The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) has partnered with the City of Concord and the National Park Service to provide a new regional park in Concord on the former Concord Naval Weapons Station. The Concord Hills Regional Park is the working name for a world class regional park that will provide a full range of trail opportunities, wildlife preservation, and environmental and historic interpretation including a partnership with the National Park Service to develop a joint visitor center highlighting the history of the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial.
The 5,028 acre Inland Area of the Concord Naval Weapons Station was approved for closure by the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) in November 2005. The City of Concord, acting as the Local Reuse Authority, initiated a multi-year community planning process culminating in the adoption of a Reuse Plan in 2010. This plan was further refined and integrated into Concord’s General Plan through the adoption of the Concord Reuse Project Area Plan in January 2012.
The adopted Area Plan provides for development of over 12,200 new housing units, over 6.1 million square feet of commercial floor space, and a variety of community facilities and city parks. The proposed development would primarily be clustered on the western portion of the former base. The adopted Area Plan also includes a new regional park of 2,537 acres located on the eastern portion of the site to be conveyed to the District through a public benefit conveyance. Additional information on the City of Concord’s Reuse Plan and Area Plan can be found at ConcordReuseProject.org
The East Bay Regional Park District submitted an application for a public benefit conveyance through the National Park Service Federal Lands to Parks program in September 2013. On May 8, 2014, the National Park Service informed the District that the Public Benefit Conveyance application for 2,540 acres of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station was approved and that they will grant a public benefit allowance of 100 percent of the fair market value of the property to be conveyed.
The current schedule estimates that the initial transfer of the 2,453 acres found suitable for transfer within the proposed regional park area could be conveyed in the first or second quarter of 2016.
The East Bay Regional Park District will hold public meetings to share ideas about the future world-class regional park to be located within the former Concord Naval Weapons Station. The public meetings will build upon the previous public meetings that informed the Concord Reuse Project Area Plan (2012), which encompasses the future regional park, and will be the first in a series of meetings dedicated to the Concord Hills Regional Park.
The East Bay Regional Park District will be developing a Land Use Plan for the new Concord Hills Regional Park starting in 2014. Community meetings and stakeholder outreach will begin in early 2015. The planning process will include numerous opportunities to provide input and share your vision for the future park. The anticipated schedule for key project phases is provided below. Opportunities for public input, including Public Outreach Meetings and online engagement activities, and are identified for each project phase.
1. Resource Protection – The District will work closely with the City, state and federal resource agencies, project developers, and other stakeholders to ensure the protection of critical natural and cultural resources found on the CNWS.
2. Resource Enhancement, Restoration, and Mitigation – The District will proactively engage project developers and state and federal resource agencies to identify lands appropriate for resource enhancement and restoration and provide for required mitigation for proposed development on the CNWS site.
3. Public Access and Recreation – The District will work diligently to ensure that resource protection and enhancement programs are balanced with the need to provide for public access and recreation throughout CNWS site.
4. Environmental Education and Interpretation – The District will pursue creative opportunities and collaborative partnerships to provide world-class environmental education and interpretation programs and facilities throughout the CNWS to preserve and share the unique natural, cultural, social, and military history of the CNWS and the Central Contra Costa County region.
Short Loop Trail System
Miles of former rail line traverse the former Concord Naval Weapons Station. The East Bay Regional Park District will work to embark on a “rails-to-trails” conversion project to reclaim key segments and loops of these former rail lines into a trail system that will include mild grades and provide access throughout the Concord Hills Regional Park.
Mount Diablo Creek Trail
The Mount Diablo Creek Trail will be a rail-to-trail conversion project that will follow the eastern banks of Mount Diablo Creek for approximately 2 miles connecting Bailey Road to Contra Costa Canal trail through the planned City-wide park within the Concord Reuse Project area.
Contra Costa Canal to Delta DeAnza Trail Gap Closure
The Concord Naval Weapons Station forms the greenbelt between the cities of Concord and Pittsburg. The closure of the base provides the opportunity to close the gap between the existing Delta DeAnza Trail terminating at the bases eastern boundary in Pittsburg and the Concord Costa Canal Trail terminating at the bases western boundary.
Los Medanos Hills Ridge Trail
The Concord Hills Regional Park will include the Los Medanos Hills Ridge Trail that will provide connections from Willow Pass Road south along the ridge to Bailey Road. South of Bailey Road the trail will continue and provide connections to properties located south of the property on Kirker Pass Road. Connections beneath Kirker Pass Road will enable a regional connection into Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Mount Diablo State Park, and beyond.
Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Visitors Center
The East Bay Regional Park District has partnered with the National Park Service to develop a joint visitor center that will expand access to the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial story and provide other natural and cultural interpretive opportunities. The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial was established by President Obama in 2010 to commemorate the national significance of the largest homefront disaster of World War II and the subsequent events that led to the desegregation of the military. The National Memorial is located within the Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO), within the tidal area of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station that was transferred to the Army following closure of the inland area. The area remains under military security and restricted to public access.
For additional information on the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, please visit nps.gov/poch. The following video highlights the significance of the Port Chicago explosion and subsequent events:
Concord Hills Regional Park – Conceptual Map
Oak Tree with a view of Mount Diablo. Photo by Stephen Joseph
Rattlesnake Canyon in the South of Bailey Road Area. Photo by Stephen Joseph
View North Across Rattlesnake Canyon in the South of Bailey Road Area. Photo by Stephen Joseph
Cistern Building. Photo by Stephen Joseph
View towards Mount Diablo. Photo by Stephen Joseph