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Richmond Regional Parks Cited for Two Firsts

New shoreline camp boosts Bay Water Trail

By Denis Cuff
Contra Costa Times

Posted: 10/07/2009 01:16:47 PM PDT

Updated: 10/07/2009 01:16:47 PM PDT

 

It was just a two-hour kayak paddle from San Rafael to Richmond, but it was a big step forward for the San Francisco Bay Water Trail, a network of launching and camping spots for paddlers.

A trio of kayakers paddled five miles across the Bay to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond on Monday to become the first visitors to the first new campground for the Bay Water Trail since California lawmakers authorized its creation in 2005.

The East Bay Regional Park District developed the group camp ó its first shoreline one ó cozily inside the sheltered earth and concrete walls of an old dynamite bunker, where commercial explosives manufacturing ceased in 1959.

"It's taken a while to get the water trail going, but this camp is just what we need," Bo Barnes, a veteran paddler, said after landing on a beach at Point Pinole Shoreline. "San Francisco Bay is the biggest wilderness in the Bay Area. We need more water access points to use it."

While the campground is not scheduled to open officially until an Oct. 24 dedication, the paddlers from Bay Access, a group formed to promote the water trail, visited the campgrounds Monday and stayed nearby, becoming the boat campers in the 2,100-acre shoreline park in northern Richmond.

Paddlers and park officials said the new campground is a prime addition to the Bay Water Trail.

Located near a eucalyptus grove south of the park's popular fishing pier, the group camp has such basic amenities as water, bathrooms, a fire pit and cooking grill, plus a quiet and scenic setting away from busy roads and freeways on land or the busy shipping lanes on the Bay.

And of course, the campground is near the Bay, an expanse of about 470 square miles of water surrounded by nine counties.

"With all this, who needs Hawaii?" Barnes said.

"You can spend a week vacation paddling around the Bay."

The group is doing just that, paddling for six days on a trip around the Bay. The trio used compartments in their kayak hulls to carry clothes, sleeping bags and food, including the tortillas that Barnes says will last for two weeks in the damp marine air.

Beginning paddlers should not attempt a trip like this because wind, waves and currents can make travel dangerous, safety experts say, but an experienced kayaker can paddle far and wide ó enjoying solitude and wildlife.

Early Monday, the trio of paddlers spotted seals and seagulls churning the water into a boil as they dove in a frenzy to hunt fish. While camping at Angel Island State Park over the weekend, the trio saw a peregrine falcon dive bomb and kill a bird in mid-flight.

"Imagine seeing all that in an area with millions of people," said Fran Sticha, of Lafayette, one of the paddlers on the trip.

The park district is likely to add other boat campgrounds or launch areas at other shoreline parks so kayakers, canoers and others in small, human-powered watercraft can travel from place to place over several days, said Pat O'Brien, the park district's general manger.

When and where is yet to be determined, he added.

The state Coastal Conservancy is expected next year to consider a water trail environmental impact report to provide guidance to private and public landowners on where and how to develop boating spots.

"The Bay Water Trail expands the vision of trails," O'Brien said.

"We associate the trails with lands, but in this case, the trail is already there with the Bay. Our challenge is to provide destinations on the land."

Reach Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Read the Capricious Commuter blog at www.ibabuzz.com/transportation.

IF YOU GO
The East Bay Regional Park District will dedicate the new group camp site at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond at 10 a.m. Oct. 24 at the shoreline park, 5551 Giant Highway. The event is free, but the park district requests attendees RSVP by calling 510-544-2008 or e-mailing srogers@ebparks.org. The overnight camp will be open by reservation only to groups paddling in from the Bay or walking or driving in with a park escort.

 

Point Isabel in Richmond Picked as #1 Dog Park In Country

Dogs playing at Point Isabel Regional Seashore in Richmond, CA. Photo courtesy of Flickr member bgreenlee.

Dogs playing at Point Isabel Regional Seashore in Richmond, CA. Photo courtesy of Flickr member bgreenlee.

Today, Petside.com counted off the top 10 dog parks in the country and, most notably, they included the Bay Areaís Point Isabel Regional Shoreline as itís number 1 choice. Iím not sure exactly how you judge dog parks that are across the county from one another and Iím not entirely sure why petside.com has decided to undertake such a grand account of the best dog parks in America (probably so blogs like ours will talk about it), but there is little doubt that they were anything but spot on in picking the Richmond park as their number one choice.

With over 21 acres bordering the San Francisco Bay (making it the largest in the nation), cleanup bags and trash cans handy and a complete off-leash policy allowing your dog to play as he/she/it was truly intended, there is little doubt why the park was picked as the best in the US. Itís not as if itís a secret either: the park sees over 750,000 dog visits are year (500,000 by humans). To get to the park, take the Central Ave. exit in Richmond off of I-80, go west towards the bay and youíll hit the park in no time. Also, as dogsquad.biz points out, make sure to a) have great voice control over your dog, as the park is often crowded b) beware of aggressive dogs, as the park is often crowded c) if you go on the weekends go as early as possible, as, you guessed it, the park is often crowded and d) if you go on the weekdays youíll have the park entirely to yourself. Donít think of the crowds as a deterrent though; just think of it as evidence of great a dog park it is (and isnít the whole point of a dog park to let your dog play freely with others anyway?). For more information, visit Point Isabel Dog Owners and Friends and East Bay Regional Park District (for rules).

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Point Isabel in Richmond Picked as #1 Dog Park In Country | The ...
By Patrick
Today, Petside.com counted off the top 10 dog parks in the country and, most notably, they included the Bay Area's Point Isabel Regional Shoreline as it's number 1 choice. I'm not sure exactly how you judge dog parks that are across the ...
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