By Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor, East Bay Regional Park District
Bay Point Regional Shoreline reopened to the public Friday, November 20, 2020, after being closed for 14 months to restore habitat and construct public access improvements. The project, officially known as the Bay Point Regional Shoreline Habitat
Restoration and Public Access Project, includes additional parking, bathrooms, picnic areas, drinking fountains, elevated walking and hiking trails, and a kayak launch.
Bay Point Regional Shoreline provides access to open space and marsh habitat in an area surrounded by residential, military, and industrial development. The nearly 150-acre park is at the approximate midpoint of the San Francisco Bay Estuary and the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta. The East Bay Regional Park District acquired the park property in 1996.
The Park District celebrated the reopening of Bay Point Regional Shoreline with a live virtual program on Friday, November 20, at 10:00 a.m. with a naturalist-lead virtual tour, behind the scenes video, and featured speakers, including Park District General Manager Robert Doyle, Board President Ellen Corbett, Board Member Colin Coffey who represents the area, Board Member Beverley Lane who has long-advocated for more recreational opportunities in East Contra Costa County, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymember Tim Grayson and Pittsburg Council Member Shanelle Scales-Preston. Virtual program available at https://youtu.be/bHT7GGzXpNM?t=44.
“Parks like Bay Point Regional Shoreline are essential for the community’s physical and mental health, now more than ever,” said Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. “COVID has shown us just how important parks are for recreation, respite, and rejuvenation.”
“More than 4,000 residents live within a half-mile of the improved shoreline park. The project significantly expands access to nature for the neighboring community, which has historically had limited access to parks and open space,” added Doyle.
The project restored tidal emergent marshes and transitional uplands, preserving natural habitat for endangered species like the California black rail and salt marsh harvest mouse.
“The improvements at Bay Point Regional Shoreline, both to public access and habitat, provide eastern Contra Costa County residents and the neighboring community with better opportunities to experience nature nearby for enjoyment, learning, and health,” said Park District Board Director Colin Coffey. “Access to parks and nature close to home are more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Climate change impacts were also taken into account by the project. New trails, visitor improvements, and interpretive signage were all elevated to withstand future sea levels and environmental restoration designed to provide quality habitat even at anticipated 2080 sea levels.
“The Park District is excited to highlight Bay Point Regional Shoreline as one of the Park District’s climate-resilient parks, with habitat restoration and recreational amenities designed and built to withstand climate change impacts, including extreme weather and sea level rise,” said Park District Board President Ellen Corbett. “We are working to adapt to climate change and protect our parks and trails from coastal flooding due to sea level rise”
Funding for the park was from the Shell Oil spill mitigation fund.
The Park is now open to the public from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. For more information about Bay Point Regional Shoreline, visit EBRPD – Bay Point (ebparks.org).
The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the nation, comprising 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and over 1,300 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and environmental education. The Park District receives more than 25 million visits annually throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.