"People voted a long time ago keeping this as open space," said Senior Park Planner Julie Bondurant. "They also want education programs or exhibits. That's why we had this community meeting, to focus on access and trails from a recreation standpoint."
The Park District has been purchasing parts of the 7,352-acre property with money from bond measures, including WW, since the 1980s, and a few years ago added the Sunol Ridge property, she explained.
"A lot is open to public but the most northerly part is still in the land bank," she said. This part of the property, more than 2,200 acres, is undergoing long-term planning.
Planned improvements so far include 12 miles of narrow and service road trails for a total trail system of 62 miles. The system will also incorporate about 2 miles of unsanctioned trails and close nearly 10 miles of service road and unsanctioned narrow trails, according to the district. About 4 miles of service roads will have their width reduced to create narrow trails.
"We've largely developed a multiuse trails plan that includes narrow and service road trails to create the network," Bondurant said. "From the community at large, the input we've heard is they want more narrow trails. Yes, they're generally easier to construct ... a road takes heavier equipment and a wider swath of land."
"Most of the land, including Pleasanton Ridge, was ranched and farmed over time and so when the district buys land they inherit these old roads," she added. "Sometimes that's what gets used exclusively. Sometimes they don't serve recreational or service function and we might look at rerouting over time."
The plan also proposes areas to picnic, camping sites for backpackers, and places for educational components, as well as a vegetation management program to remove invasive species to benefit native plants.
Many of the questions centered on access to the Ridge from other trail systems and from city streets.
"Traffic will be one of the components of the environmental analysis that will be conducted for the Land Use plan in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)," according to the meeting summary.
It also noted that volunteers will be required in order for the park to achieve its full potential, including possibly for interpretive programs, to patrol on foot and by bike and horse, and to maintain trails.
"We've really been out working on staging and an access plan," Bondurant said. "Right now there is only one staging/parking area, along Foothill Road toward the southern end of park. Another staging area is proposed at the intersection of Foothill and West Las Positas Boulevard -- there the park does touch Foothill road. We don't have many places where the park touches public road."