El Dorado Park, Long Beach, California

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One of the entrances to El Dorado Regional Park

The El Dorado Park neighborhood of Long Beach, California is on the east side of the city adjacent to the large El Dorado Regional Park. Lakewood is north of El Dorado Park, while Hawaiian Gardens is northeast, and Los Alamitos is east of El Dorado Park. The park is bounded on the east by the 605 Freeway, on the north by the Long Beach Town Center shopping mall, and on the south by Stearns Street. Because of the barrier of the freeway and park between the neighborhood and the rest of Long Beach, as well as the barrier created by Coyote creek and the neighboring cities, the El Dorado Park neighborhood feels quite separate.

The regional park sits in a flood zone, and it protects residences from spillover from the neighboring San Gabriel River. Additional undeveloped land south of Willow street near the confluence of Coyote Creek and the San Gabriel River is held by Southern California Edison, and some designated to become part of the park's Nature Center. The park was developed in 1968 after the land was sold to the City of Long Beach by the Bixby Family and was financed using bond money floated in the 1950s and 60s, and the varied topography comes from soil removed to construct the San Gabriel Freeway.

El Dorado Regional Park[edit]

Park Headquarters

Hours:
7AM - Dusk
Closed Christmas
Cost: Monday - Friday $5.00 per vehicle
Saturday - Sunday $7.00 per vehicle
Holidays - $8.00 per vehicle
Annual Pass: $52.00, Seniors/Disabled: $31.00

This expansive park features a spacious community center, night-lighted basketball and volleyball courts, softball and soccer fields, skate park, six group picnic sites available for reservation, a disc golf course, a tennis center, an 18-hole golf course, playground equipment, and multiple duck ponds.

Amenities[edit]

Boat rentals in El Dorado Park

Disc golf course, outdoor archery range, baseball/softball field, basketball court, community center, physical fitness course (12 stations), barbecue and picnic areas, playground, roller hockey court, skate park, soccer fields, restrooms, tennis court, volleyball court, three fishing lakes and a fishing pond, an airfield for remote control planes and a radio-controlled model sailboat area, pedal boats (rental), children's (adults, too) train (extra cost), and a 100-acre nature center [1] The city's tree farm on the site closed in the 1990s.

Fishing[edit]

Horseshoe lake in El Dorado Park

Fishing Licenses are required for anyone age 16 or older. All fishing regulations must be followed. Here is a list of the fish that are in the lakes (two stocked lakes) and the limits that you are allowed to keep:

  • Largemouth Bass - 5 Fih (It is preferred that they are released back into the lake unharmed) current record 13.4 lbs by Walter Patty Cakes of Los Angeles, CA
  • Bluegill - (Pan Fish) 25 Fish Limit
  • Crappie - (Pan Fish) 25 Fish Limit
  • Redear Sunfish - 25 Fish Limit
  • Common Carp - Unknown
  • Catfish (Stocked) No Limit
  • Trout (Stocked) 5 Fish Limit

Programs[edit]

Train ride for Kids, the El Dorado Express

Youth recreation, teen center, adult classes, senior center

Bicycle Paths[edit]

Both the Coyote Creek Bicycle Path and the San Gabriel River Bicycle Path cross the neighborhood. A 4-mile bikeway runs through the 450-acre El Dorado Regional Park and connects with the San Gabriel River Bike Trail at various locations.

Police Department Academy[edit]

The Long Beach Police Department maintains a police academy on the northern end of the park, complete with a pistol range.

1984 Summer Olympics[edit]

The archery range

During the 1984 Summer Olympics in neighboring Los Angeles, the park was the site for the archery competitions. A temporary venue was set up as a result.[2]

Former Naval Hospital[edit]

70 acres at the north end of the park was sold by the City of Long Beach to the Navy for $1 in 1965 to build a new naval hospital, replacing its world-war II era facilities located on pacific coast highway on the facilities later used by the (closed) Brooks college and now as student housing at Cal State Long Beach. It became known for its alcoholism treatment program which launched in 1967 and became known as the hub of the military's dependency program.[3] Perhaps its most famous patient was Betty Ford, who was admitted for drug and alcohol dependence in 1978.[4] Another famous patient was Nazi war criminal Andrija Artukovic. This hospital closed in 1994 along with the closing of the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and Naval Station and disbanding of the Long Beach Naval Fleet. Rather than returning the land to park use, the city proposed a shopping mall. After years of legal battles by neighboring cities, who were concerned with the loss of sales tax revenue as well as competition with their own shopping malls, the center opened in 2000.[5]

Camp Fire Campground[edit]

Camp Fire operates an 7 acre developed camping facility including a great challenge course featuring rock walls, and high and low ropes course at the north end of the park between the San Gabriel River, the Town Centre Mall, and Hartwell Golf Course, leasing land owned by the city of Long Beach as part of Heartwell Park. Prior to the construction of the shopping center, this maintained an unbroken contiguity of open land between Hartwell Park and El Dorado park.

References[edit]