Vasco Caves Regional Preserve
|Vasco Caves Regional Preserve|
|Location||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 was created to preserve wildlife habitat 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), and lies on the eastern slope of Mount Diablo in eastern Contra Costa County, between Brentwood and Livermore, California. The first acquisition of land for Vasco Caves Regional Preserve occurred during 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. There are also vernal pools that are habitats for fairy shrimp and the red-legged frog. Other wildlife are frequently seen, including kit foxes, raptors such as eagles and hawks,
Archaeological explorations have revealed cave art dating back over 10,000 years.
The preserve is not open to casual visits by the public. Access to the preserve is limited to guided tours by advance reservation. EBRPD operates the tour, using buses that leave from either Brushy Peak Regional Preserve (Livermore area) or Round Valley Regional Preserve (Brentwood area). Tours include a 2 miles (3.2 km) guided group hike through the reserve to view wildflowers, rock formations and wildlife. For tour information and reservations, please call 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2, then 3.
- Ziesing, Grace H. "From Rancho to Reservoir: History and Archaeology of the Los Vaqueros Watershed, California." Report for Contra Costa Water District. 1997. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- East Bay Regional Parks District: Vasco Caves Regional Preserve. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Mount Diablo Interpretive Association. "History of Mount Diablo." Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "Smokey's Mountain. "Major Land Acquisition of Vasco Caves." December 21, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Soares, John. "East Bay Regional Parks Disctrict Makes Major Addition to Vasco Caves Regional Preserve." December 18, 2009. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- Weekend Sherpa:Our little secret. Retrieved June 23, 2013.