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Slip Sliding Away

Original post made by Jeff on Jul 12, 2013

Pleasanton has a unique community resource commonly called Shadowcliffs or SC for those in the know. Shadowcliffs is a small lake sandwiched between Pleasanton and Livermore along Stanley Boulevard. The lake was formed after a worker at the Acme Gravel Quarry left a faucet running over the weekend. Workers arrived at work to find a lake where their quarry once stood. Rather than trying to drain the lake, they simply took their tractors and shovels and went to the other side of Stanley and started to dig a new hole. An enterprising group called the East Bay Regional Park Foundation came across the new lake, spread some sand around on one edge, dropped off a few surplus Porta-Potties, and started charging local residents to park and swim in the lake.

Forty two years later, Shadowcliffs has grown to include the main lake and smaller pounds along the Southern edge for canine frolicking, migratory bird rest stops, and clandestine body dumps. Until recently a four flume waterslide was located near the main lake where thousands of children and adults alike slid and splashed. The SC Slides not only provided summer fun, but also created much needed jobs for local teens, provided a source of revenue to East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPD), and drew patrons into our city of Pleasanton to spend their dollars at our restaurants and shops. Despite the vocal protests of many residents of the Tri-Valley and beyond, the EBRPD chose to listen to a small disgruntled group who felt the waterslides were a Socialist plot to brainwash our children into thinking slipping and sliding were appropriate forms of fun over watching paint dry, sitting at an interpretive center, or staring at a rock strewn man-made hill with scrub sprouting from dry parched dirt.

Seeing the Wall Street sized profits attached to the alternative land use ideas put forth by the Anonymous Somebodies Slipping Everfarther into Senility (ASSES), the EBRPD decided without a public vote to tear out the beloved waterslides and replace them with….nothing. Due to a lack of funding, the recommended "Interpretive Center" to be built on the vacant rock strewn hillside, would be postponed until a funding source could be identified. Maybe we could re-build the waterslides and use the profits from that operation to fund the Interpretive Center? The SC Slides ran a profit for all its years of operation, paid its seasonal workers, and contributed to the coiffeurs of EBRPD. Now those funds are gone with no alternative source to pay for park improvements other than raising group use fees, parking fees, and concession fees. In the end, users of Shadowcliffs will pay more for less.

Removal of the Shadowcliffs Waterslides is not the only questionable decision of the EBRPD Board of Directors (BODs). The BODs recently described a plan to start running shuttle vans up the dirt road from the Foothill staging area to the top of the Pleasanton Ridge. The idea is to allow park users who are not able to hike up the two mile hill access to the ridgeline and more level hiking terrain. Proposed shuttles would depart every 15 minutes from 8AM to 5PM resulting in 36 trips daily. Traffic up the ridge trail will soon resemble 580 East on a Friday night heading to Livermore. There will be so many people at the top of the ridge; reservations will soon need to be issued to accommodate the crowds. Rick Dykulous of the EBRPD indicated if the plan is as successful as they predict, they will contract with Squaw Valley Ski Resort to install a high speed quad chair lift or Gondola to service the influx of ridge visitors. In order to fund the new shuttles and future Gondola; hikers, runners, and Mt. Bikers not utilizing the new shuttles will be assessed an additional usage fee to pay for the new transportation infrastructure. Mr. Dykulous is quoted as saying "why should we penalize the users of the new shuttles, when those not using the shuttles are enjoying the stunning and epic views of the public resource that is the Pleasanton Ridge, free of charge? Where is the profit in that?"

Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley have some wonderful public resources including Shadowcliffs, Pleasanton Ridge, and Camp Arroyo as well as many other parks and lakes. We have given over management of these resources to the EBRPD, funding their management and maintenance of the park through use fees and tax dollars. A disconnect occurs when there is a lack of transparency in the decisions and policy making of the EBRPD and a lack of accountability for those decisions by the unelected Board of Directors. If we want to continue to enjoy our parks with unique attractions like the SC Waterslides and be able to enjoy a hike up the Pleasanton Ridge without fear of being run over by a shuttle bus, we need to demand more sunshine into the decisions and planning taking place within the EBRPD organization otherwise it is all going to just slip slide away.

Comments (14)

Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I thought it was the city of pleasanton that swatted down the waterslides because as they put it "no viable vendor came forth" to run/manage the slides or concessions. I would love to see water themed entrrtainment there. With tempertutes rising every summer it would be refreshing.

Posted by Mike, a resident of California Reflections
on Jul 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

It was EBRPD, not the City Of Pleasanton that killed the Waterslides. EBRPD has admitted they have put very little funding into Shadow Cliff park compared to other East Bay Regional Parks. They is no funding designated over the next 10 or more years at least.

Shadow Cliff has become dog poop park. You can no longer walk the trails without being threatened by all of the off the leash dogs, and trying to avoid stepping in the multitude of dog poop. It smells of dog poo on an average day and the stench is unbelievable on hot days.

Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm

We frequent sc and enjoy the dogs. I cant stand the fisherman. They leave trash, cigarette butts and fishing line with hooks still attached everywhere. Beer bottle and bait containers especially.

Posted by Mike, a resident of California Reflections
on Jul 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

Shadow Cliff, (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)of EBRPD
Who is our representative to EBRPD?

Posted by Mike, a resident of California Reflections
on Jul 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

Pleasanton weekly please explain why the word Ghetto was removed. It was used properly in context. My meaning is that EBRPD has neglected Shadow Cliff, and it smells of dog poo. Shadow Cliff is the poor step child of EBRPD. How was the word Ghetto inappropriate or offensive?

1. (n.) an impoverished, neglected, or otherwise disadvantaged residential area of a city.

Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

@Mike...look at your is not a residential area of the city. Also, it looks as it is supposed to, it is wildlife.

Posted by Eric, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm

When the next election comes for EBPRD you can certainly bet I will not vote for a single incumbent. Getting rid of the slides was ridiculous, it made money, it provided jobs, it payed taxes, it was good clean honest fun, hard exercise (if you walked up that hill a couple dozen times you knew you worked out), the water was clean unlike the human poop bacteria infected water of the lake. Those slides were a win win. Now, it just disgusts me. Yeah, that's what we need, smog belching vans going up and down the hill, kicking up dust, creating washboard and ruts, driving the wildlife away. I shake my head in disgust. Last year we visited Shadow Cliffs at least a dozen times, this year, donut, nada, zip, ZERO.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm

@Eric- I believe the officials at EBRPD are unelected.

Posted by elected representative to EBRPD, a resident of California Reflections
on Jul 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Ayn Wieskamp is our elected representative to EBRPD. She has admitted that Shadow Cliff has not be given it's share of EBRPD resources. She has been unsupportive and bristly when approached about our local issues. Her term is up in 2014 after 16 years, it is time for better representation.

Ward 5 Board Member
Term expires end of 2014

Ayn Wieskamp represents: Brightside, Dublin, part of Fremont, Livermore, Newark, Pleasanton, Scott's Corner, and Sunol.

Parks in her ward include: Ardenwood, Brushy Peak, Dublin Hills, Coyote Hills, Del Valle, Mission Peak, Monument Peak, Ohlone, a portion of Pleasanton Ridge, Shadow Cliffs, Sunol, and Tassajara Creek.

Posted by Don Key, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

c'mon the city of pleasanton should take on this project, they have a money losing golf course why not add a water slide?

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

@ Don - The SC Waterslides never lost money. In fact, the waterslides made a profit and funneled money back into the coiffurs of EBRPD and paid local taxes which benefited Pleasanton.

Posted by Eastside, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2013 at 9:25 am

Seems it would give the new stacked-up, high density residents a fun place to cool off, without backing up Pleasanton streets with traffic.

Posted by Horace Schmitt, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

@jeff - if they were truly making money (they weren't funneling the profits back into the infrastructure)somebody would be running the slides today. unfortunately there was a tremendous amount of deferred maintenance and if that was the case it was an accident/lawsuit waiting to happen.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm


The proprietor of the slides was waiting for a long term lease agreement with EBRPD before investing into infrastructure improvements. Why would he pay for improvements if the parks would not renew his lease?

Mr. Kiersted was not getting rich running the slides. I believe he did the best he could to keep the slides running within the confines placed upon him by EBRPD.

You are right though, if he was making huge profits, another vendor would probably have come along to take over. Mr. Kiersted was probably not as concerned about making big profits rather he did it to provide family fun and good summer jobs for our city's teens.

Believe it or not, but not everyone is motivated by money and profit.

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