East Bay Regional Park District announces plans for Bay Trail

Casey Zhang/Staff

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East Bay Regional Park District, or EBRPD, is set to fill one of the “largest remaining gaps” in the East Bay section of the San Francisco Bay Trail, according to an EBRPD press release from Oct. 22.

The Bay Trail Plan was adopted in 1989 and intends to provide 500 miles of walking and cycling paths, running along the perimeter of the San Francisco and San Pablo bays. As a part of this latest effort, EBRPD will extend the Bay Trail by about 1 mile between Berkeley and Albany and also restore habitat at Albany Beach.

“Thanks to voter-approved funding, the Albany Beach area of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park will soon see major improvements to both habitat and public access,” said Dave Mason, spokesperson for EBRPD.

EBRPD  — a system of parklands and trails made up of 121,397 acres — manages 73 regional parks, including more than 1,250 miles of trails for “hiking, biking, horseback riding, and nature learning,” according to the press release.

EBRPD’s new trail will provide “spectacular” views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tamalpais, according to the press release. The press release also said the planned trail segment runs across a 4.88-acre easement donated by the Golden Gate Fields.

Ginger Jui, executive director of Bike East Bay, a local bicycle nonprofit organization, said the organization loves this “visionary project,” which will let people walk, bike and jog all around the Bay on a path free from cars.

“This will complete an important route both for people walking their dog or getting exercise or commuting between cities with a safe and comfortable trail,” Jui said.

The extension of the trail between Buchanan and Gilman streets will be completed by December 2019.

Albany Beach will also be closed for five months, according to the press release. According to Mason, Albany Beach will be enhanced with parking, restrooms and picnic tables.

When completed, the Bay Trail will create connections between more than 130 parks and publicly accessible open-space areas around San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. It is nearly 70 percent complete, and its ultimate goal is to create a continuous shoreline bicycle and pedestrian path for anyone to enjoy. It runs through all nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities and across the region’s seven toll bridges.

Mason said while this latest project will mean that a “very large and significant gap” in the trail will be removed, there are still other gaps in the trail to create to eventually fill a continuous Bay Trail.

“As you can imagine (it) is an ambitious idea to create 500 miles around all of San Francisco Bay. As a result (the trail) travels a lot of jurisdictions, counties and property owners,” said Lee Huo, a Bay Trail planner. “So the Bay Trail is really … a community effort — it takes a village to finish it.”

Contact Sarah Chung at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sarahchungdc.