February 2021
Survey Shows Public Considers Parks Essential Service
In July 2020, the East Bay Regional Park District commissioned a scientific survey to obtain public views on the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of parks. The Park District has a long history of conducting surveys to gather community feedback regarding park services, use, and funding priorities. The survey was a follow up to the Park District’s 85th Anniversary online community survey in 2019.

The July 2020 scientific survey showed support for the Park District’s efforts to keep parks open during COVID-19 (92%) and that the public greatly values parks for their physical and mental health benefits (96%). The survey results are satisfying given the Park District’s decades-long Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative that, in partnership with local health providers and institutions, analyzes and promotes the health benefits of visiting parks.

Overall, the 2020 survey shows the Park District’s approach to COVID-19 – keeping parks open with safety precautions and signage – was the correct decision and strongly supported by the public. The survey also showed that the public considers the Park District an essential service and vital to the local economy by supporting maintenance, construction, and restoration jobs in the East Bay.
COVID-19 Update: Spring Reopenings
COVID-19 guidelines for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties were recently updated to allow for additional outdoor recreational activities. Group camping sites and reservable picnic areas remain closed under the current guidelines. East Bay Regional Park reopenings include:
  • Tilden Little Farm, Ardenwood Historic Farm, and the Regional Parks Botanic Garden are reopening on February 18 with RESERVATIONS REQUIRED (Capacity Limited).
  • Anthony Chabot and Del Valle campgrounds are reopened February 11 with RESERVATIONS REQUIRED (Capacity Limited). Reservations will be open for a 4-week window online or by phone.
  • Most backpack sites are open with RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.

Together #WeAreEBRPD
You may know Quarry Lakes Park Supervisor Marcus Phinnessee from his recent appearance in our multi-agency PSA videos. Marcus has a long personal history with the Park District, starting with his father who enjoyed an 18-year career as a park ranger at Miller Knox and Point Pinole. He was inspired to join the Park District family to be a steward of the land – and to drive cool equipment like tractors! Marcus’ father encouraged him to fill out an application, although he wasn’t sure he’d get hired. Despite his doubts, he applied and was hired as a park ranger at Crown Beach in 2001.

In 2011 Marcus was promoted to park supervisor at the Alameda Creek Regional Trail and transferred to Quarry Lakes in 2015, where he remains today. He views his most important duty as a park supervisor is creating a positive work environment for his crew, which has become his work family. Marcus’ job entails planning projects, encouraging teamwork, collaborating with neighboring agencies, training his crew, and setting them up on a path for success. Working for the Park District also gives him the opportunity to attend job fairs to talk with teenagers about Park District jobs, attend elementary school career days, be an on call-firefighter with the Regional Parks Fire department (15 years), and give young people of color someone who looks like them in a leadership position. “I tell them, if I can do it, you can too!”
Get to Know 2021 Park District Board President Dee Rosario
At the start of each year, the governing positions of the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors rotate between its members. This year, Director Dee Rosario was named President of the Board for 2021. Director Rosario is a retiree of the Park District with a 37-year career, having held positions such as park ranger, firefighter, fire lieutenant, and park supervisor of Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. Born in Oakland and raised in the East Bay, he has a long history of public service within the local community. Director Rosario represents Ward Two of the Park District, a centrally located ward which spans both counties and covers nine cities and 11 regional parks. He recently took part in the Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline Virtual Dedication and provided an introduction for the Park District Celebrating Volunteers in the East Bay Regional Park District video, showing his gratitude to Park District volunteers whose programs are in hiatus due to the pandemic.
The Bird Formerly Known as the Sparrowhawk
Learn about American Kestrels, the smallest bird of prey in North America, from our Coyote Hills interpretive staff. Kestrels are not only beautiful but also fantastic hunters. They are highly adaptable, often seen around areas with human activity. More Info.
Are You a #PupPro? 
The Park District is proud to be one of the most dog-friendly organizations in the nation. We need dog owners’ help to keep parks environmentally safe for everyone.

Remember to leash up your pup in designated areas (parking lots, trailheads, picnic areas, paved trails, etc.) to keep parks safe and enjoyable for all. More #PupPro Info
Quagga Inspection Survey
Invasive Dreissenid Mussels, commonly known as quagga and zebra mussels, can quickly contaminate waterways and rapidly spread via watercraft, trailer, or equipment from infected waters. As part of invasive mussel prevention grant funding from the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, the East Bay Regional Park District is conducting a short survey on quagga and zebra mussel prevention in Regional Park lakes and reservoirs. The survey will be run through the end of February. Take the Survey.
Encinal Beach Dune Restoration Project Completion
Encinal Beach, one of Alameda’s hidden gems at the end of the access road off Central and west of Encinal High School, reopened at the end of last year after the restoration project was completed. The East Bay Regional Park District refurbished the sand dunes, added trails, and made the areas more accessible through funding from past regional refunding Measures AA and WW. Encinal Beach connects to the adjacent City of Alameda Encinal Boat Launch, which was also renovated earlier this year with grant funding and includes a low-float dock for kayaks and non-motorized watercrafts, a new restroom, fish cleaning station, and an outdoor shower. Alameda Sun article.
Harbor Seals Hanging Out Near Encinal Beach in Alameda
Harbor Seals love to lounge and warm up in the sun on a special floating platform at Encinal Beach in Alameda, not far from Crab Cove. Many more seals will arrive as herring, one of their favorite foods, start spawning in the winter. Up to 80 harbor seals have been seen squeezed together on this very same dock! They can easily be seen with binoculars from the nearby SF Bay Trail. More Info.
Marvelous Murietta Falls 
With the recent reopening of Ohlone Wilderness Regional Preserve, adventurous visitors have the chance to see Murietta Falls, a special seasonal waterfall. Appearing after the right amount of winter rains, hearty explorers can be one of the lucky few to observe this winter wonder. Murietta Falls is located in the Ohlone Wilderness accessed from Del Valle Regional Park. You never know if you’ll find a rushing fall, a thread-like trickle, or no water at all after a 4,500 foot climb, 6-mile one-way trip. Be prepared for the terrain - if you venture in right after a heavy rain, you may be a couple inches taller when you leave due to the mud clinging to your boots! 
Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary Clean-Up
Last month, a Regional Parks team including staff from Stewardship, Roads & Trails, and Park Operations assembled in Alameda to help protect wildlife habitat at the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary. Braving the weather and tides, the team worked together to completely remove 40 to 60 cubic yards of non-native, toxic wood debris from the bird sanctuary. The Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary provides critical habitat for nearly 200 bird species. The Ridgway’s Rail, Western Snowy Plover, and California Least Tern are among the protected special status birds known to use the area. Please note that there is no entry into the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary to facilitate ongoing restoration work.
Crown Beach Expansion Plan Development Begins - Survey Open to Public
The East Bay Regional Park District is planning public access for 3.89 acres of new parkland at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach next to Crab Cove Visitor Center, as well as street improvements along McKay Avenue, in the city of Alameda. The “McKay Master Plan” includes year-long planning for new recreational amenities and increased shoreline resiliency. Find out more about the project and take the online survey to weigh in on new design options. Survey ends Feb 15. Take the Survey.
Celebrating Black History Month
On the 77th anniversary of the Port Chicago Naval Magazine explosion, the East Bay Regional Park District will present a video co-produced by the National Park Service called "A Legacy of Civil Rights." This tragic event, born of the racial prejudices prevalent in the military at that time, served as a major catalyst for the burgeoning social justice efforts of the 1950s and ’60s Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. Watch the video on the Park District Facebook page on Wednesday, Feb 17 at 9:00 am.

Every Friday this month, Big Break Naturalist Melissa Fowlks will feature prominent Black scientists, environmentalists or people in the field of interpretation during Big Break Littles Storytime on Facebook. This Friday she will feature a story of zoologist and entomologist Charles Henry Turner. Listen to her latest stories every Friday in February at 11 am on the Big Break Facebook page.
Community Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Month of Service: Celebrate Martin Luther King's Day of Service with a month-long neighborhood clean-up! Beginning on January 18, community volunteers can register any time until February 18th to clean up local neighborhoods, communities and parks. More Info.

The 29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Rally: The Park District celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a virtual pre-recorded multicultural event honoring his life and dream through words, song, dance, and spirit, and emceed by EBRPD Board Director Ellen Corbett. Presented by the Martin Luther King Jr Rally Committee, this special program was the 29th year as Oakland’s longest continuing celebration of Dr. King. Featured guests included former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, youth from MLK Freedom Center, and many others. Watch video.
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Join millions of people worldwide February 12–15, 2021 for the Great Backyard Bird Count! Watching birds is a safe and enjoyable activity anyone can do during the Covid pandemic, whether at home or in a Regional Park. Report your observations from a computer or download an app to your phone. If you are new to the Great Backyard Bird Count, download the free Merlin Bird ID app to participate. Experienced birders who have participated before can download the eBird app for reporting. Step outside this weekend to observe, count and enjoy birds and report your findings until midnight of Feb. 15.
Bridging the Nature Gap
In the recent issue of Compass Magazine, the Regional Parks Foundation looks at diversity and inclusion efforts in our Regional Parks. The article touches on the fundamental obligation to provide access to outdoor places for everyone and ways to specifically draw people of color to the parks. “Our goal is not only to make people feel welcome, but feel like they belong,” said Keith White, Regional Parks Foundation board member and chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Read Bridging the Nature Gap.
Love is in the Air in Regional Parks
Valentine's Day is coming! Show your love for parks and share your #LoveEBRPD photos at www.ebparks.org/LoveEBRPD.
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.
Fri. Feb 12, 4:30-5pm. Live From the Archive - Beauty Edition, Black Diamond Mines (Facebook)

Sat. Feb 13, 9-10am, Nature Journaling Workshop: Winter Series, Sunol (Zoom)

Sat. Feb 13, 11-11:15am, February Live Virtual Programs: Bluebirds, Crab Cove (Zoom)

Mon. Feb 15, 10-11am, Lakeside Littles, Del Valle (Facebook)

Sat. Feb 20, 9-9:45am, Coffee with a Naturalist, Sunol (Zoom)

Sat. Feb 20, 11-11:15am, February Live Virtual Programs: Rocky Shore, Crab Cove (Zoom)

Sun. Feb 21, 11-11:15am, February Live Virtual Programs: Gray Fox, Crab Cove (Zoom)

Sat. Feb 27, 11-11:15am, February Live Virtual Programs: Biggest Tree Crab Cove (Zoom)
Connecting Parks to People
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 East Bay Regional Park District |1 (888) EBPARKS | info@ebparks.org | www.ebparks.org