Visions of the Wild Festival was conceived by the U.S. Forest Service and Vallejo Community Arts foundation to celebrate and connect art, culture, nature and community. Held in September 2014, the inaugural festival theme celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Friends’partnership with the Visions of the Wild has generated engaging activities that introduce new visitors to the Refuge, including the Skaggs Island bike ride, the Fish Line walk, and Kayak Cullinan.
The first Skaggs Island bike ride was offered as a 2016 Visions of the Wild activity by the Friends and the Refuge. It was the first time the public had been invited to cycle the 3,300 acre former military base. Refuge manager Don Brubaker, led a bicycle tour from station to station where visitors learned about the refuge, the habitats on Skaggs
Island and the plans for habitat restoration. Friends board members greeted visitors and manned two of the five stations. There were well over a hundred bike riders coming from Vallejo, Sonoma, Marin and beyond. The remnant roads from the islands’s military days made good bike paths once the grass was cut. The bike ride
has become an annual event, up to the onset of the pandemic.
The Friends contribution to the VOW Festival in 2017 was The Fish Line, inspired by the festival theme of Landscape Change. The Fish Line represented the location of the 1856 edge of the Napa River, i.e. where the fish could swim to, in what is now downtown Vallejo. The family friendly, interactive, one-mile walk traced
the edge of the Napa River from River Park to the JFK library fountain where visitors were able to see native plants and live fish brought to the fountain for two days and visited by the second and sixth graders from Lincoln School and by the VOW walkers on Saturday.
In 2019 the Friends and Refuge partnered with Kayak Vallejo for a paddle on Cullinan Ranch. The floating hand launch ramp and dock sees heavy use by fishers, hunters, and paddlers. If you come out to kayak at Cullinan be sure to check the tides tables for the Napa River and stay clear of the broach unless you are prepared for the currents.