Park District Launches Trail Use Pilot Project at Briones Regional Park
On April 21, 2023, the East Bay Regional Park District is launching a temporary, two-year pilot project at Briones Regional Park to test a variety of trail management strategies. The Briones Pilot Project will provide new temporary access to some trails for recreational use, while also restoring illegally constructed “bootleg" trails to protect wildlife and enhance natural habitats.
The pilot project is limited to a specific zone in the northeast corner of Briones Regional Park (see map). Project objectives include protecting resources, habitat, wildlife, and watersheds; restoring natural habitat by closing illegal bootleg trails in the pilot project zone; enhancing the trail user experience; and, increasing volunteer engagement in trail maintenance and habitat restoration.
Briones Pilot Project Zone
“The goal of the pilot project is to identify options that balance recreational needs and environmental protection, given that the use of parks and trails has increased significantly in the Regional Parks over the past several years,” said Park District Board President Dennis Waespi. “The project will test innovative ways to share the trails, reduce conflicts, and improve the overall visitor experience, while also preserving natural habitat and protecting wildlife.”
The Briones Pilot Project establishes specific rules limiting trail use within the project zone and for two trail segments adjacent to the zone, such as hiking only, biking only, or biking/hiking only, and direction of travel. On weekends, trail use within the Pilot Project Zone will alternate days between bicycle and equestrian use based on odd and even calendar dates (see table).
Pilot Zone Schedule & Restrictions
The special rules below apply ONLY to trails within the pilot zone. Additional information on pilot project schedule and restrictions, visit the project webpage at ebparks.org/briones-pilot-project.
Restoring Illegally Built “Bootleg" Trails:
Another key component of the project is the restoration of illegally built “bootleg" trails to protect natural habitat for wildlife. These trails are often not built to sustainable trail standards with appropriate drainage and avoidance of sensitive natural habitats. Illegal trails can have negative impacts on wildlife and watersheds.
“Protecting wildlife and restoring natural habitats are top priorities of the Park District and this pilot project,” said Park District General Manager Sabrina Landreth. “The project will test a variety of trail management strategies. It will be a dynamic process as data gets collected to help inform ways for users to share trails and enjoy our parks recreationally. As we launch this pilot, we look forward to the public’s feedback and cooperation.”
How Trail Users Can Help:
Engaging with the trail user communities to maintain trails and restore habitat is one of the pilot project’s objectives. There will be many opportunities for people to volunteer to improve select trails and restore habitat. The first Briones Pilot Project Public “Dig Day” is scheduled for Saturday, May 13, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Alhambra Creek Staging Area. Sign up at www.ebparks.org/parks/briones/briones-pilot-project#Event
For more information about the Briones Pilot Project, visit ebparks.org/briones-pilot-project.
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.