Grizzly Island, Solano County


As California’s population has exploded in the past century and one-half, much of its wild heritage has been lost forever. Wetlands have been filled, forests have been flattened and iconic animals have been shoved into the abyss of extinction. About the only grizzly bear you’ll ever see in California

is stitched to the state’s flag. So although Grizzly Island is not all that its name implies, it’s still pretty nice and well worth visiting. That’s especially true if you go with someone like our old friend and sharp-eyed guide, Michael Ellis. We’ve followed Michael throughout California in search of wild sightings and have never been disappointed. Grizzly Island is in the backyard of nearly ten-million people, and yet it’s big enough to feel remote and remind us of what much of California once looked and felt like. Birds by the millions come and go as they have for millennia. River otters frolic as their ancestors did, and Tule Elk, once hunted to a within a few surviving individuals, enjoy the freedom to roam some of their ancient land. On Grizzly Island, life isn’t exactly the way it was before all of us moved in around it, but it’s a wonderful refuge and a bittersweet representation of what we’ve lost and must continue to save.


Michael’s still exploring and leading very happy clients on his “Footloose Forays.” This year, he’s only leading international tours. He plans to resume his guided journeys in California in 2008. Please remember that Grizzly Island is periodically closed for hunting. Before venturing out, check the Refuge’s website to make sure it’s open to the public.


   posted by : Len H on 10/23/2009 at 03:11 AM
I recall a time some thirty years ago when my father would take me fishing in the Grizzly Island Refuge Area and it brings back fond memories. Today I share the same experience with my son, who has marveled at the herd of Elk, as I did many years ago. This precious piece of nature must be protected, so that the generations that follow, can enjoy what three generations of my family already has.

   posted by : Jess H. on 7/30/2007 at 01:01 PM
The elk are beautiful. I saw some of those at pt. Reyes the other weekend.

   posted by : mjohnston on 7/30/2007 at 12:52 PM
I particularly love the white pelicans. They have such a wonderful prehistoric look.

Grizzly Island - The big bears are long gone, but Grizzly Island is alive with critters on the wing, in the water and on the run. They can all be seen easily from behind the wheel.
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