about them in Episode 104 or on their website here. 

Get 20% off on your first order at Minuteman Press in Fremont. Let them know you heard about them on the podcast.

Don't miss the Ohlone College Flea Market each month on the 2nd Saturday. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


The Ohlone College Flea Market takes place this month on April 13th. Don't miss it.

Fremont Bank is our newest sponsor. They have been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

...
Speaker 1:

Hello, this is Andrew. We have a bonus episode for you this week. We'll be back next week with our regular formatted show. This bonus episode is about half an hour or so and there are no ad breaks. So I would like to give a special thanks to all of our current sponsors. Petrocelli Homes, banter Bookshop and Minuteman Press Really appreciate all of your financial support. If the listeners would like to financially support us, buymeacoffeecom. Slash the Fremont podcast, slash memberships. It's $1 a month. Anyway, you all came here for the episode, so here you go. Good morning, sir. How are you? I'm good. How are you?

Speaker 2:

Good, you're, andrew right.

Speaker 1:

I'm Andrew.

Speaker 2:

It's really nice to meet you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, nice to meet you too. Yeah, thanks for coming out and talking to me. Yeah, no problem. Can I get you to introduce yourself? Can I get you to?

Speaker 2:

introduce yourself. My name is Ishan Gohel and I'm an Eagle Scout with Troop 111 in Fremont, california.

Speaker 1:

We are here on Sabercat Historical Trail, the Sabercat Historical Park, but specifically, why are we talking to you?

Speaker 2:

Because I created this audio tour. Because I created this audio tour, abercat Creek is one of several streams within the 25-square-mile Laguna Creek watershed that drains to the foothills of the Diablo Range. As these creeks flow across flatter lower ground in urban Fremont, they travel from natural open channels to underground culverts and concrete-lined engineered channels.

Speaker 1:

So let me just ask, like, what prompted you to make this audio tour for the Sabercat Creek Historical Trail?

Speaker 2:

I grew up living right across the street from the trail. My entire life I've lived up the staircase and I've wanted to give back to the trail that I used to get to school when I was little and that I use every day to walk my dog or to give me peace of mind. I mean, it's helped me a lot in terms of, like, my mental health and also just being a kind of serene place for me to go whenever I feel down or something like that, and I wanted to be able to give back to it and I guess this is my way of giving back.

Speaker 1:

And when did you know, when did it solidify in your mind that this was your Eagle Scout project?

Speaker 2:

When I was looking into Eagle Scout projects, because it was the next step for me to become an Eagle Scout. I was just looking online and I stumbled across a website where one of the ideas that they had was creating an audio tour for a local historical trail. I immediately thought about Savory cat, because there's so much history behind this trail that not many people know about. It's all displayed on the signs throughout the trail, but a lot of times people don't have the time to stop their walk or their jog to be able to read a sign, and I wanted people to actually be able to know more about the trail that I know so many people use daily, and I wanted them to know a little bit more about their community.

Speaker 1:

Let's walk.

Speaker 2:

Up ahead we have the trail that leads to Bonda Terrace and then on the left side and on the right side we have a trail that leads to an overlook of I-680. I come here a lot for jogs and stuff like that, and I come here to walk my dog a lot too. This trail that we're about to go on going to 680, I'm always amazed by the amount of beauty and the amount of wildlife here. Whenever I'm stressed out or tired or something like that, then I feel like I can come out here and I can just look at the wildlife and look at the peace in this area, especially the area that we're about to go through, where we're right up the hill from the creek. I can just look around and just feel at peace, feel at home.

Speaker 2:

Alston and Tuibin Ohlone's called the place now known as the Fremont Plain home for countless generations. They managed the landscape in a way that increased the numbers and health of the plants and animals on which they relied for food, shelter, clothes, ceremonial regalia, containers, tools, games, toys and more. Spanish, mexican and American settlement brought tremendous disruption, suffering and changes to Ohlones.

Speaker 1:

What's the coolest animal you've seen down here personally?

Speaker 2:

The coolest animal I've seen. Once I saw a coyote right up that hill. We were like right in the area where I saw it, but that was pretty cool. It was only like 30 feet away.

Speaker 1:

Have you been on the smaller cow trails that are up that hill?

Speaker 2:

I haven't, but I do want to go. I feel like there's always more to explore around here.

Speaker 1:

I remember doing those trails and it was the first time I realized that turkeys have wings and they can fly, because one of them came down out of a tree on top of us. It was terrifying.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, turkey vultures. There's a ton of turkey vultures around here. Oh, no, no, I mean full grown turkey.

Speaker 1:

Oh, like an actual turkey sans the vulture. Oh wow, full grown turkey right down on top. Apparently they don't just sit on the ground. That's pretty crazy. Oh, when did this tree fall? Has this been?

Speaker 2:

this way? I think it's been this way ever since I can remember this tree fall. Has it been this way? I think it's been this way, but ever since I can remember this tree has fallen. Amphibians such as the native Pacific tree frog rely on shade and habitat created by oaks, buckeyes, willows and other riparian trees that grow near the creek. Migratory birds depend on the broad canopies of Coast Live Oaks for shelter, including the versatile yellow-browned warbler. These birds spend winter in stream-side woodlands and other somewhat open areas such as this, all the way to Central America. It's a really nice area area and I'm honestly really grateful to have been able to grow up around here, because I don't feel like in many areas you can go to a place right like two minutes down the street from you where you have this serene and beautiful trail where you could just. Whenever I have friends over, I always take them on the trail and they're always amazed by the amount of beauty. That's just down the stairs from my house.

Speaker 1:

Here's well, it's not exactly a plaque, but here's one of those signs that you mentioned earlier. This one says short-faced bear restoration site, and I I know that's not a historical placard and it's just a name that we gave this place. But, uh, what are they? What are they doing to restore it? Do you know this?

Speaker 2:

specific restoration site. I'm not entirely sure what they're trying to do to restore it, but uh, there's multiple restoration sites throughout the trail where people are putting in effort to fix the issues in those specific areas, and I guess that's one of the restoration sites. Have you ever been down there? When I was little, I went down here with my friends. What'd you do? We were filming a project for my history class and, uh, one of the things was being in was being in the trench, because it was a world war one history project and uh, we were just trying to find a place with a, with a hill, a steep hill, that we could just pretend like we're in a trench so that we could film it like that and with like nerf guns Nerf guns simulating like we were part of World War I something like that for the project.

Speaker 1:

And here's a real plaque with actual information. What is this place known for? I mean, I'm staring at it, but what is this Sabercat Creek Trail really, really known for?

Speaker 2:

The Sabercat Creek Trail is known for being in the area that some student paleontologists found Sabercat tiger fossils, the saber-tooth tiger fossils and that's where the trail gets its name Sabercat Trail and it's honestly one of the most interesting parts of the trail. The Boy Paleontologists, a group of boys from Hayward, excavated fossils in the Bell Quarry from 1943 to 1959. Led by Wesley Gordon, the boys unearthed about 150,000 fossils from 58 species. The contribution of the Boy Paleontologists marked the beginning of an ongoing relationship between the local community and researchers that continues to this day and help preserve Sabercat Canyon as a park.

Speaker 1:

So that kid looks about maybe 16, but that little guy is like 11. Yeah, in the picture.

Speaker 2:

They're excavating a fossil in that. Yeah, this used to be where the trail ended.

Speaker 1:

They're excavating a fossil in that. Yeah, this used to be where the trail ended.

Speaker 2:

Where are we about to enter? We're about to enter the dirt trail that Actually there's a few dirt trails that lead to the lookout point for 680. The 680 freeway just down the trail.

Speaker 1:

We've got choices. Which way do you want?

Speaker 2:

to go, and does it matter?

Speaker 1:

I mean it really doesn't matter, it'll all take you to the same place, but we can go left.

Speaker 2:

Have you ever seen deer down here? I have A lot, actually there's a lot of deer that come around here. Usually when I see them, they're pretty far out.

Speaker 1:

What's the closest you've ever gotten to an animal anywhere here or otherwise.

Speaker 2:

besides your dog, it was actually here. There was a snake on the Laurel Glen entrance to Sabercat Trail and I literally stepped over it when and I didn't see it, but, like my, I was with my dad and then my dad was like look, and I was terrified because I thought that maybe I stepped on it or something and I was like an inch away. That's the closest I've been to a wild animal.

Speaker 1:

Well, I can see the bay.

Speaker 2:

That's a really good vantage point out here. During the Rancho Librean Age, California's coastline extended all the way to what are now the Farallon Islands. San Francisco Bay was an inland tool marsh full of wildlife.

Speaker 1:

As soon as you come up that hill, the short hill that we just came up, as the listeners can probably tell 680 makes its presence known. What is that thing they're building. So we were just walking along the official trail and down the slope from us was a creek. We talked about that, but there are actually two creeks and the other one's down there. That one is not an official place that you can go.

Speaker 2:

It's off trail a bit and Boy Scouts teaches you to stay on trail.

Speaker 1:

An Eagle Scout indeed, it looks like there are some drainage pipes that perhaps go under the highway.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, those go under the highway and then onto the other side If you look at the intersection between Washington and Osgoode.

Speaker 1:

Is that near the old pickle factory that's there the ruins that are going to get turned into the Irvington?

Speaker 2:

Bark Station. Oh yeah, right around there. Urbanization and other landscape changes have taken their toll on the health of Sabercat Creek, causing erosion and bank failure. That is bad for the creek and wildlife. Ongoing restoration continues to improve channel stability, water quality and habitat.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's pretty.

Speaker 2:

I mean, it's pretty and full of litter. But I think that's another objective of the restoration projects throughout the trail to clean up the litter that is on the creek and in other areas throughout the trail.

Speaker 1:

Painting a picture to listeners. It's not like this place is ripe with litter, but there's more of it than you want. Oh hey, sabercat Creek Habitation, restoration, volunteer Workdays a flyer from the city of Fremont. So if you're interested in doing some of the restoration you can contact.

Speaker 2:

Sabrina S-I-E-B-E-R-T at fremontgov that was double S at the beginning, yeah, and Sabrina was actually really helpful throughout the entire project. She was the person I was working with the closest. She works with the city of Fremont and she really did a lot to make sure that this project happened. She was really on board with it and she came out to our work day and made sure that everything was, everyone was being safe, and she was a really big help throughout it all.

Speaker 1:

So what did you have to go through? What were some of the requirements for putting up the post about your sign? Because producing the audio is one thing, but making something official down here is another. So tell me about that.

Speaker 2:

So tell me about that. So the first thing that I had to do was contact the city, the park, and see how they would improve it or what they would want me to add into the audio tour or on the sign, and what is allowed, what isn't, which areas I'm allowed to do it in and which areas I'm not. And then I had to get approval from the Boy Scouts to be able to do the project. I had to write up a proposal, a pretty lengthy proposal, and present it in front of the people in charge of Eagle Projects in my district, the Mission Peak district, and once I got it approved by them, then I had to go back to the city of Fremont and start working on it, and part of the proposal was coming up with specific spots throughout the trail where I was planning to put the sign and taking pictures in those areas. And I also had to call PG&E and make sure that I wasn't going to hit any pipelines if I were to dig, because in order to put up the signposts we had to dig pretty deep into the ground so that we could pour concrete to keep it upright.

Speaker 2:

So, uh, it was, uh, it was a lot of different communication that was involved in trying to get it approved in the first place. I think that was the longest part of the project. It was definitely harder than the actual work itself because we were able to get that done in four hours. But the other stuff I had to make sure that everyone was on the same page and that was the lengthiest part of the process. That was the lengthiest part of the process. But again, sabrina helped us out so much and she was really on top of it and she was really making sure that we were doing the project in the right way.

Speaker 1:

People seem to be taking advantage of this trail a lot. I still think of it as a hidden gem, but it's clearly popular.

Speaker 2:

I think, in terms of just Fremont in general and the Bay Area in general, it's definitely a hidden gem general and the bay area in general it's definitely a hidden gem. But, uh, the, the locals that live around here all know about it and all know about how, how nice it is, and I think those are the types of people that you see, especially now because the the weather is getting a lot better so what's this that we're standing in front of?

Speaker 1:

it is an old building. It is a ruin behind some chain link fence and it looks like it's made of concrete and there are some arches on pretty much all four sides of it. What?

Speaker 2:

is it? I think it's a wine cellar. There used to be a lot of wineries around here. Early success did not last. Already compromised by Phyllexera, an insect pest, and the earthquake of 1906, most of the wineries were closed for good by prohibition. Orchards, vegetables farms and dairies replaced vineyards. The building foundation in front of you is the ruin of Paul and Louise DeVos wine storage building. The DeVos Vineyard was the fifth largest in the Washington township at the turn of the 19th century.

Speaker 1:

Without going through the chain link fence, because obviously that's not allowed. Let's go look, okay, yeah, wow, it is. I was not expecting that there are. It's a forest. It's a forest of very skinny trees, like they get chopped down a lot and then they grow back.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it looks like. It definitely looks like a different kind of atmosphere than the rest of the trail. Yeah, it's a forest now.

Speaker 1:

It honestly looks like an art installation piece, like a forest inside a building. So if you go up Lausanne to reach the parking lot here and you come down the hill, you see your Sabercat Historical Park Audio Tour QR code, which is how people can listen to it and you can go left and you can go right and we went right and now we should take a look at what's going on left.

Speaker 2:

It's the longer side. It goes all the way to Pine Street, which is just way down the trail, and it's right across the street from the old Mission Park. It has connections at Paseo, padre and Gallegos and Laurel, glen Common and Pine Street, obviously, and it goes right past Bicado Place.

Speaker 1:

So if it gets to Pine then it goes underneath Paseo Padre, underneath that little bridge.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, it goes right underneath Paseo Padre. Okay, on a busy day in Paseo Padre it's a pretty busy street, so you go underneath. It's kind of interesting because it feels like you're out in the middle of the wilderness, but right above you is a ton of cars. That's why I love this city, because it really is, really does feel like you're outdoors wherever you are. There's so much natural beauty in the area and I think it's really, really underappreciated just the amount of, just the amount of beauty that there is, the different places to go to hike that aren't just Mission Peak or Coyote Hills.

Speaker 1:

On the podcast when we ask people what do you like to do in Fremont? Almost all of it is being out in nature-based Going for a walk here, going for a hike there. Honestly, we're often looking for more than that answer when we prompt them, but it's, it's the thing we hear the most. And yet, I believe you, it is both the only thing that people do and it's underappreciated like there's so much more unless you've heard of it from someone else, people don't really know about this trail outside of the neighborhood.

Speaker 1:

There are houses on both sides of the canyon this is where we came from and on the other side there's another set of houses and I remember when we were passing by the ruin there was a trail that went up, so one can assume they have their own access road. So during the pandemic my family and I kind of got into birding and prior to that my wife was really into wildflowers and so we started paying attention to like what that actually was over there, or what bird that actually was over there, or what bird that actually was over there, or what that little flower actually was. It was interesting because while we do spend a lot of time in the outdoors, if you're just passing by it you don't get quite as much. And when we started to pay attention it was like this whole different world, like we could walk through the same spaces and have completely different experiences.

Speaker 2:

Whenever I bring my friends here, they all take back different interpretations of the trail. It shows that this area is not one-dimensional. There's multiple different things that you can take away from it. Most of my friends are not from this area of Fremont specifically. I brought them out here for the first time a few months ago and we went out for a walk in the sunset. It was really serene, but people were thinking of different things when they were looking at the trail. Some people really appreciated and enjoyed the sunset. Some people really, uh, appreciated and enjoyed the different wildlife.

Speaker 1:

We saw deer that day the project itself is difficult just by its nature, um, and you did get a lot of help. Were there any major stumbling blocks? Not just things you have to do that take time but like, oh, that went sideways.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, there were a few. One of the major stumbling blocks was one of the places that I had decided to put one of these signs. It wasn't on flat ground so it wouldn't work if we put it there, so I had to find another entrance place to put the sign. For the actual process of putting up the signs, the workday that I had with both members of my troop and even people who live in Fremont who wanted to come out and help out we went over time and I'm very grateful that everyone was able to stay, because we planned it out to take four hours but it actually ended up taking around six. But everyone was really willing to keep going and keep helping out with the project and that was really helpful.

Speaker 2:

Another thing that came up was there used to be issues with trying to figure out a way that we could have the project accessible to everyone Through the website that we could use so that it could be accessible to everyone, and Google Drive ended up working. But it was a long process to try and find that website and right now Google Drive isn't really the most optimal solution. So what we're trying to do is we're trying to uh, we might be switching up the qr code and in a few months and uh, adding a website pending city approval. But once we are able to have the website, then that would be a lot easier way for people to access the audio tour that'll be good, and at least you won't have to redo the posts.

Speaker 1:

You just have to redo the sign itself.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the sign itself is the easiest part of putting up the post. Yeah, four four screws.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, how many signs do you have? I said, we've walked by two we have four throughout the trail.

Speaker 2:

These are the most uh, popular entrances to the trail, so we decided that that would be the best area. Also, these are the areas where it's easiest to put up a signpost. Yeah, true.

Speaker 1:

When you were doing the research, did you come across anything that you didn't expect? Not that you didn't know, but that you were surprised by when you found out about it?

Speaker 2:

I knew that there were wineries in the area. When I was researching about the project, when I was taking pictures of the signs and stuff like that so that I could put it into audio format. I knew that there were wineries. I just didn't know that there were that many wineries. My house used to be on a winery.

Speaker 1:

Do you know anybody? Because you met them down here and even tangentially know them, just sort of like, oh that guy. We always nod at each other.

Speaker 2:

I think that's the dog owners. I know a lot of dog owners that walk the trail, because I walk my dog and we kind of get along because our dogs will just sniff each other and then we have a conversation.

Speaker 1:

So there's people like that that whenever I see them on the trail I'll stop and say hi and have our, have our dogs meet again top of the hill here near lausanne, where the parking lot is, um, there used to be just before the houses were put in on the well to our left here. Uh, there was an entranceway and a gate. It was singularly the squeakiest gate in the history of mankind.

Speaker 2:

That was there when I was in middle school. I remember that gate being super squeaky.

Speaker 1:

What do you think about when you're down here, when you've got it to yourself?

Speaker 2:

If you don't mind me asking, I kind of think about everything, just life in general. I think about my relationships with other people, and I think about just the future and everything that is going on in my life, because I feel like we move so fast throughout the day we don't really get the time to think, and and whenever I'm down here, I just either just walk with the sounds of nature or I put on music and I just think a lot about what the future is going to hold for me and how different things are going to be in just a matter of months.

Speaker 1:

This episode was produced and recorded and edited by me, andrew Kovett, but it is normally hosted and produced by Ricky B. Scheduling and pre-interviews are done by the amazing Sarah S. If you've ever been a guest on the show, she's the first person that you get to talk to. These voiceovers at the beginning and at the end. Credits here are usually done by the far more talented than I, gary Williams, if you could leave a review on iTunes that helps people find the show, and if you'd like to find a little bonus content, a little visual element, we're on Instagram. We'll be back next week with another episode. If you're interested in going to one place to find everything that we make, thefremontpodcastcom, the guy who lives at this house right here, the gray one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Just around the corner, and he told me a story that one day, uh, he came out of his house and the entire neighborhood was covered in goat. No wait, it was cows. It wasn't goats, it was cows, but the whole neighborhood, because they someone accidentally left one of the main gates open, not just a little squeaky one, so one of the main gates came out here and and and the the cows that get raised the, the beef company that raises cows out here.

Speaker 1:

They were like, okay, I guess we'll go this way, and they all just ended up flooding the neighborhood, oh wow. And so they had to spend like all morning herding the cows literally herding the cows back. He told me that story. It was fantastic.

Speaker 2:

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Sabercat Creek Historical Trail Audio Tour
Exploring Sabercat Creek Trail Beauty
Reflections on Solitude and Nature