Wildcat Canyon Regional Park

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Wildcat Canyon Regional Park
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Wildcat Canyon vistas 2019
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Location Contra Costa County
Coordinates 37°56′05″N122°17′09″W / 37.93472°N 122.28583°W / 37.93472; -122.28583 Coordinates: 37°56′05″N122°17′09″W / 37.93472°N 122.28583°W / 37.93472; -122.28583
Area2,429-acre (983 ha)
Operated by East Bay Regional Park District

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is a 2,429-acre (983 ha) East Bay Regional Parks District park located within the city limits of Richmond in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It includes a portion of Wildcat Canyon as well as a portion of the adjoining San Pablo Ridge, and is directly connected to the more heavily used Tilden Regional Park.

Contents

History

The area was inhabited by Native Americans until 1772 when a group of "Catalan volunteers" led by Pedro Fagas and Fray Juan Crespi came across the settlement while searching for trade routes north beyond the Carquinez Strait. The Spanish settled the general area and by 1840 had parceled the land for missions and cattle raising coming into conflict with the historical communal practices of the Native Americans. Juan Jose and Victor Castro were given rights to all vacant land in the area. They kept some valuable lands and gave much of the land over to municipal authorities for water usage. In 1935, the East Bay Regional Parks District acquired the land that formed Tilden Park to the South and continued to acquire land to the north of Tilden until in 1976 it had sufficient land to form Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. [1]

Richmond as seen from Wildcat Canyon Regional Park at dusk looking West on 14 November 2013 Richmond, California skyline.jpg
Richmond as seen from Wildcat Canyon Regional Park at dusk looking West on 14 November 2013

EBRPD announced on February 17, 2014 that it had acquired 362 acres (146 ha) of woodland on the east side of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, which will be added to the existing park. The addition will provide easier access for visitors from El Sobrante and Richmond. The property had been owned by a developer who had intended to build 36 houses on it, before the collapse of real estate prices around 2009. [2]

Flora

Wildcat has an abundance of wildlife both flora and fauna. There are Coast Live Oak, California Bay Laurel, Big leaf maple, Madrone, alder, willow, Dogwood, and eucalyptus forests. There are humid chaparrals made up of coyote brush, poison oak, elderberry, snowberry, bracken fern, and blackberry brambles.

There are some native grasses, but non-native species like rye, barley, and oat dominate, however many kinds of native flowers are present. [3]

Fauna

With regards to animal life there are coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, deer, California ground squirrels often thought to be gophers in addition to voles present.

Reptilian life includes gopher snakes, king snakes, western racers, garter snakes, rubber boas, ringneck snakes. In the skies red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, sharp shinned hawks, cooper's hawks, ravens, and turkey vultures fly and also great horned owls and many songbirds. [4]

Major Trails

Wildcat Creek Trail - Runs along Wildcat Creek from the Alvarado Park staging area in Richmond into Tilden Park's Nature Area. The Wildcat Park section measures 3.5 miles to the park border and continues for 1 mile to the Tilden Nature Area parking lot. The trail is wide and does not involve major elevation changes. The trail's midpoint can be accessed via Rifle Range Road Trail accessed via Rifle Range Road in El Cerrito, California.

Nimitz Way - Starting at Tilden Park's Inspiration Point, Nimitz Way (named after Admiral Chester W. Nimitz) is a mostly paved trail that connects to Wildcat Canyon Park after 1.5 miles. The Wildcat section is 2.51 miles long and connects to San Pablo Ridge Trail. Nimitz Way is a popular, relatively easy trail with views of the San Francisco Bay to the west and EBMUD's San Pablo & Briones Reservoirs and Mt. Diablo.

Belgum Trail - Accessed from Wildcat Creek Trail about 0.5 miles from the Alvarado Park staging area, it climbs quickly over a relatively short 0.85 miles to Wildcat Canyon's meadows and provides excellent views of San Francisco Bay. The ruins of the Belgum Sanitarium and the palm trees planted by its founder, Hendrik Belgum, are visible from the trail. [5]

San Pablo Ridge Trail - Accessed from Belgum Trail or Clark-Boas Trail, which runs from the Clark Road park entrance in Richmond, the San Pablo Ridge Trail is a short 1.43 miles but climbs over three peaks. The trail connects at its southern terminus with Nimitz Way. [6]

A field and woods in the park Wildcatcanyonfieldcropped.jpg
A field and woods in the park

Other features

Cows and hikers on a hillside in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park Wilcatcanyonpark2019.jpg
Cows and hikers on a hillside in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park

Alvarado Park, a National Historic Place is the northernmost portion of Wildcat Canyon.

The two-mile (3.2 km) section in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park was a Nike missile base which was decommissioned in the 1970s. Today there are few signs of the missile silos and military housing that used to populate these hills.

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park hosts cattle who graze the hills of the park under a grazing program managed by the East Bay Regional Parks District. [7]

Accessing the Park

The park can be accessed via the following entry points:

Related Research Articles

Contra Costa County, California County in California, United States

Contra Costa County is located in the state of California in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,165,927. 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 refers 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.

Tilden Regional Park

Tilden Regional Park, also known as Tilden Park or Tilden, is a 2,079-acre (841 ha) regional park in the East Bay, part of the San Francisco Bay Area in California. It is between the Berkeley Hills and San Pablo Ridge. Its main entrance is near Kensington, Berkeley, and Richmond. The park is contiguous with Wildcat Canyon Regional Park.

East Bay Regional Park District

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.

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline is a regional park on the shores of the San Pablo Bay, California, in the United States. It is approximately 2,315 acres (9.37 km2) in area, and is operated by the East Bay Regional Park District. It includes the Dotson Family Marsh and the Point Pinole Lagoon and hosts the North Richmond Shoreline Festival.

Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve

Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve is a small regional park mainly located in the city of Oakland, California, and administered by the East Bay Regional Park District. The park is named for the canyon in which it's situated, Claremont Canyon, out of which Claremont Creek flows on its way to its confluence with Temescal Creek. Originally, the canyon was named "Harwood's Canyon", then "Telegraph Canyon". The name was changed to Claremont by a developer of the nearby Claremont district.

Morgan Territory Region in California

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.

Alvarado Park

Alvarado Park is a subsection of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park in Richmond, California and is a National Historic Place. It is located at the mouth of Wildcat Canyon in the Alvarado Park section. Between 1909 and 1923, Alvarado Park was a private park that was owned and operated by local residents. In 1923, it was donated to the city of Richmond. Later it was admitted into the East Bay Regional Park District.

Briones Regional Park

Briones Regional Park is a 6,117-acre (24.75 km2) regional park in the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) system, located in the Briones Hills of central Contra Costa County of the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve (BRRP), also known as Bishop Ranch Regional Open Space Preserve is a 444-acre (1.80 km2) regional park on a ridge top at the edge of San Ramon, CA. It is near residential area, west of San Ramon Valley Road and South of Bollinger Canyon Road. Trails are steep and there are no facilities other than a trailhead. It is part of the East Bay Regional Parks system.

Brushy Peak Regional Preserve

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.

Del Valle Regional Park

Del Valle Regional Park is a part of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) in an unincorporated region of Alameda County, California, 10 miles (16 km) south of the city of Livermore. The park covers 4,316 acres.

Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline

Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline (RMRS) is a regional park on the shoreline of Carquinez Strait in Martinez, located in northern Contra Costa County, California. Formerly known as the Martinez Regional Shoreline, it was renamed on December 6, 2016, in honor of the late Ted Radke and his late wife Kathy Radke.

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.

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is located in the Berkeley Hills of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. The park is part of the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD), covers 928 acres (3.76 km2), and lies east of Oakland, partly in Alameda County and partly in Contra Costa County. It can be entered from Oakland via Skyline Boulevard, or from Contra Costa County via Old Tunnel Road.

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).

Wildcat Creek (California)

Wildcat Creek is a 13.4-mile-long (21.6 km) creek which flows through Wildcat Canyon situated between the Berkeley Hills and the San Pablo Ridge, emptying into San Pablo Bay in Contra Costa County, northern California.

Vargas Plateau Regional Park

Vargas Plateau Regional Park sits on a plateau in the Fremont Hills of Alameda County, California that overlooks the San Francisco Bay, Niles Canyon, and the cities of Fremont, Union City and Newark. The elevation of the park is about 1,000 feet (300 m), making it an important link with nearby ridge-top parks such as Garin Regional Park, Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, Mission Peak Regional Preserve, and Sunol Regional Wilderness.

Dublin Hills Regional Park covers 654 acres (2,650,000 m2) in Alameda County, California, west of the city of Dublin. It is part of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). The park is accessible from the Donlon Hill Staging Area, which is on Dublin Boulevard near Dublin, California.

The Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail is a 7.65-mile (12.31 km) pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian path which runs between the cities of Lafayette and Moraga in Contra Costa county, California. It was one of the first rail-trails to be built in California.

Belgum Sanitarium Hospital in California, United States

The Belgum Sanitarium, also called the Grande Vista Sanitarium, was an opulent health resort established by Hendrick Belgum in 1914 to treat "nervous disorders" in the East Richmond foothills of Northern California.

References

  1. http://www.ebparks.org/files/Wildcat_text_5-17-11.pdf, Accessed 17 Sept 2011
  2. Jones, Carolyn. San Francisco Chronicle. "Big Tract of pristine acreage being added to East Bay hills parklands." February 17, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  3. http://www.ebparks.org/files/Wildcat_text_5-17-11.pdf, Accessed 17 Sept 2011
  4. EBRPD, Wildcat Canyon Regional Park profile, retrieved July 25, 2007
  5. "The Sanitarium in the Palm Grove | Oakland Museum of California".
  6. http://www.ebparks.org/files/Wildcat_map_5-17-11.pdf, Accessed 17 Sept 2011
  7. http://www.ebparks.org/files/stew_grazing_brochure.pdf, accessed 17 Sept 2011
  8. "Wildcat Canyon Regional Park website" . Retrieved 17 September 2011.