On November 5, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors authorized staff to purchase about 165 acres on Castro Ranch Road east of the City of Richmond in the El Sobrante area of unincorporated Contra Costa County. The negotiated price of $850,000 is $140,000 below its appraised fair market value; funding comes from Measure WW and Measure AA.
“This is an excellent opportunity to preserve ridgeland viewsheds in the Pinole Valley area,” said Park District Board Member Ted Radke. “The property will also help to link the adjacent Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve to nearby Kennedy Grove Regional Park as part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail alignment designated in the District’s 2013 Master Plan. Moreover, it creates a protected corridor linking Sobrante Ridge with adjoining EBMUD conservation lands, and ultimately iconic parks and trails in Wildcat Canyon, Tilden and beyond.”
Bay Area Ridge Trail Council Executive Director Janet McBride said, “Kudos to East Bay Regional Park District! This strategic acquisition will facilitate a premier Ridge Trail connection with expansive views. Once this key piece of the puzzle is secured, a single gap remains to connect 50 continuous miles of Ridge Trail stretching from Fernandez Ranch in Martinez all the way to North Garin Regional Park, beyond Castro Valley.”
Located directly to the south of and adjacent to Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve, the property can be accessed directly from Castro Ranch Road.
The steep hillsides rise from 320 feet along Castro Ranch Road to 980 feet at the property line with East Bay Municipal Utility District land to the south. From atop this ridge, views include the San Pablo Bay and distant Mount Tamalpais to the west, and the East Bay hills and Mt. Diablo to the south.
Nearly the entire property is covered in dense vegetation dominated by the oak woodland
plant community. Native coast live oak, valley oak and bay are found in abundance, particularly in the northeastern portion of the property. Understory species include several native species such as coyote brush, sagebrush and manzanita.
The property will be placed in land bank status until an amendment to the Interim Land Use Plan for Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area is approved, and the area is made safe for public use.
For more information, including photos of the property, see www.ebparks.org/about/meetings/default.htm
Download: 11-05-2013 - Bay Area Ridge Trail 165 Acres Presentation - [1.7 MB, PDF]