Now that the semi-rainy season seems to be over, work has resumed on a major construction project along several miles of Carquinez Scenic Drive between Martinez and Port Costa.
Workers are repairing damage caused by landslides back in the 1980s that nearly destroyed sections of the road. After embankments and slopes have been stabilized with retaining walls, new drainage systems will be installed and the road will be brought up to multiuse trail standards.
Carquinez Scenic Drive remains closed to the public at present. When work is completed this fall, the drive will become part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, open to pedestrians, equestrians and bicycles. The only motorized traffic allowed will be emergency and service vehicles.
Carquinez Scenic Drive was originally a Contra Costa County road. East Bay Regional Park District acquired a trail easement from the county in December 2012. Funding sources for the estimated $5.5 million project include a grant from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II fund, the State Coastal Conservancy, Contra Costa Transportation Authority Measure J and the park district's Measure WW bond funds.
point molate: There's other Bay Trail news, too. Chevron USA has donated a recreational trail easement in Richmond to the East Bay Regional Park District to complete a spur of the Bay Trail at Point Molate.
When completed, the new 1-mile segment will provide public access along historic shoreline property from the east side of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to Richmond's Point Molate Beach Park. It will also link to a future regional park at Point Molate. The park district will take the lead in securing funding for design and construction of the trail extension and will provide matching funds as necessary from its Measure WW park bonds approved by voters in 2008.
Temescal: Assisted by funding from the Regional Parks Foundation, the park district has restored the waterfall in the gardens behind the Beach House at Temescal Regional Recreation Area in Oakland. The waterfall and Beach House were both Works Progress Administration creations back in 1940, and the Beach House was once park district headquarters.
"By 2012, the pump and the infrastructure for the water feature were either damaged, or near the end of their useful service lives," said Kelly Barrington, the district's chief of maintenance. "We're grateful that with the help of the Regional Parks Foundation and staff efforts we were able to restore the water flow to that seen in historic photos and make significant structural improvements."
Restoration included repair and replacement of elements in the system that cycled water from the lake to the waterfall and back. The total cost was $35,000.
Alameda: Along with the city of Alameda, the East Bay Regional Park District is a co-sponsor of Alameda Earth Day at Washington Park on Westline Drive next to Crown Beach. It's from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 with all sorts of fun activities and Earth Day-themed giveaways. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Tilden: Recording your outdoor experiences in a nature journal is the topic of a free how-to session from 2 to 3 p.m. April 26 at the Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley, led by interpretive student aide Tricia Radis. It's for ages 5 and older.
And from 2 to 3 p.m. April 27, interpretive student aide Morgan Evans will present a slide show about wildflowers. She'll talk about how some wildflowers have been reclassified based on DNA testing.
Both programs are at Tilden's Environmental Education Center. It's at the north end of Central Park Drive. But to get there, turn off the drive onto Lone Oak Road, park at the end, and follow the signs on foot. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Black Diamond: Wildflowers are also the theme at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch. Naturalist aide Mickey Rovere will lead a short walk there from 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 26 to show how some plants thrive on ground that has been impacted by landslides, road building or cattle ranching. Best for ages 7 and older. Meet at the end of Somersville Road, 4 miles south of Highway 4 in Antioch. Rain cancels. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
Right at the moment, wildflowers are at their peak. It's always hard to predict how long the peak will last, but just recently there were beautiful displays out at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mount Diablo. Meadows along the Volvon and Blue Oak Trails were carpeted with filaree (storksbill).
Big Break: Out at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley, "Faux Fishing" is on the agenda from 2 to 3 p.m. April 26. The park's interpretive staff will lead some fishing games with the purpose of learning how to identify various fish species in the Delta. Big Break is located at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.