Golden Gate Fields, the preeminent horse racing venue in Albany, has donated a 4.88-acre easement of prime waterfront property to the East Bay Regional Park District. The donated property, which runs through the cities of Berkeley and Albany, will provide a key link to the existing San Francisco Bay Trail, giving the public easy, safe and secure access to the current trail.
"This is a boon for bicyclists, joggers, bird watchers and thousands of others who enjoy the Bay Trail," said East Bay Regional Park District board member Whitney Dotson, whose district includes Albany. "We are very grateful to Golden Gate Fields and their parent company, the Stronach Group, for this gift which will benefit generations of Bay Area residents."
The East Bay Regional Park District’s Board of Directors will accept the donation at their June 7th, 2016 Board meeting. Construction is expected in several years after the Park District completes design and required permitting for the 20 foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path. The San Francisco Bay Trail is a paved path that will eventually encircle San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. Of the trail's planned 500 miles, 345 are in place, but key gaps remain. The stretch behind Golden Gate Fields - from Gilman Street in Berkeley to Albany Beach - provides spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tamalpais.
“The Stronach Group is pleased to make this donation on behalf of Golden Gate Fields," said Keith Brackpool, chairman of Golden Gate Fields. "We look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with the Park District to refine the future use and enhancement of our property.”
Golden Gate Fields and the East Bay Regional Park District will cooperate on the design and development of the new Bay Trail segment, in conjunction with the Master Plan for Golden Gate Fields and other areas surrounding the trail.
In addition to the trail donation, the East Bay Regional Park District will also acquire approximately 2.88 acres from Golden Gate Fields. At least one-third of this property, adjacent to Albany Beach, has been designated for sand dune and wetland habitat restoration with improvements for recreational and public access.