It’s tough keeping up with Mount Tamalpais.
Sure, Marin County’s highest peak might appear placid, but that’s just because most of us aren’t looking very closely. The state park’s managers have a heck of a time tracking and totaling the coyotes, foxes, mountain lions, turkey vultures, and other beastly park regulars that call the state park home and don’t particularly want their human caretakers butting into their day to day affairs.
So, Mt. Tam’s guardians get backup on two fronts, the first being technology and the second being folks like you. Over 100 motion-activated cameras are discretely placed throughout the mountain’s various forested niches, capturing over 200,000 images a year. Helpful civilians sort and catalog the photos and help update the park’s fauna files, the Wildlife Picture Index.
It’s the least intrusive way to keep a running tally of what’s running back and forth in the mountain’s peaks and valleys. Not to mention a thrill for nature buffs, amateur zoologists, and fans of candid snaps of adorable baby coyotes.
Volunteer crews also help keep the camera network in operating order, if you fancy a day’s hike and don’t mind a short training seminar. If you need a little extra incentive to pitch in, take a look at some of the best recent photos below.