By Beverly Lane:
Despite challenging economic times, in 2012 the East Bay Regional Park District operated with a balanced budget, keeping all parks open. In December, we approved another balanced budget for 2013. For more details, view our website at www.ebparks.org.
It appears that revenue from taxes and assessments in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties is trending upward, which will fund more than 80% of the 2013 park operations. Of course staff will work to leverage tax dollars by seeking additional grant funds for projects such as wildfire prevention, land acquisition and the new Atlas Road bridge project at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline.
A behind-the-scenes accomplishment in 2012 for the Park District was the opening of a new corporation yard in Pacheco, where workers store the tools, equipment and vehicles they use to keep Regional Parks well-maintained, safe and welcoming places. This new location brings staff closer to many of our Contra Costa County projects, trails and parks.
Trails Challenge 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of this popular, self-guided hiking program. Once again, Regional Park staff has pulled together about 20 different hikes, ranging from easy to challenging, all across the district. Registration is free, thanks to continued support from Kaiser Permanente, and opens January 16 online at http://www.regionalparksfoundation.org.
You may want to get a head start, so here’s a sneak peek at one of the featured 2013 Trails Challenge hikes. It’s in Round Valley Regional Preserve. You may choose between a 4.39- or 7.46-mile loop, rated moderate to challenging, respectively. No dogs are allowed in this Park.
Driving Directions: Take Hwy. 4 east through Antioch, Brentwood and pass Marsh Creek Reservoir; turn right onto Marsh Creek Rd. and left into the staging area for Round Valley. Or begin in Clayton and take Marsh Creek Rd. for over 10 miles to the Round Valley staging area (on the right).
Pick up a park brochure as your guide. From the staging area, head west on the Miwok trail along Round Valley Creek. Once you reach the horse watering station, continue on the Miwok trail right from the fork. At the third horse watering station, head right onto Murphy Meadow Trail away from Los Vaqueros Reservoir; go right at the next fork away from Round Valley Group Camp and across the creek. Head right on Murphy Meadow at the East-West fork and take it to the new multiuse bridge; take the connection for Miwok and head North in the direction of the parking lot. At this point, hikers and equestrians could go right on the single-track Hardy Canyon trail and loop back to the parking lot; bikers who are not permitted on Hardy Canyon trail should continue on Miwok trail to the start.
Have a happy and healthy New Year, and enjoy your Regional Parks!