From Point Isabel to Lake Del Valle, Black Diamond Mines to Sunol Regional Wilderness, Point Pinole to Mission Peak, the East Bay Regional Parks—funded largely by the taxpayers of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, with the remainder from usage fees, etc.—are a magnet to DogTrekkers from all over the region.
And no wonder. On the trails, on the beaches, or at the MeetUps, local pooches and their folks mix with those who come from all over the Bay Area, because this kind of off-leash experience just doesn't exist where they live. Whether your tastes run to mountain hikes in rugged terrain, overnight camping, sedate strolls, splashes in the lake or even a bit of fishing and boating, you and your dog can do it together in these spectacular destinations. And with the price of gas over four bucks a gallon these days, finding it all relatively close to home is a real boon.
But that could change. EBRPD is in the process of "updating its master plan," and they've put out a survey asking for public opinion. It didn't take dog folks long to notice that the questions relating to dog access are none too subtly steered toward greater restriction, with suggestions that dogs be limited to only a few areas and kept on leash in most of them. Nowhere in the survey is there an option for suggesting more off-leash access, or more dog-oriented recreation of any kind (though there is a comments section at the end).
Meanwhile, if you're a frequent user of the parks, becoming a member is a great way to show your support (and also save on parking and fees).
Photo: Mary Eisenhart