Not all of the land that the BAR Trail crosses was public. There are many private ranches around the bay area which are still privately owned. This isn't really a bad thing, since the ranches are usually hundreds of acres large and are not developed. It adds a open and wild feel to much of the hills around the bay. But since the ranches are privately owned, trails aren't allowed to be built across their land. Luckily, certain public land trusts raise money to try to buy these ranches, which the owning family usually ends up selling for millions of dollars to the land trusts. The land trusts then donate or pass on the property to the government, such as the East Bay Regional Park District, or keep the land open for public use. The Muir Heritage Land Trust bought the Fernandez Ranch in Hercules and is now beginning to open the land for public use. Thats how I ended up helping out to build a new connecting section of the BAR Trail there.
I volunteered with V-O-Cal, Volunteers for Outdoor California. They specialize in organizing large groups of volunteers for mobilization for projects around Northern California, such as building new trails, making new campgrounds, habitat restoration, and trail maintenance. They provide free camping spots at the project site, free meals and beer, and free showers. I could only stay for one day since I planned to go last minute, but it was still a lot of fun (and a lot of hard work)! Here are some pictures I took with my cell phone: