East Bay Regional Park District

East Bay Regional Park District
East Bay Regional Park District insignia.jpg
Type Special district
Location East Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, United States
Area 120,000 acres (49,000 ha)
Created 1934
Website www.ebparks.org

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is a special district operating in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, California, within the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay Area. It maintains and operates a system of regional parks which is the largest urban regional park district in the United States. The administrative office is located in Oakland.

As of 2015, EBRPD spans 120,000 acres (49,000 ha) [1] with 65 parks and over 1,200 miles (1,900 km) of trails. Some of these parks are wilderness areas; others include a variety of visitor attractions, with opportunities for swimming, boating and camping. The trails are frequently used for non-motorized transportation such as biking, hiking, and horse riding. Nearly 150 miles (240 km) of paved trails (identified as Interpark Regional Trails) through urban areas link the parks together.

History

A destructive grass fire that broke out in Wildcat Canyon blew west into Berkeley on September 27, 1923, and burned down 640 structures (mostly) homes. The East Bay Water Company was harshly criticized for its failure to deliver enough water to successfully fight the fire. Much of the problem arose from having a system of small private water companies who obtained water either from their own wells or from runoff, then pumped the water to the water companies wells, Chabot and Temescal. A state law was passed that enabled citizens of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to create a special district that could obtain water from the Mokelumne River and pump it directly to customers. The East Bay Municipal District (EBMUD) was formed and approved by the electorate. [2]


The EBRPD was founded in 1934, [3] and acquired its first land two years later, when the East Bay Municipal Utility District sold 2,166 acres (877 ha) of its surplus land. The founders of the district included Robert Sibley, a hiking enthusiast, Hollis Thompson, then Berkeley City Manager, and Charles Lee Tilden, among others. [4] William Penn Mott Jr. served as director of the agency from 1962 to 1967, and oversaw a doubling of the system's acreage from 10,500 to 22,000. [5]

In June 2013, EBRPD purchased a 1,900 acres (770 ha) tract of land formerly known as Roddy Ranch in east Contra Costa County. The tract lies south of Antioch and west of Brentwood.The cost was reported as $14.24 million. Funding will also be provided by California Wildlife Conservation Board and an unidentified private foundation. The acquisition does not include Roddy Ranch Golf Club or about 240 acres of privately owned land inside the project boundary. The East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy will install gates, fencing and signs around the tract in the coming year, while the sale is in escrow. The new area will likely be named Deer Valley Regional Park. [6]

In 2016, Vargas Plateau Regional Park in Fremont was the first park ever to have been shut down as the result of legal action in the more than 80-year history of EBRPD. [7] During 2014, EBRPD cut park hours on a temporary and interim basis to reduce public access to [2]