|Vasco Caves Regional Preserve|
|Location|| Mount Diablo,|
Contra Costa County, California
|Nearest city||Brentwood, California|
|Area||1,644 acres (665 ha)|
|Operated by||East Bay Regional Parks District|
|Status||Restricted access (via guided tours only)|
Vasco Caves Regional Preserve is a natural and cultural preserved area located on the eastern slope of Mount Diablo, on Vasco Road within eastern Contra Costa County, California. It was created to preserve wildlife habitats and California chaparral and woodlands native plant communities, and Native American rock art.
The property was jointly purchased by the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), in the Diablo Range between Brentwood and Livermore, California.The first acquisition of land for Vasco Caves Regional Preserve occurred in 1989.
On December 15, 2009, the two agencies agreed to buy 1,644 acres (665 ha) of property adjacent to the Vasco Caves. The purchase price was $2.924 million and included no mineral rights or wind rights or wind turbine revenues. The property was previously owned by Vaquero Farms Conservation LLC, and included 190 wind turbines owned by Tres Vaqueros Wind Farms and North Wind Energy. The new Vaquero Farms tract will not be open for public access, but will be held in land bank status because of sensitive wildlife habitat and ongoing wind turbine operations.
The preserve contains some spectacular rock outcroppings. On top of the rocks there are vernal pools that are habitats for the long-horned fairy shrimp (Anostraca). Nearby are natural springs which harbor the red-legged frog. Other wildlife are frequently seen, including kit fox, coyote, and raptors such as eagles and hawks.
The area is considered to have been a ceremonial site used by the native peoples of the region. Archaeological explorations have revealed cave art dating back over 10,000 years.The art features images of birds. Nearby the rock are many deeply carved bedrock mortar holes, likely used for food preparation. Between 700BC and 300AD, these caves and nearby area was an Ohlone village called Chitactac.
The preserve is not open to casual visits by the public, with access limited to guided tours by advance reservation.
Contra Costa County is located in the state of California in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,049,025. The county seat is Martinez. It occupies the northern portion of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, and is primarily suburban. The county's name is Spanish for "opposite coast", referring to its position on the other side of the bay from San Francisco. Contra Costa County is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Brentwood is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. It is located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population is 51,481 as of 2010, an increase of 121 percent from 23,302 at the 2000 census.
Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 16 miles (26 km) east of the city of Oakland. With a total estimated population of 70,166, Walnut Creek serves as a hub for its neighboring cities because of its location at the junction of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose (I-680) and San Francisco/Oakland (SR-24) and its accessibility by BART. Its active downtown neighborhood features hundred-year-old buildings and extensive high-end retail establishments.
Mount Diablo is a mountain of the Diablo Range, in Contra Costa County of the eastern San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. It is south of Clayton and northeast of Danville. It is an isolated upthrust peak of 3,849 feet, visible from most of the San Francisco Bay Area. Mount Diablo appears from many angles to be a double pyramid and has many subsidiary peaks, the largest and closest of which is the other half of the double pyramid, North Peak, nearly as high in elevation at 3,557 feet (1,084 m), and is about one mile northeast of the main summit.
The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is a special district operating in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, California, within the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay Area. It maintains and operates a system of regional parks which is the largest urban regional park district in the United States. The administrative office is located in Oakland.
Morgan Territory is a regional preserve in California established in the late 20th century on the east side of Mount Diablo in the San Francisco East Bay's Contra Costa County. The acquisition and expansion of this territory has preserved important habitat and watersheds in the area for the public. Now an estimated 5,000 acres (20 km²), its creation has been a collaboration by public and private parties. It has been connected to Mount Diablo State Park by acquisition and transfer of properties between them.
Robert John Walker was a San Francisco, California-based photographer and environmental activist. In an intense period of activism from 1982 to 1992 he was associated with more than a dozen Bay Area conservation organizations and as a photographer for the East Bay Regional Park District. Walker was born in Syracuse, New York and grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. He died in San Francisco of AIDS-related complications, at the age of 40.
John Albert Nejedly was a district attorney and Republican state senator in California who represented Contra Costa County from 1958 to 1980.
The Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is a 6,000-acre (2,400 ha) park located north of Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, California under the administration of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). The district acquired the property in 1973. The preserve contains relics of 3 mining towns, former coal and sand mines, and offers guided tours of a former sand mine. The 60 miles (97 km) of trails in the Preserve cross rolling foothill terrain covered with grassland, California oak woodland, California mixed evergreen forest, and chaparral.
Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area is a 18,000 acres (73 km2) regional park of the East Bay Regional Park District. It is located in Contra Costa County, in the East Bay region of northern California.
Brushy Peak Regional Preserve is a regional park that is part of the East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPD) and the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD) systems. It is located in unincorporated land in Alameda County, just north of Livermore, California.
Diablo Foothills Regional Park is a 1,060 acres (4.3 km2) regional park of the East Bay Regional Park District. It is located in Contra Costa County, in the East Bay region of northern California.
Morgan Territory Regional Preserve is a regional park located east of Clayton and north of Livermore, California, bordering on Mt. Diablo State Park, that is part of the East Bay Regional Park District. Since EBRPD acquired the Viera tract, it encompassed 5,230 acres (2,120 ha). The main access road runs from Livermore.
Round Valley Regional Preserve is a regional park just outside Antioch, CA and Brentwood, CA that is part of the East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPD) system. It is on Marsh Creek Road, approximately 5.2 miles (8.4 km) west of the intersection with Vasco Road. The park was begun in 1988, when Jim Murphy sold 700 acres (280 ha) of land to EBRPD. The land originally belonged to Mr. Davis' grandfather Thomas Murphy, an Irish immigrant, who had purchased the land in 1878 for a farming and ranching operation. The preserve has since expanded to encompass 1,911 acres (773 ha).
Sycamore Valley Regional Open Space Preserve is a regional park in Contra Costa County, California, outside of Danville, California, United States that is part of the East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPD) system.
The Altamont Pass wind farm is located in the Altamont Pass of the Diablo Range in Northern California. It is one of the earliest wind farms in the United States. The first wind turbines were placed on the Altamont in the early 1980s by Fayette Manufacturing Corporation on land owned by cattle rancher Joe Jess. The wind farm is composed of 4930 relatively small wind turbines of various types, making it at one time the largest wind farm in the world in terms of capacity. Altamont Pass is still one of the largest concentration of wind turbines in the world, with a capacity of 576 megawatts (MW), producing about 125 MW on average and 1.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) yearly. They were installed after the 1970s energy crisis in response to favorable tax policies for investors.
The Los Vaqueros Reservoir is located in the northern Diablo Range, within northeastern Contra Costa County, northern California. It was completed by the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) in 1998 to improve the quality of drinking water for its 550,000 customers in Central and Eastern Contra Costa County, and the reservoir is accessible via Vasco Road, a road which connects Brentwood and Livermore.
Marsh Creek is a stream in east Contra Costa County, California in Northern California which rises on the eastern side of Mount Diablo and flows 30 miles (48 km) to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta at Oakley, California, near Big Break Regional Shoreline. The creek flows through Marsh Creek State Park (California), where water is impounded to form Marsh Creek Reservoir, then through the city of Brentwood, California.
Vasco Road is a roadway over the Diablo Range that connects Livermore and Brentwood, California. Although it is not part of the California State Highway system, it is the principal north–south commuter route serving eastern Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The two counties are each responsible for maintaining the portion of the road within their boundaries.
Big Break Regional Shoreline is a regional park in Oakley, Contra Costa County, northern California. It is a part of the East Bay Regional Park District system.