Help the East Bay park district by answering online survey

As East Bay Park attendance surges, district seeks your help with online survey

Help the East Bay park district by answering online survey
The Oakland Zoo, which partners with East Bay Regional Parks District, reopened its doors last week, after a months-long closure. (Photo Courtesy Oakland Zoo)

Oakland, CA — The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) has experienced an unprecedented surge in visitor attendance, as people head to the parks for healthy exercise and relief from stress during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a recent survey, 96 percent stated that it has been important to keep regional parks and trails open during the pandemic.

Ninety percent believe that having access to the parks and trails has been important to their health and well-being. And 94 percent say parks will play an equal or greater role in their lives when the pandemic is over.

The district is conducting an online survey along the same lines and would like to hear from as many people as possible. The results will assist the district in developing ways to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic, both while it is still a threat and when people can get back to resuming as normal a life as possible. To participate in the survey, go to At the top of the home page is a slide display that changes every few seconds. When “Covid19 Park & Community Survey” appears, click on it or click here to take the survey. The survey is available in both English and Spanish.

Zoo opening

The Oakland Zoo reopened its doors last week, after a months-long closure. It’s great news for both animals and people.

The EBRPD is a partner with the zoo, in that the park district’s 2008 Measure WW Local Grant Program has provided $4 million over the years for zoo capital improvements. Measure WW is a bond issue that received strong support from park district voters in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

The park district also joined the zoo in urging county and state leaders to allow it to reopen with appropriate social-distancing protocols.

For more about the zoo’s reopening plans, go to

Here’s more good news

The Senate and House of Representatives have both approved the Great American Outdoors Act, which mandates permanent funding of $900 million annually for the national Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The bill now goes to President Donald Trump, who has said he will sign it.

The LWCF receives money from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. Over the past 50 years, the program has provided more than $16 million in funding for various parks and trails in the EBRPD, most recently for the $750,000 Bay Point Restoration and Public Access Project in 2017.

In general, LWCF funds are used to expand public lands, safeguard natural areas and protect cultural heritage sites nationwide.

National award

The Regional Parks Botanic Garden, located in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley, has received the Frank Cabot Award from the North American Rock Garden Society.

The award is national recognition for a public garden that features outstanding rock gardens and rock garden plants. Cabot was a major figure in American public gardens and was the founder of the Garden Conservancy.

The Botanic Garden specializes in the propagation of native California trees, shrubs and flowers. It’s located at the intersection of South Park Drive and Wildcat Canyon Road but is currently closed to the public because of the pandemic.

Virtual offerings

The park district’s virtual nature programs continue with all kinds of information and activities on video at So thanks to the district’s naturalist corps for this.

From art to zoology, you can view it all by clicking on “Digital Learning” when it appears on the serial slide show. But you can also click on the “Digital Learning” display near the bottom of the home page.

Mask up

And when you are actually out in the parks, please don’t forget to bring along a face mask. Wear a face covering when social distancing is difficult on narrow trails. The more we make a habit of mask wearing, the safer we will be and the sooner we’ll all get through the pandemic. Thanks to everyone for cooperating.

Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at

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