When the East Bay Regional Parks District hosts a meeting at 7 p.m. tonight on the future of the Pleasanton Ridge, a large group of cycling advocates is expected to be present.
Cyclists who ride at the Ridge and the parks district have had their disagreements over how the trails should be used for some time. The rift heated up last fall when the parks district was campaigning for the passage of Measure WW on the November ballot. The measure, which sought to effectively extend Measure AA to fund future projects and land acquisitions, was passed by voters, but to the chagrin of some area cyclists who say the district isn't managing its parks the right way.
Pleasanton resident and avid rider Chris Beratlis, Jr. said he will be among the cyclists at the meeting. He said those who ride mountain bikes on the challenging Pleasanton Ridge often get a bad rap. He said cyclists, hikers and equestrians all use the ridge trails, but the parks district seems to want to force all three groups to use the same trails, rather than narrower trails, called single-track trails, that have been naturally formed from bicyclists and cattle over the years.
"We're trying to make them understand that a single-track trail, something really narrow, is fun," he said. "It does spread out the crowds more because a lot of people use the park, and it's ultimately safer and endangers less animals because you're not building a fire road. You're simply just making narrow pathways to follow."
Beratlis Jr. rides with a group of less than a dozen men every Wednesday at the Ridge and learned about the meeting when single-track trails they normally use were gated off and signs were posted notifying them of the meeting.
The public meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St. Parks district spokeswoman Shelly Lewis said the meeting will include a presentation about the management and operation of the current trail system and preview an upcoming land use planning process. Lewis said it's an opportunity for those who frequent the ridge to learn more and also offer their thoughts.
The parks district opened 1,100 acres of open space and 5 miles of trails on the north end of the ridge in December. The ridge now has 30 miles of trails, including the additional land.
For information about the East Bay Parks District, visit click here