Park Profile: Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve
“Because the Mare Island Preserve is a ready-made combination of cultural history, wild lands, and incredible scenic vistas, it’s a magnet for users from local and regional communities and beyond. The potential to be considered as a part of a regional park system is appealing. What we’ll want to focus on here is continuing to protect the fragile and unique resources that make it so magical for park users.” – Myrna Hayes, Mare Island Heritage Trust
The Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve is a 215-acre property that has great walking trails, beautiful wildlife highlighted by the annual Flyway Festival, a rich history, and stunning views of San Pablo Bay. While the Preserve is owned by the city of Vallejo, a dedicated group of local volunteers led by the mighty Myrna Hayes maintains and improves the property with very little funding received only from donations (her plants at the Visitor Center are pictured on the right).
The Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve formerly served as the U.S. Navy’s first Naval Ammunition Depot, founded in 1857. Until it was opened for regularly scheduled access in April 2008, the land was off-limits to the public due to past sensitive Navy munitions production, storage operations, and more recent environmental cleanup.
The property was granted by the California Legislature through the State Lands Commission to the City of Vallejo for development as a historic and nature focused park for all Californians in 2002. The volunteer group at the Preserve is committed to providing for regular public use of the first phase of the envisioned regional park that includes the oldest naval cemetery in the Pacific, founded in 1858 and the 130 acres leading to the hilltop vista point. Occasional access to future shoreline areas is through arrangements with the U.S. Navy and the City of Vallejo.
It takes a host of individuals, non-profit groups, agencies, local and regional businesses, corporations and foundations working together to realize the reuse of abandoned military property like this site as parkland. Learn more about the park’s history here.
Our Favorite Trail
Shoreline Preserve Scenic Vista Trail. This trail is about 1 mile long on a scenic paved road. On the trail, you’ll pass the Navy’s oldest cemetery on the Pacific which was created in 1858. The top of the trail provides some of the most sweeping panoramic views of San Pablo Bay (pictured on the left), the Carquinez Strait, Mt. Diablo, the East Bay Hills, Mt. Tampalais, and the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Volunteers have provided benches for hikers to sit and take in the view. It is truly spectacular!
For more information about the Shoreline Preserve Scenic Vista Trail and other trails at the Preserve, click here.
Opportunities & Improvements
- The increase of property size as environmentally restored land is made available by the US Navy.
- $500,000 to staging area rehabilitation, nature center updates, and new signage.
- Expanded hours of operation, based on recommendations from a Master Plan. According to Hayes, “since there is no current master plan, we have not done the impact to sensitive species that would allow more public use at this time.”
San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival: February of each year
San Francisco Bay Osprey Days: June of each year
Location: Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve, located on Mare Island at 1595 Railroad Avenue in Vallejo, CA. Visitor Center is located at 167 O’Hara Ct, which intersects with Azuar Drive.
Hours: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 10 a.m. until after sunset.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MareIslandPreserve
Phone Number: 707-249-9633