Vasco Caves Regional Preserve

Last updated
Vasco Caves Regional Preserve
Location Mount Diablo,
Contra Costa County, California
Nearest city Brentwood, California
Coordinates 37°48′18″N121°41′13″W / 37.805°N 121.687°W / 37.805; -121.687 Coordinates: 37°48′18″N121°41′13″W / 37.805°N 121.687°W / 37.805; -121.687
Area1,644 acres (665 ha)
Created1989
Operated by East Bay Regional Parks District
StatusRestricted 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.

Contents

History

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. [1] The first acquisition of land for Vasco Caves Regional Preserve occurred in 1989. [2]

On December 15, 2009, the two agencies agreed to buy 1,644 acres (665 ha) of property adjacent to the Vasco Caves. [3] 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. [4]

Features

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. [5]

Ceremonial site

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. [5] [6] The art features images of birds. Nearby the rock are many deeply carved bedrock mortar holes, likely used for food preparation. [7] Between 700BC and 300AD, these caves and nearby area was an Ohlone village called Chitactac.

Admission

The preserve is not open to casual visits by the public, with access limited to guided tours by advance reservation.

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References

  1. East Bay Regional Parks District: Vasco Caves Regional Preserve. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  2. Mount Diablo Interpretive Association. "History of Mount Diablo." Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  3. "Smokey's Mountain. "Major Land Acquisition of Vasco Caves." December 21, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  4. Soares, John. "East Bay Regional Parks Disctrict Makes Major Addition to Vasco Caves Regional Preserve." December 18, 2009. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  5. 1 2 East Bay Regional Parks District: Vasco Caves Regional Preserve. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  6. https://www.7x7.com/explore-ancient-art-and-endangered-species-at-mt-diablos-vasco-caves-1787250739.html
  7. https://www.mercurynews.com/2014/12/26/explore-bay-areas-native-american-past-at-four-sites/