The Bay Area’s landscapes have evolved throughout the last few decades of development, but Greenbelt Alliance’s advocacy to preserve our natural lands has persisted throughout a changing region. Rewind to 1986. Greenbelt Alliance was dubbed People for Open Space, and our community celebrated a victory to create a 9,200 acre park in the Pleasanton Ridgelands. Check out our May 1986 Newsletter that highlights the win.
The victory was the result of a multi year-long campaign by Greenbelt Alliance’s community to keep the ridgelands between Hayward and Livermore valley as open space and safe from a proposed housing and transportation development.
In one 1986 Park District hearing, hundreds of park supporters and opponents listened to 4 hours of public testimony that ultimately convinced the District Board of Directors to create a 9,200 acre park, the largest proposal advanced by advocates.
Through the Dorothy Erskine Open Space Fund, Greenbelt Alliance’s staff helped fund and provide staff time to prepare a four page educational flier on the ridgelands distributed to 30,000 people. The materials explained the issue, the park vision, and tasks for people to do to show their support for keeping the area in open space. More than 150 people sent their letters of support to the District supporting a park.
Our historic campaign also involved hikes led by environmental activists Bob Walker and Rich Combs to publicize the region at risk of development. Over 300 hikers participated in the two mile walk to the summit of Sunol Peak to see 360 views of the entire Bay Area. Press were quick to share the victory throughout multiple stories and radio segments, including San Francisco Chronicle, The Mercury News, and KRON-TV. The regional victory was making waves across the Bay as an exemplar of outdoor enthusiasts and environmentalists working together to preserve thousands of acres of natural lands.
Today, hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists can enjoy the oak-covered open space known as Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park and its many canyon views, ridgetop vistas, and access to remote, deep-canyon streams. In fact, the Park is a regular destination for Greenbelt Alliance’s Outing Program, where we discuss the many rare and endangered species of the area and its history of conservation.
The Pleasanton Ridgelands victory was just one example of Greenbelt Alliance’s tireless work to protect natural lands and open spaces while promoting climate-smart development. For over 65 years Greenbelt Alliance has been at the forefront of protecting people and nature, thanks to our dedicated community of supporters and partners.
The next time you summit a regional mountain like Sunol Peak, consider that the view might have been drastically different if it weren’t for the tireless efforts of Bay Area conservationists.