Antioch cyclist Jan McGreer's favorite riding spot used to be Los Vaqueros Watershed until the north side closed in April 2011.
She and other active members of the Delta Pedalers Bicycle Club of East Contra Costa County are anxious to begin regular rides there again once it reopens this weekend, she said. McGreer, who is the club's ride coordinator, said members have missed the rich biodiversity and safety of Los Vaqueros as a regular route.
"We have missed it a great deal," McGreer said. "There is so much wildlife out there that you can see."
Before the closure to complete a $109 million expansion project, the north side's trails and Interpretive Center were heavily used for recreation by visitors from Contra Costa and the Bay Area, according to Contra Costa Water District Director of Public Affairs Jennifer Allen.
"People came out to use the trails and to go fishing on the weekends," she said.
The north side was closed to protect the public's safety while the reservoir was expanded to hold more Delta water, Allen noted. She added that the project relocated the marina building, added more boat docks and fishing piers and helped to protect additional land there.
To celebrate the reopening, the district will host several free activities at the Interpretive Center on Saturday, including a light morning nature hike highlighting the watershed's flora and fauna, a bird presentation, Native American and nature arts and crafts,
Native American consultant Ramona Garibay and her family will show attendees how to create cords and ropes from natural fibers or make abalone shell bead or some acorn mush.
"The group of Native Americans will be doing some native crafts from their ancestors," Allen said. "The watershed has a rich cultural history."
District staff will also field questions about the dam expansion project, including a brief hike to the top.
"The reservoir project benefits water quality and storage," Allen said. "It can pump water when sensitive fish or species are not in the Delta."
What: Reopening of Los Vaqueros Watershed's north side
Details: Includes a nature hike along Kellogg Creek led by a naturalist at 9:30 a.m., a portable bird museum, Native American and nature arts and crafts, a spider and snake demonstration.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: 100 Walnut Blvd., Brentwood
Cost: Free. Parking and entry fees will be waived.