Creating a World Class Regional Park on a Former Military Base
- Open +2,500 acres of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station as an outstanding new Regional Park.
- Develop and manage the new park for protection, enhancement and restoration of natural resources, and to reduce risk of wildfire.
- The Regional Park will benefit the overall landscape character of the parklands and specific cultural and historic resources.
- Complete gaps in regional trails networks, provide a range of recreational trails throughout the Park, and facilitate and encourage pedestrian, bicyclist and public transit access to the site.
- Develop and manage recreational, educational facilities that offer a range of opportunities to experience the unique natural, cultural, social and military history of the parklands site.
- Establish a historical interpretation program and visitor center in partnership with the National Park service and other stakeholders.
Thurgood Marshall Regional Park – Home of the Port Chicago 50 is in the Los Medanos Hills between the cities of Concord and Pittsburg. The 2,500-acre site, along with undeveloped land along its border, forms a greenbelt between the cities. The Regional Park site is divided into two sections north and south of Bailey Road.
The Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) accommodated the changing needs of its inhabitants and settlers for centuries, including indigenous people, miners, ranchers, and the United State Navy, as well as local wildlife species from grizzly bears to California red-legged frogs. From the 1940s until its closure in 2005, the property was used exclusively by the military, limiting public access as well as private development. The CNWS emerged as a prominent part of the East Bay landscape, offering striking grassland and hillside views while contributing to a substantial network of undeveloped open space. CNWS was approved for closure by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 2005. In 2012, the Concord City Council adopted the Concord Reuse Project Area Plan and designated the western slopes of the Los Medanos Hills and the adjacent area as the future Regional Park site. In July 2020, the East Bay Regional Park District adopted a Land Use Plan and an Environmental Impact Report to begin the process of building Thurgood Marshall Regional Park – Home of the Port Chicago 50 on over 2,500 acres, in partnership with the National Park Service, to serve generations of current and future East Bay residents.
Official Park Name, “Thurgood Marshall Regional Park – Home of the Port Chicago 50,” is adopted by the Board of Directors.
NAACP civil rights lawyer and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, helped defend the fifty black sailors accused of mutiny after the devastating Port Chicago Naval Magazine blast that killed 320 men, mostly African American, and injured 390 more, on July 17, 1944. It was the largest Homefront disaster of World War II. The military trial took place on Treasure Island in nearby San Francisco Bay from September 14 to October 24, 1944. Although the fifty sailors were found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison, Thurgood Marshall’s high-profile appeal paved the way for the desegregation of the entire U.S. military. Marshall went on to argue the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which led to school desegregation nationwide, and became the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 1967. The new park land formerly known as the Concord Naval Weapons Station, part of the larger Port Chicago military complex, was referred to as “Concord Hills Regional Park” during the planning process.
Land Use Plan
- Land Use Plan - Adopted July 7, 2020 (142 pp) [PDF]
- Land Use Plan Appendices - May 1, 2020 (215 pp) [PDF]
Project Videos and Media
- Press Release: Park District to Receive $3 Million for Public Access at New Thurgood Marshall Regional Park
- Press Release: Park District Receives Land from U.S. Navy for Regional Park at Concord Naval Weapons Station
- East Bay Times - Navy hands over part of old Concord weapons site for creation of huge regional park
- NBC Bay Area - Navy Formally Turns Over Former Concord Naval Weapons Station Land for Park
- Channel 5 (KPIX) - Navy Turns Over Concord Weapons Station Land for New Regional Park
- Brochure: Concord Hills Regional Park: A Legacy of Landscape Transformation (2 pp.) [PDF]
- City of Concord - Community Reuse Project for the Concord Naval Weapons Station
- National Park Service – Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial
- Friends of Port Chicago
A Legacy of Civil Rights: Port Chicago / Concord Hills - Feb. 17, 2021, 5m:13s
Congressman DeSaulnier and GM Doyle on the Future Regional Park at Port Chicago - Jan 28, 2021. 3min:42s
Concord Hills Regional Park Conveyance - July 13, 2019, 3m:39s