This new website is currently being built so please check back soon for further information and timely updates. Also, be sure to click on the above “History” link to explore the fascinating story of community response to various development threats that have occurred over the years in the watershed of Wildcat Creek.
Thanks to all of you who wrote letters to the East Bay Regional Park District opposing the District’s plan to allow additional parking inside the park. The proposed parking area would bring increased criminal activity and pollution farther inside the canyon. Moreover, the District is proposing to establish an equestrian staging area right on the National Skyline Ridge Trail, the most popular hiking trail in the canyon. That proposal would violate the Park District’s approved land use plan, which calls for keeping pedestrian and equestrian trails separate (see page 21 of the 1985 Land Use Plan for Wildcat Canyon). The District’s proposed amendment to its own land use plan would increase the potential for conflict between pedestrians, horses, dogs and vehicles on the National Skyline Ridge Trail.
The Park District claims that the newly proposed parking arrangement would be “temporary.” But what does that mean? The community is still waiting patiently for the District to honor its promise to restore the creek and create a new parking area near the entrance to the park— promises that were made twenty-one years ago.
In June 1990, after a lengthy and expensive public input process, the Park District Board of Directors approved a “Community Consensus Plan” that called for getting cars out of the park and for restoring the creek to its natural condition. The parking problem was to be solved by acquiring the so-called “triangle parking area” near the entrance to Alvarado Park. The creek was to be restored by contracting with a stream restoration specialist and by removing the twin culverts and the landfill that now sprawls across the creek and blocks the annual migration of anadromous salmonids. Runs of steelhead and other fish occurred for thousands of years and were witnessed for untold centuries by the Native American residents of this land.
These 1990 proposals for Wildcat Canyon Regional Park had the enthusiastic support of park users, nearby residents and the cities of Richmond and San Pablo. By contrast, the Park District’s present proposals have generated little support but a lot of both controversy and angry opposition. The proposed land use plan amendment does not even mention District’s promise to remove the twin culverts and associated landfill. Instead, the District is proposing to use that landfill to allow more parking farther inside the park—farther up hill along the National Skyline Ridge Trail. One Park District spokesman referred to this proposal as planning “on the cheap.” But what good is cheap if it means breaking promises and failing to restore a priceless natural heritage that has been set aside by the public for the benefit of present and future generations?
Due to the many public comments submitted to the Park District on these issues, the scheduled public hearing of June 7th by the Board of Directors has been postponed to Tues, July 19th. You can still send your comments to the board c/o the Clerk of the Board: apulido[at]ebparks.org. If you email us a copy we’ll post it here on this website.
If you have questions, want to be on our email list, would like to contribute comments, suggestions, or financial assistance to Friends of Wildcat Canyon, please email us at:
Alan La Pointe, FWC Chair• The above photo of Alvarado Park/Wildcat Canyon, taken recently from San Francisco clearly demonstrates the visual significance of these undeveloped canyon ridgelands to the northern Bay Area.
• Explore the living beauty of this magnificent urban wilderness watershed by clicking on the above “Photo Gallery” link.