With state finances in the pits and many state parks facing service reductions or even outright closure, it’s refreshing to know that forward-thinking Alameda and Contra Costa counties are home to the largest urban park district in the United States.
Many of the 65 parks included in the East Bay Regional Parks District are not known outside the region; in fact, many Northern Californians don’t even know the EBPRPD exists. Its history dates to 1934, with the first land acquisition coming two years later. To date the district has preserved more than 100,000 acres of open space with 1,500 miles of trails, not to mention lakes, historic sites, interpretive centers, campgrounds and many other visitor facilities.
Parks range in character from Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, site of former coal and sand mining operations; to Redwood Regional Park, a forest environment just over a ridge from downtown Oakland; to Del Valle Regional Park, a 5,000-acre preserve with a lake big enough for boating.
Best of all for DogTrekkers, rules regarding canines are relaxed. While leashes are required in developed areas, the prevailing attitude is “you’re responsible for your dog, and I‘m responsible for mine.“ In other words, off leash and under voice control is the ticket in un-posted areas. If you live in or come from a place where open space is at a premium and the only place you can let Rover romp is in the back yard, you’ll be amazed at these incredible resources.