PLEASANTON -- Off-road enthusiasts, environmental groups and the curious will get their first look at California State Parks' preferred plan for a proposed 3,500-acre expansion to the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area between Livermore and Tracy.

The meeting will be Tuesday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton.

The agency's controversial proposal to annex a lightly developed area southeast of Livermore into the off-highway park has divided riders, who say they need the room to recreate, and conservationists, who want the land -- which contains remnants of the historic Tesla mining town -- protected for its cultural and ecological value.

Since presenting its three concept alternatives for Carnegie in June, State Parks has received hundreds of public responses through workshops, letters, emails and comments on a website devoted to the general plan update. According to Carnegie park Superintendent Randy Caldera, state park planners arrived at their choice by blending parts of all three concepts and incorporating feedback gotten through the process.

"We've taken a pretty good bite out of each of those three to integrate in them into the third choice," Caldera said. "It's a pretty wide range of concepts."

State Parks will present the draft concept at a series of workstations, Caldera said, giving the public its first opportunity to view cultural concepts, planning maps and recreational possibilities.

State Parks is keeping mum on the details, but state officials do say the preferred option will include at least some degree of expanded off-highway vehicle usage, which is welcome news to Diana Mead, the California Off-Road Vehicle Association's regional director for Northern California.

"We are in desperate need of this expansion," Mead said. "I'm excited that this process is moving forward. For me and the riders I represent, it's not an if, but a when."

Friends of Tesla Park, a coalition of about 20 environmental groups that support the Tesla area becoming a historical and cultural park, plans to come out in full force to oppose the lack of a nonmotorized OHV option. Group co-founder Celeste Garamendi is asking the state to seek other alternatives, such as working with the East Bay Regional Park District, which has identified the acreage as a potential regional preserve.

"(State Parks) is trying to present this as a fait accompli, that it has to happen; that couldn't be further from the truth," Garamendi said. "There's no question Tesla Park is not an appropriate place for OHV use. We hope State Parks' leadership will exercise the discretion they have, and change the intended use of this land."

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.

IF YOU GO
California State Parks will present on Tuesday its preferred plan for the expansion of the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. The meeting will be from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Amador Valley High School, 1155 Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton.
All will be able to comment on the preferred concept. For those who can't make the meeting, State Parks will be also have a booth near the MotoMart at the Carnegie SVRA from 1 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 16. Entry will be free for those visiting the booth. For more about the draft concept, visit www.CarnegieGeneralPlan.com.