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.