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Among possible new park sites being considered by the East Bay Regional Park District are the Concord Hills on a closed part of the Naval Weapons station.

OAKLAND -- The East Bay Regional Park District is considering 16 potential park sites in a blueprint for expansion into new areas along the hills, valleys and shorelines of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

The park board will vote Tuesday afternoon on its master plan, a set of long-term goals and policies.

The plan positions EBRPD to continue an aggressive land buying program fueled by voter-approved bond measures of $225 million in 1988 and $500 million in 2008.

Before the district can acquire or lease any land for a new park, it must be listed in the master plan.

"We are trying to stay ahead of development to preserve these open spaces for public recreation and for protection of habitats so there are wildlife corridors for wild animals," said Mike Anderson, a park district assistant general manager.

Among possible new park sites being considered by the East Bay Regional Park District are the Concord Hills on a closed part of the Naval Weapons station.
Among possible new park sites being considered by the East Bay Regional Park District are the Concord Hills on a closed part of the Naval Weapons station. (Karl Mondon/Staff Archives)

The largest regional park system in America, EBRPD has 113,000 acres in 65 regional parks for hiking, swimming, fishing, mountain biking and camping.

Among possible park sites are the Alvarado Wetlands, one-time salt ponds restored by the state into wetlands near Fremont; the Dumbarton quarry site that would become a park and campground near Fremont; and the Concord Hills on a closed part of the Naval Weapons station.

The district also is looking at sites at Alameda Point on the old Alameda Naval Air Station and a Pleasanton chain of lakes park to be developed -- like Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area -- when they close.

Also being considered is a multi-agency East Gateway Park at the Oakland side of the new east span of the Bay Bridge.

The district also listed a portion of the old Point Molate military fuel depot in Richmond, a Delta recreation park on Jersey Island north of Oakley and the site of the old Tesla town site east of Livermore -- where the state park system is planning to expand the Carnegie off-road vehicle recreation area.

Nine of the 16 sites are at or near the shoreline, in keeping with the district's focus on acquiring land near San Francisco Bay and the Delta.

"The shoreline areas are often near dense urban population," Anderson said, "and yet opening up the shoreline is connecting the people to the bay, which conveys the sense of large open spaces."

Back on land, some off-road motorists are unhappy with the district for expressing interest in the Tesla site, where dirt bike owners want an expansion of the Carnegie off-road vehicle park.

Anderson said his agency isn't out to take over the land and stop the vehicle park expansion.

However, if it turns out that some environmentally sensitive lands in the area are going to be protected, the district is willing to talk with the state and playing a role, he said.

Anderson also defended his agency against critics' long-standing assertion that the park district should slow or halt land buying and devote more resources to open all its existing lands for public use as quickly as possible.

About 25 percent of the district's land is not open yet but held in a land bank status until visitor facilities are developed.

"Our plan is to put these lands under public ownership now, so they're not lost to development forever," Anderson said. "We open new parks but with a measured and fiscally conservative approach."

In other parts of the master plan, the park district stresses that it will provide trails to all kinds of users, including the young, the old, disabled and those who prefer shorter and flatter trails to steep ones.

The master plan also opens the door to developing narrow trails to be used by mountain bicyclists -- if park officials decide it's safe to do so. The district has largely barred bikers from narrow trails.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.

IF YOU GO
  • What: Vote on East Bay Regional Park District master plan
  • Who: East Bay Regional Park board
  • Where: Park district headquarters, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland
  • Time: 2 p.m. Tuesday
  • To view the master plan: Go to www.ebparks.org/planning/mp.