From the issue Wetland Wakening
Griz Gone Wild
Trail signs and well-maintained paths? Who needs 'em! At Grizzly Island Wildlife Area on the Delta's Suisun Marsh, the largest contiguous estuarine marsh in the U.S., you're on your own. The big draw here is chance sightings of rare wildlife. Tule elk were reintroduced in 1997, and they have prospered ever since. The preserve also a haven for pond turtles, mallards, pheasants, hawks, and even golden eagles. Your best chance at spotting wildlife is by getting into the heart of the island. Park at lot number three (a lone eucalyptus is the landmark), cross the bridge, and walk southwest along the levee road—looking westward in search of the tule elk. (Bring binoculars if you have a set, and be sure to print a map; they're not available at the preserve.) Make a left at the next obvious junction, after .75 mile, and keep walking another .75 mile toward Roaring River. Scan the banks for small bobbing river otters; they frequent this stretch of the river and are very curious about passersby. Grizzly Island lacks some of the visitor comforts of other preserves, but the truly wild environment and accessible solitude make it a great destination for Grizzly go-getters.
BONUS: After taming the Griz, grab a table on the waterfront at Suisun City's Athenian Grill and feast on some hearty Greek sandwiches or kabobs. The outdoor patio is heated on cooler evenings.
Grizzly Island Wildlife Area is about 18 miles southeast from Suisun City. From I-80, exit Hwy. 12 East and go 4 miles to Grizzly Island Rd. Turn right and go south; after 5.5 miles you'll make a right turn to cross a bridge at Montezuma Slough. Go another 3.5 miles to the kiosk area (entry is $2.50 per person). Then go another 5.5 miles to parking lot three. After walking across the bridge, continue straight on the grassy, overgrown trail and follow the route above. Return the way you came. Athenian Grill, 750 Kellogg St., Suisun City; 707-425-0500.