At Risk in Alameda County
Josh Seidenfeld and Diana Ip, residents of Oakland, love taking their daughter to Lake Merritt and Redwood Regional Park. And all that open space is next to a great city. “I love the food, the cultural diversity, and the incredible greenspace of the Bay Area,” Josh says.
Alameda County, with its urban side and rural eastern side, has a long record of positive conservation efforts, including protecting scenic East Bay hills and ridgelines and creating much-loved parks. The East Bay Regional Parks District includes more than 112,000 acres of public land in Alameda and Contra Costa counties—a total of 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails. The district is a national leader in acquiring lands and making them publicly accessible for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.
Of the land that is neither permanently protected nor already developed, 87% is protected by policy measures. The vast majority of that land enjoys high protection, thanks in large part to Measure D, the Save Agriculture and Open Space Lands Initiative. Passed by voters in 2000, Measure D requires voter approval to increase development capacity on county land and requires cities to abide by the urban growth boundary in the eastern part of the county.
However, despite strong policy protections on much of Alameda County’s land, some 30,000 acres remain at risk of development. Doolan Canyon, the area between Dublin and Livermore, remains ground zero for ongoing land-use battles, including a controversial proposal to develop as many as 1,990 units of sprawl housing.
Preserving parks is important to Josh and his family. “I can’t imagine raising a child in a place where she couldn’t run around and experience the power of nature,” he says. “Having green space keeps us sane mentally and physically. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”