October 2020
NEWS & FEATURES
Fire Season Already Devastating

A MESSAGE FROM GENERAL MANAGER ROBERT E. DOYLE
This year’s fire season has been one of the most devastating on record with five of the 20 most destructive wildfires in California history taking place this year. Locally, we have had five major fires in our parks – Round Valley, Morgan Territory, Mission Peak, Sunol Wilderness, and Ohlone Wilderness – all caused by severe weather and lightning on August 15, 2020. 

The five fires in Regional Parks were all part of the SCU Lightning Complex Fire which burned 396,624 acres and lasted 44 days. Firefighters reached 100 percent containment just last week on October 2, 2020.

Fortunately, only around 6,000 acres of our parklands burned in the SCU Lightning Complex Fire thanks to proper trail maintenance, including fire roads, and the District’s grazing program. Most of the total acres burnt were south of Sunol Wilderness and Ohlone Wilderness. 

The Park District has been a leader for a very long time in addressing fire threats along the wildland-urban interface of the parks, especially in response to the threat from thousands of eucalyptus trees planted 80 years ago. Long before the devastating 1991 Tunnel Fire, we established a Blue Ribbon Task force to address the high risk of fires in the East Bay Hills. After years of litigation and permitting delays. Our approved Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan, with funding from FEMA, Measure FF and grants, has allowed us to move forward with great speed and progress to address fuels and the increased occurrence of large fires. 

In 1977, I was living in a park residence in Mt. Diablo State Park while going to college. In August of that year a lightning strike hit a very dry Coulter Pine forest on the north side of the park. The fire burned 4,000 acres in three days. I have studied the recovery for decades. While the benefits of that fire became obvious over time, since then I have witnessed more frequent and hotter, more damaging, fires which have started to change the vegetation permanently. Today we are witnessing the largest fires in modern history with 4,000,000 acres burnt this year so far. I am proud of our efforts and our commitment to fuels management, but there are certainly more fire risks and challenges in our future. 

As we move into the height of fire season, please be vigilant, pay attention to fire restrictions, advisories, and warnings, and report any fires or dangerous activities. Together, we can keep parks and people safe. 

Be safe in your Regional Parks!

Robert E. Doyle
General Manager
Live Virtual Dedication for New Shoreline Park
Spectacular Bay Views, Improved Bay Bridge Trail Access
The Park District is celebrating the opening of a new 45-acre regional shoreline park with a live “virtual” dedication on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. (details to be announced).

The new shoreline park – named Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline after East Bay civic and environmental leader and former Park District Board member John Sutter – is located at the eastern touchdown of the Bay Bridge and provides spectacular views of the entire bay and new eastern Bay Bridge span. The new park includes the historic and newly-renovated 24,000-square foot Bridge Yard building available for future public events, a walking trail to the recently constructed 600-foot observation pier with views of the bay, and improved parking and bike and pedestrian access to the Alex Zuckerman Bay Bridge Trail from the eastern touchdown of the bridge to Treasure Island.
Return to Limited Capacity Boating and Camping 
After many months of anticipation, camping, boating, and limited day use have returned to Del Valle, Quarry Lakes and Anthony Chabot, although visitors should be aware of some changes to these park activities due to COVID-19. Camping reservations and boat inspection and launch fee payments are required in advance. Reopened park areas and facilities have limited capacity with day-use vehicle entrance provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. All picnic areas, barbeques, and group campsites will remain closed in accordance with state and local health orders. In addition, there is a Blue-Green Algae Warning in effect at Lake Del Valle.

Be sure to plan ahead! Prepay boat inspection and boat launch fees online for Del Valle and Quarry Lakes at and bring proof of payment to limit touchpoints. Make camping reservations online or by phone at (888) 327-2757, option 2: Monday - Friday, 10:00am-3:00pm.
Be Fire Safe In Parks
October Peak Fire Season
Though already catastrophic this year, the height of fire season is typically in October when the heat of summer has dried out vegetation, and hot, dry Diablo winds from the east create dangerous fire conditions. Now is the time to be especially vigilant and work together to prevent wildfires.

WHAT VISITORS CAN DO:
•   Refrain from smoking in the parks. Smoking and vaping are prohibited in all Regional Parks.
•   Be aware of Red Flag Warnings, fire danger levels, and park fire safety rules. Abide by all posted or announced fire safety rules.
•   If you see a fire in a park, call 911 immediately. Report the fire’s location, size, and direction of burn, if possible. If in a park, leave immediately for your safety.
•   Practice situational awareness. Be alert for any potential fire hazards and report them.
•   During a fire emergency, cooperate with all instructions and evacuation orders from firefighters, police, and park staff.
Dog Rules Return to Normal
New #PupPro Campaign Encourages Better Dog Owner Behavior
Last week, dog rules returned to normal in Regional Parks, with dogs being allowed off-leash in designated areas once again. To help keep trails and parks enjoyable for pups and park-goers alike, the Park District has just launched a new informational campaign urging dog owners to be a #PupPro by following all dog rules and sharing parks with others. More info.
#RockingTheMaskEBRPD for a Free Bandana ebparks.org/RockingTheMaskEBRPD
Join us for the #RockingTheMaskEBRPD challenge and win a free EBRPD branded bandana! Here’s how:
1 - Visit a Regional Park
2 - Take a pic/video dancing with your mask on
3 - Upload pic/video at www.ebparks.org/RockingTheMaskEBRPD
Together #WeAreEBRPD 
Meet Cull Canyon Park Supervisor Kristin H, who joined the Park District in 2005 as a park ranger at Roberts Regional Recreation Area. A self-described nature girl, Kristin started her outdoorsy career as a park aid at Mount Diablo. She was a natural fit for the Park District, with a personal mission to protect the earth, be a steward of the land, and to provide access to the treasures in our parks. Be sure to say hello to Kristin if you see her at Cull Canyon.
IN THE PARKS
Five Hikes to Enjoy in Fall
Bull Valley Trail LoopCarquinez Strait Regional Shoreline
Length: 4.8-mile loop, Intensity: moderate 
From the blue waters of Carquinez Strait to the north, to the rolling hills in the south, this park offers magnificent views. The trail traverses open grasslands and small eucalyptus groves that provide welcome shade on a sunny day and, at the midway point, takes you through the historic town of Port Costa.

Visitor Center to Levee Top, Big Break Regional Shoreline
Length: 1.1-mile loop, Intensity: easy 
This trail route gives visitors a chance to explore Big Break Regional Shoreline through the Delta Discovery Experience, featuring multiple interpretive panels as well as a fascinating large-scale relief map that shows how water flows through the region.

Length: 3.5 miles, Intensity: moderate
Start this hike at Lake Anza and descend along the Wildcat Creek drainage through tall redwoods and shady oak/bay woodlands. Climb Meadows Canyon through grassland and scrub, eventually dropping back down to the creek. 

Pinole Point Trail to Giant Station TrailPoint Pinole Regional Shoreline
Length: 4.13-mile loop, Intensity: easy 
This trail brings you right into the park’s most vibrant eucalyptus woods, offering an aromatic experience you won’t forget. San Pablo Bay is typically breezy, making Point Pinole a perfect recreational site on a hot day.

Quail/Bayview Trail LoopCoyote Hills Regional Park
Length: 2.8-mile loop, Intensity: easy
This hike takes you out around the base of the hills to provide great views of the bay and the multicolored salt evaporation ponds. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a golden eagle amongst the seagulls, shorebirds, and songbirds that call the park their home. The trail is mostly flat and much of it is paved, making it a good choice for runners and walkers alike.
Regional Parks Affected by Wildfires to Remain Closed Until Safe to Reopen
The recent SCU Lightning Complex wildfire burned more than 369,000 acres across five eastern Bay Area counties and affected several of our parks. Round Valley, Morgan Territory, Sunol, and Ohlone Wilderness remain closed due to the impacts from the wildfires. Mission Peak reopened in mid-September. Park District staff continues to assess damage, evaluate safety and clear debris to ensure the parks are safe before reopening to the public. For up-to-date information on what is open and closed, visit www.ebparks.org/COVID-19. 
Wildlife Impacts from Recent Wildfires
Fire is intimately tied to the ecology of California. Many of its plants are known as “fire followers,” plant species that respond to the effects of wildland fires, such as charred soil, and begin germinating as soon as the first rains come.

Animals may survive fires by seeking refuge in burrows or outrunning them, but survival is challenging. In the Sunol-Ohlone area, Park District staff have found the remains of rattlesnakes in their burrows, and in Morgan Territory some feral pigs did survive the fire, but not without injury.

Park District Stewardship is mobilizing resources to monitor post-fire effects going forward so this tragic fire can, on the positive side, serve as an opportunity to better understand how natural communities recover from fires and to prepare for the impacts of future wildfires.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Got Parks?
This year has been hard on everyone, but from the very start of the outbreak, one message shined brightly – Parks are Essential! As Regional Parks saw record numbers, the Foundation knew it had to support keeping parks open and safe.

The Foundation mobilized quickly to provide health information and resources to the community. Working hand-in-hand with the Park District and public health agencies, the Foundation helped produce a series of public service announcements to inform park guests about Covid-19 practices and ordered masks, bandanas, and hand sanitizer that it has passed out free of charge to those needing them.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR PARKS:
- Make a donation
- Become a Member
- Give the Gift of Membership (the holidays are around the corner)
- Leave a Lasting Legacy (give through estate planning)
- Shop for a Cause (passing along a portion of purchases)
2020 International Day of Peace Virtual Celebration
On Monday, September 21, we celebrated the 2020 UN International Day of Peace with community and faith-based leaders as well as students from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center. Watch the celebration.
Coastal Cleanup Event Extended Through October 30
Clean the Shore from Your Front Door
September's Coastal Cleanup event was an amazing success, so we've decided to extend our program through October 30th. In the last month, ~160 people registered and 500+ hours of service were logged. There's still time to join our event and pick up trash in your neighborhood. Register here to log your volunteer hours to earn a patch!
FEATURED ACTIVITIES
Due to COVID-19, activities and events are taking place with social distancing measures in place. Some programs are virtual and use Zoom or Facebook Live or YouTube Premiere, some are drop-in and have staff roving in the park to provide socially distanced info to visitors, and some are self-guided for family groups to enjoy independently. Parks and Visitor Centers schedule some activities through their social media pages. Please plan ahead, check to be sure the park is open, and register or download info, depending on the activity’s guidance.
All Sundays in October + Nov 1, 1-3pm, The Great Corn Giveaway, Ardenwood: drive through the parking lot and pick up a bag of flint corn and popcorn to take home. Reservations not required - FREE.
 
Sat. Oct 17, 10-11am, Tarantula Tales, Black Diamond Mines Facebook Live event
 
Sat. Oct 17, 2-3pm, Afternoon Nature Discoveries, Black Diamond Mines Facebook Live event
 
Sat. Oct 22, 9-10:30am, Nature Journaling Workshop: Embracing Autumn, Sunol Facebook Live event

Sat. Oct 24, 5-7pm, Self-Guided Cemetery Stroll at Black Diamond Mines: staff will be on hand to provide socially distanced info to visitors hiking to the cemetery
 
Sun. Oct 25, 10:30am to 1pm, Halloween Critters at Sunol*: drop-in activity for families or households
 
Sun. Oct 25, 10-11:30am, Precious Oaknuts of Autumn Station Walk, Black Diamond Mines: staff will be on hand to provide socially distanced info to visitors (posts at downtown Somersville and eastern Somersville)
 
Fri. Oct 30, Halloween Scavenger Hunt, Del Valle: a self-guided adventure in the Arroyo of Del Valle beginning at the Arroyo Staging area. Download the scavenger hunt starting Oct. 30 on the Del Valle Regional Park Facebook page.
 
Fri. Oct 30, Drive-in Movie Night at Ardenwood**: check Ardenwood webpage for details
 
Sat. Oct 31, 2-3pm, Afternoon Nature Discoveries, Black Diamond Mines Facebook Live event
 
*At time of publication, Sunol remains closed due to fire danger with no proposed date for reopening. To see if parks are open or closed, please check our COVID-19 & Wildfire Park and Trail Updates page. 
**At time of publication, Ardenwood remains closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but is scheduled to reopen soon.
Connecting Parks to People
Plan Your Next Adventure
 East Bay Regional Park District |1 (888) EBPARKS | info@ebparks.org | www.ebparks.org