Fremont - As hawks and sparrows swooped overhead, East Bay officials broke ground Wednesday on a long-awaited plan to turn a Fremont industrial quarry into the Bay Area’s first shoreline campground built in decades.
When it’s complete, Dumbarton Quarry will be a 91-acre regional park with more than 100 campsites, an amphitheater, event center, restrooms, and an expansive meadow with views of San Francisco Bay, the East Bay hills, and the Peninsula.
“For more than 40 years, this quarry was a resource for infrastructure in the Bay Area. Now it will be a resource for something equally as important – recreation,” said Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. “This is a very exciting day for everyone.”
About 60 people attended the event, held next to the 1,000-foot-wide quarry pit just north of Highway 84. Officials from the East Bay Regional Park District, cities of Fremont, Union City, and Newark, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty’s office, State Senator Bob C. Wiekowski’s office, Rep. Eric Swalwell’s office, Dumbarton Quarry Associates, and the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge were on hand to address the crowd and perform the ceremonial ground-breaking with golden shovels.
The park will connect the 30,000-acre Don Edwards refuge with 980-acre Coyote Hills Regional Park, providing an important link in the San Francisco Bay Trail plus miles of hiking opportunities amid the wetlands and grassy hillsides of the southern East Bay shoreline.
The first phase, will include 63 RV campsite hook-ups, a picnic area, playground, amphitheater, restrooms, and trails. The second phase, expected to be finished in 10 to 12 years, will include 30 car campsites, 17 walk-in campsites, an event center, and the meadow.
The quarry dates from the Bay Area building boom of the 1950s. Rock from Dumbarton Quarry was used to build parts of San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, highways, and numerous other major infrastructure projects around the region. Providing about 1 million tons of gravel a year, the quarry went from a hillside 350 feet above sea level to a pit 350 feet below sea level – one of the lowest-elevation sites in the United States.
The quarry owners began negotiations with local officials in the 1970s to eventually turn the site into a park. Original plans called for the pit to become a lake, but those plans were scratched as the drought worsened. Now, crews are filling the pit with clean, tested dirt from Bay Area construction sites, including BART extension projects and the San Francisco PUC tunnel. Ultimately, crews will dump more than 5 million cubic yards of dirt into the old quarry, bringing it to about 50 feet above sea level.
The pit is now about halfway filled. Rainwater runoff in the pit will be pumped out as the project progresses.
The project, which is being overseen and funded by Dumbarton Quarry Associates, is a great example of a public-private partnership with long-term benefits to the entire Bay Area, said Bob McCarrick, president of Dumbarton Quarry Associates.
Park District Board Member Ayn Wieskamp said the new park will be an economic and recreational boon for Fremont and the entire Bay Area. It will draw local residents in need of some nearby R-and-R as well as for tourists in search of affordable accommodations in one of the most expensive, and crowded, regions in the United States.
“It’s such a beautiful location. People will love the connections to Coyote Hills and Don Edwards, and the proximity to Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and the rest of the East Bay,” she said. “Sometimes public works projects take a long time, but to see something like this accomplished – it’s worth it.”
Ground-breaking at Dumbarton Quarry Wednesday, May 6, 2015. From left to right: Rick Jones, Fremont city council; Doug Siden, East Bay Regional Park District board; Mike Hannon, Newark city council; John Sutter, East Bay Regional Park District board; Gus Morrison, former Fremont mayor; Carol Dutra-Vernaci, Union City mayor; Ayn Wieskamp, East Bay Regional Park District board; Rocky Fernandez, office of State Sen. Bob Wieckowski; Dennis Waespi, East Bay Regional Park District board; Bob McCarrick, Dumbarton Quarry Associates; Robert Doyle, East Bay Regional Park District general manager; Bill Harrison, Fremont mayor; Beverly Lane, East Bay Regional Park District board; Lily Mei, Fremont city council; Sue Chan, Fremont vice mayor.
Artist's rendering of the future meadow at Dumbarton Quarry
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Google Map of the surrounding area.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 119,000 acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning