At their March 22, 2011 meeting, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors unanimously authorized the purchase of 798 acres that will expand Black Diamond Mines Regional Park in Eastern Contra Costa County.
The acquisition is being completed in partnership with the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy, which designated the property a high priority for acquisition and protection due to its significant habitat for protected species. The property also offers outstanding public access opportunities, enabling the development of trails connecting Black Diamond Mines to the district's Clayton Ranch property.
The Park District is purchasing the property from the heirs of Maxine Barron, a longtime owner of the property, for just under $3 million. The funding for the purchase comes from a US Fish and Wildlife Services grant, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and Measure WW, the land-acquisition bond issue passed by voters in 2008.
The property's features include moderate to steep sloping hills, with two canyons crossing it, Oil Canyon in the north, and Irish Canyon along the most southwestern area. On either side of Oil Canyon, steep hillsides rise to elevations reaching 1,668 feet. A creek runs through Oil Canyon, fed by smaller tributaries. The diverse habitats include oak woodlands, chaparral and grasslands. Assistant General Manager for Land Acquisition Nancy Wenninger describes the land as "one of the most beautiful properties I have been privileged to purchase for the District."
"It's a major link from Black Diamond to Clayton Ranch," said Board of Directors Member Ted Radke, "We've been trying to create this wildlife corridor for a long time. In addition to being a wonderful acquisition, it's also one of the most scenic spots, with spectacular views. We're very pleased with the partnership with the Conservancy."
The acquisition will expand Black Diamond Mines Regional Park, making it the third largest park in the system, at 6,173 acres. The property will be kept in land bank status pending completion of a land use plan amendment.
Download (Acrobat PDF): Board Materials, Acquisition Evaluation and Property Map