Point Pinole Regional Shoreline
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|Point Pinole Regional Shoreline|
|Location||Contra Costa County, California, United States|
|Nearest city||Richmond, California|
|Area||2,315 acres (9.37 km2)|
|Operated by||East Bay Regional Park District|
Point Pinole Regional Shoreline is a regional park on the shores of the San Pablo Bay, California (the northern arm of the San Francisco Bay), 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 is the home of the Point Pinole Lagoon and Whittel Beach and a festival.
Point Pinole is located in the city of Richmond, California. It is on the site of a number of former explosives factories; the largest of these was operated by the Giant Powder Company, which was relocated to this relatively remote spot following accidental explosions at its former sites in San Francisco and at Albany Hill. Giant had built the first dynamite manufacturing plant in the United States at a site known as Glen Canyon Park, which started up on March 19, 1898.[a] On November 26, 1869, there was an explosion that destroyed every building on the site (including the fence around the plant). The plant was forced to move farther away from heavily populated areas. Another explosion occurred at the Albany Hill plant in 1892, before Giant built its last plant in the lightly populated area of Pinole Point. Giant created a small unincorporated community, which it named Giant, California. Later, the Giant community became the established Croatian community of Sobrante.
Although the Point Pinole factory operated until 1960, little trace of it now remains. A plaque denotes the site as a California Historical Landmark. The facility's former tramway grades provide a network of nearly 20 kilometers (12 mi) of gently sloping paths for hiking, cycling and horse-riding. The other relic of the park's industrial past is the large number of eucalyptus glades which were planted around the factory site "for safety reasons" (as the park literature mysteriously[clarification needed] states). The eucalyptus was planted in strategic groves between the Giant Powder Company and the town to block the sound and smell of occasional explosions.
The park features the promontory of Point Pinole, located where the East Bay shoreline turns from running south towards Berkeley and Oakland to running eastwards, inland. Geologically, it is a result of movement on the Hayward Fault which runs along its western edge, creating a low scarp. It offers superb views across the bay in all directions, towards San Francisco to the southwest, Mount Tamalpais and the Marin Headlands to the northwest, and inland across San Pablo Bay to the north and east. Fresh and ocean waters mix at this point, so the marine life is rich; a leisure pier has been built at the end of promontory, replacing a former jetty used by the factories, and is a popular location for angling.
The parks trails are flat and not at all challenging. There is a $3 parking fee and a $2 per dog fee.
In 2009 the park acquired the Breuner Marsh site and added it to the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline park.
Environment and wildlife
The park is a mixture of grassland and woodland, with beaches and low cliffs, and it has a particularly rich bird life, including many ducks and shorebirds, and the endangered black rail. It is located on the Pacific Flyway, so many migrant species are also seen. The marsh provides habitat for several creatures, including the ridgeway rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse.
The park is located on the Hayward Fault, whose exact position is marked by monuments erected by the United States Geological Survey. The USGS has a seismometer posted along the Union Pacific Railroad, which divides the park from the mainland; the park is reached via a bridge across the railroad.
2017 Construction projects
The playground at Point Pinole park is temporarily closed for construction from mid-August through October, 2017. During this time, the playground will be resurfaced with wood fiber, equipment will be replaced with a net climber and a stand-up spinner, and a wheelchair-accessible path and picnic tables will be added. EBRPD announced that all park paths will remain open to the public during this work.
Atlas Road Bridge and Dotson Family Marsh
On April 22, 2017, EBRPD dedicated the Atlas Road Bridge, a combination vehicle and wheelchair-compliant pedestrian bridge that connects to the San Francisco Bay Trail. This activity included building a new main entrance and parking area. The new entrance provides a bridge across the railroad tracks (still active), which have been a hazard for pedestrians approaching the park from the parking lot. The project cost $11.7 million, which was largely funded by local bond Measure CC, the City of Richmond and grants from the following grantors:
- California State Parks
- California Natural Resources Agency
- Contra Costa Transportation Authority
The new bridge is part of a multi-phase project that will eventually lead to additional picnic areas, a new playground and the route to a new interpretive center for the park.
At the same ceremony in April, EBRPD also renamed and dedicated Breuner Marsh as the Dotson Family Marsh, honoring a family led by Reverend Richard Dotson, who had worked for many years to keep Breuner Marsh wild and open to the public, opposing several attempts to develop the tract for commercial ventures.[b] Rev. Dotson was able to organize residents of his own neighborhood in Richmond, Parchester, reminding them that the builder of their houses had promised they would always have access to the bay. He also recruited the Sierra Club as an influential ally in the three-decade legal fight against the developers. Dotson's group prevailed, and EBRPD acquires the marsh through eminent domain in March 2008. The district then attached the marsh to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. [c]
The Dotson Marsh restoration project is intended to adapt the PPS to a self-sustaining wetland complex that will include filtering polluted run-off water. It also provides adaptations for anticipated sea level rise caused by climate change. The cost of restoration is estimated at $14 million, with at least 10 different entities providing funds.
- North Richmond Shoreline Festival
- "Listed California Historical Resources No. 1002-1. No. 1002-1 Site of Giant Powder Company (Point Pinole) " California State Parks. Office of Historical Preservation. 1917. Accessed September 4, 2017.
- "Listed California Historical Resources No. 1002." California State Parks. Office of Historical Preservation. 1917. Accessed September 4, 2017.
- Bean, Krysten. "Patch Picks Ideas for a Less Crowded Memorial Day Weekend." El Cerrito Patch. May 26, 2011. Accessed September 3, 2017
- "Point Pinole Regional Shoreline." East Bay Regional Park District. Accessed August 29, 2017.
- Alvarez, Ana M. and Erich Pfueler. "Preserving a Marsh for People and Wildlife: The Dotson Family Marsh." Parks & Recreation. February 1, 2017. Accessed September 4, 2017.
- East Bay Regional Park District: official Point Pinole Regional Shoreline website
- A short history of California Historical Landmarks — including #1002
- Wikimapia: aerial image of Point Pinole