Rush Ranch Open Space - Site # 334|
|Rush Ranch is one of the best remaining examples of a brackish tidal marsh habitat in the United States. Once a continuous tidal marsh habitat, the greater Suisun Marsh is now a vast complex of wetlands owned privately by local duck clubs. Only about 10 square miles of the historic tidal marsh remains, one-tenth of which occurs at Rush Ranch. |
|Regional - worth visiting if you are already in the area. They may be located farther from populated areas or with more limited wildlife species.|
|Background: ||Largest salt marsh in lower 48 states. Part of Suisun Marsh not altered by building of levees leaving rare and endangered plants and animals.|
With funding provided by the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Coastal Conservancy, Solano Land Trust has a Nature Center to showcase the many natural and historical features of the property. Additional funding comes through numerous private donations to Solano Land Trust.
House constructed using kit obtained from Sears Roebuck and Co in about 1932. Blacksmith shop and 100 year old barn restored and still used today. Grinding rocks used by Patwin Indians on trail. Working ranch with horses. Michael Muir, great-grandson of John Muir, runs Access Adventures, a carriage program for disabled people at ranch. Carriage rides open to anyone and free rides at least once a month.
Untouched tidal marsh provides pristine wetlands and transition zones for researchers.
|Hundreds of years ago, long before the Spanish arrived in California in the early 1800s, the north-central portion of this state, including all of Solano County, was home to the Patwin Indians. The Suisunes tribe, who were also called “The People of the West Wind” resided in what is now Fairfield, and historians estimate they lived in this region for well over a thousand years.|
Today, evidence of the Patwin villages can still be found throughout the region, especially in Suisun, where visitors can step back in time while visiting Rush Ranch Open Space. There are several displays filled with historical information and artifacts and a tule grass hut identical to one used by the Patwin’s can be found on the marsh trail. On ‘Get the Rush’ days on the third Saturday of every month, guests are welcome to visit with Little Bear and his collection of hunting tools and artifacts. It’s a great history lesson for all guests, but especially children in third grade, who learn about Native American history in their classrooms. Rush Ranch hosts weekly field trips, led by volunteer docents, that brings in schools from Solano County and beyond.
“The entire program is on the Patwin Indians,” said volunteer docent John Takeuchi. “Patwin was not one of the larger tribes but they had a great territory right here. This was a natural trading and meeting area for other tribes. It was a nice territory for them, with lots of plants and lots of critters.”
Before European settlement, Patwin Native Americans resided in Solano County for thousands of years. Some historians estimate it to be as long as 4,000 years, although no historical documentation of that time exists. The Suisunes likely hunted tule elk, grizzly bears and waterfowl, fished in the Suisun slough, and gathered plants for food and medicine. It is estimated that there were about 2,300 Patwins living in the area of Solano County in 1800, but the population soon plummeted to zero due to disease, forced moves to Spanish Missions and battles with Europeans. By 1823, there were no observed Native Americans left in the area, only abandoned and destroyed village sites.
|The Habitat: ||One of the two most pristine wetlands in San Francisco Bay now protected by NERR estuary. Habitat for threatened and endangered species like salt marsh harvest mouse, Suisun ornate shrew, Delta smelt, Sacramento splittail, giant garter snake. On Pacific Flyway and home to over 230 birds including clapper rail and black rail. 2,070 acres of unaltered brackish and salt water marsh making a complete ecosystem. Extensively used for environmental studies to experience the estuary as the Patwin Indians did.|
|The Experience: ||Site offers three marked hiking trails with benches at highest points to observe wildlife and birds in the marsh. Structures include a restored barn, working blacksmith shop, a tule hut, and a Sears Catalog kit built house. House contains a small interpretive museum on the history of Rush Ranch and wildlife displays. Picnic area and BBQ, plus interactive educational exhibits and free parking available. Interactive exhibits from NERR and hand painted murals explain the ranch. Access Adventure offers free carriage rides pulled by horses on select dates. Modified wagons on wheels have solar-powered wheelchair lifts so everyone can enjoy rides.|
|Wildlife and Where to Find It: ||Salt marsh yellow-throat, clapper rail and black rail are best seen from hiking South Pasture Trail. Ranch is on Pacific Flyway. Birds of prey common sight on trail across from entrance.|
|Viewing Tips: ||Binoculars are always helpful for numerous bird species. Owls usually near Eucalyptus Groves. Green of tule in summer and grasses in rainy season provide great cover for numerous wildlife. Sunset is a special time for viewing hill landscape with colors and shadows behind.|
|Site Notes: ||Site offers three marked hiking trails with benches at highest points to observe wildlife and birds in marsh. |
|Nearby Viewing Sites: ||Lynch Canyon Open Space. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, Mare Island, Jepson Prairie, Montezuma Hills and Rockville Hills Regional Park|
|Festivals & Events: ||Visit Rush Ranch Open Space website for annual and special events. There are a variety of events including an open house, lectures, workshops, walks, harvest dinner, and much more.|
|Visitor Information: ||Fairfield Conference & Visitors Bureau - (707) 399-2445 - www.visitfairfieldca.com|
|Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:|
|Staff On-site: ||No|
|Hours: ||8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (or dusk, if earlier)|
|Year Round: ||No|
|Seasonal: ||Open hours are 8am to 7pm March 1 through October 31, and 8am to 5pm November 1 through February 28.|
|| Paved. Gravel. |
|Road Hazards: none|
| Number of Parking Spaces: 35|
|Parking Fee: No|
|Proximity to viewing area:1/2 block|
| Pull-Through Parking: No|
|Parking Notes: Handicap spaces marked at native plant garden. Over-flow space for parking in adjacent field for larger events like open house and weddings.|
|Special Tips: ||Fantastic sunsets and peaceful rolling hill just outside the city|
|How to Get There: ||Rush Ranch Open Space is located approximately 3 miles south of Highway 12 in Suisun City on Grizzly Island Road. |
From Sacramento - take I-80 west to Fairfield and exit at Abernathy Road turning left towards HWY 12. Turn left onto Hwy 12 and proceed approximately 3 miles to Grizzly Island Rd. Turn right on Grizzly Island Rd and proceed approximately 2 miles to ranch entrance on right.
From San Francisco - take I-80 east to Fairfield and exit at HWY 12 to Rio Vista. Proceed on HWY 12 approximately 3 miles to Grizzly Island Rd. Turn right on Grizzly Island Rd and proceed approximately 2 miles to ranch entrance on right.
| Contact Information |
|Managing Agency: ||Solano Land Trust - Rush Ranch|
|Agency Site URL: ||http://solanolandtrust.org |
|Physical Address:||3521 Grizzly Island Road
Suisun City, CA 94585
|Agency 2:||1001 Texas Street, Suite C|
Fairfield, CA 94533
|Manager Phone:||(707) 432-0150, x209
||Contact Us:||by Email|
|Site Phone:||(707) 432-0150|| || |