Only Free Bird-Watching Festival in U.S. with More Than 1.25 Million Migrating Birds Falls Victim to Vallejo & Developer Dealing, Charge Environmentalists

VALLEJO – The 25th annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival, the only free bird watching festival in the U.S.  – more than 1.25 million migrating birds can be viewed – has been cancelled, and the blame is being put on the city of Vallejo and potential suitors to take over the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve.

Details of the dramatic cancellation and what it means to the Bay Area was provided at a NEWS CONFERENCE – TUESDAY, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. at the closed gates of the Preserve (167 O’Hara Ct at the crossroads of Azuar Dr. Vallejo Ca 94592)

“Due to the closure of the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve (MISHP), the Mare Island Heritage Trust has canceled the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival.  This was to be the 25th anniversary of the event which is the only Free Bird Watching festival in the United States,” said Myrna Hayes, President of the Mare Island Heritage Trust.

Vallejo Sierra Club Chair Joe Feller described the cancellation as a result of “theft” by the city of Vallejo.

The Flyway Festival is an annual celebration held on Mare Island at the peak of the migration of one million shorebirds and a quarter million waterfowl and thousands of hawks, along with millions of songbirds to San Francisco Bay.

Hayes will provide more details at the Tuesday press event, but said that since the preserve was closed by the city of Vallejo, there are not enough resources to hold the hugely popular Festival and at the same time spearheading the grassroots campaign to reopen the regional parkland.

This is just the latest damage to the economy of the City of Vallejo since Mare Island development has been taken over by David Phinney, a wine marketer, who hasn’t delivered on promised support,” said Hayes.

“This is just the latest damage to the city caused by its ill-advised partnership with David Phinney. They  have been in secret talks to take over the Preserve since 2018 and have reached some sort of secret agreement to control the Preserve.  The only difference between when Shell and Bechtel tried to seize the Preserve 16 years ago and now is that Phinney hasn’t minuted the meetings…so we don’t know the method of the theft from the City of Vallejo,” Feller said.

“We are still in shock over the indefinite closure of our Preserve and the way we have been forced out by the city of Vallejo. We can’t enter our own Preserve for guided birdwatching, history and trail tours. The City has cancelled processing the Navy access permit for the guided hikes on its property. “It is clear that the City and the new developer have abandoned the Flyway Festival and its wide regional appeal. We are mystified about why this event with such wide regional attraction, is now not supported by the City and Dave Phinney and the Nimitz Group,” said Hayes.