Celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Lafayette/ Moraga trail

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (July 29, 2021) — Almost 50 years ago, two women known as “the bike ladies” – Avon Wilson and Lynn Hiden – began advocating for enhanced bicycle safety, especially a safe way for children to ride bicycles to and from school in the Lamorinda area.

Out of their idea, Lafayette, Moraga, and the East Bay Regional Park District formed a nine-member Trails Advisory Committee to develop a final plan/EIR for using the abandoned Sacramento-Northern Railroad as one of the first Rails-to-Trails projects in the country

Efforts came to fruition on July 4, 1976 with dedication of the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail, a seven-mile multi-use path that links the entire region.

Over the years, the trail has been enormously popular with walkers, bicyclists and equestrians for both recreation and commuting to school and work.

Original founders, current park district staff, and officials from both cities and the district will celebrate the trail’s 45th anniversary with unveiling of a historic panel at the site of the original dedication.

Open to the public, the ceremony will be at noon on Thursday, Aug. 5 on the trail behind the Glenside community pool between St. Mary’s Road and Glenside Drive in Lafayette. An ice cream social will follow the ceremony.

The Lafayette Christian Church is providing parking for the event in its lot at 584 Glenside Drive.

RSVP to Monique Salas at msalas@ebparks.org.

Wildfire prevention

As mentioned in the last column, the East Bay Regional Park District has received an appropriation from the state budget of $13.5 million to fund wildfire prevention projects in the East Bay Hills.

The appropriation, and the wildfires currently raging throughout the western United States, all underline the fact that we are approaching the most dangerous time of the increasingly lengthy fire season.

Months of hot, dry weather have taken a toll on vegetation throughout the regional parks and other open space. When combined with hot offshore winds, it creates extreme fire danger, especially in areas where open space adjoins residential neighborhoods. We can’t expect the danger to lessen until the hoped-for rainy season arrives in late fall.

Safety tips

Here are a few reminders about fire safety:

  • Smoking is prohibited in all the regional parks. The prohibition includes vaping.
  • If you barbecue, use the stands designed for that purpose in picnic areas. Dispose of barbecue coals in a fireplace, fire pit or barbecue grill, not in ordinary trash barrels.
  • Gas or propane camp stoves and portable barbecues are permissible, but must be placed in an area that won’t scorch or burn lawns or tabletops. They must be at least 30 feet from any flammable material such as grass, weeds, brush or buildings. Be sure you extinguish all burning fuel completely before leaving.
  • Park your vehicle only in designated parking areas. Remember that a hot vehicle manifold can ignite tall, dry grass.
  • In extremely dry and windy weather, access to regional parks may be restricted, activities may be curtailed, or parks may be closed entirely. To be sure of a park’s status, check the district website, ebparks.org, before arriving at the park.
  • If you arrive to find that a park is closed, please do not enter anyway. You could place in danger both yourself and the district staff that would have to search for you.
  • Out on the trails, keep track of your location. Download a park map from the district website or pick one up at a trailhead information panel.
  • If you see a fire, call 9-1-1. If possible, report its size, direction of burn, and whether any structures or park visitors are in danger. Then leave the area immediately.
  • During an emergency, please cooperate with any instructions from park rangers, police and firefighters.

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