Visitors need to heed guidelines in East Bay Regional Parks

Visitors need to heed guidelines in East Bay Regional Parks

Visitors need to heed guidelines in East Bay Regional Parks
Redwood Regional Park photo by Kevin Parker.

Many of the East Bay Regional Parks are still open to the public, but we all need to help keep them that way. At this writing, five regional parks are closed: Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, Bay Point Regional Shoreline in Pittsburg (for construction), Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area in Walnut Creek, Point Isabel in Richmond and Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County.

At other regional parks, trails are generally open but other park features are closed. Closures include the Tilden Little Farm, all visitor centers, picnic areas, restrooms, water fountains, some parking lots, swim areas, playgrounds, campgrounds, back country campsites, kiosks, sports fields and reservable facilities.

But the district’s 300 miles of paved, regional inter-park trails are open. These include the Delta-DeAnza and Marsh Creek Regional Trails in East Contra Costa, the Contra Costa Canal Regional Trail in Central Contra Costa, the Iron Horse Trail through the San Ramon Valley, and the Alameda Creek Regional Trail in Newark and Fremont.

For a detailed and up-to-date list of what is open and closed, visit and click on “COVID-19 Updates & Closure Information” at the top of the home page. To avoid disappointment, I recommend that you always check before venturing out to a park.


Because coronavirus is highly contagious and can be spread by overcrowding, all these measures are intended to secure the safety of both the general public and the staff who maintain, operate and police the regional parks. As a result, although there are rangers on duty, staffing is at a lower level. Like all of us, many staff are sheltering in place and caring for their families.

If the spread of coronavirus increases, more restrictive measures may have to be taken. But we can all help to prevent that by observing some specific precautions:

  • Maintain a six-foot distance from other people.
  • No picnicking, groups, gatherings or meet-ups. Only immediate households should be together.
  • Use gloves or hand sanitizers at high-use contact points such as trail gates.
  • Keep dogs on leash at all times. When dogs congregate, so do their owners.
  • Pack out all trash, including dog waste bags. Because of lower staffing, trash collection will be limited.
  • Do not use single-use plastic water bottles. Bring your own water in a permanent-use container. Water fountains have been closed.
  • Use the toilet at home before you visit the park. Park toilets are locked shut.
  • Park safely; please do not block fire road gates or obstruct park access roads.

Nature programs online

All the regional park naturalist programs have been canceled. However, you can still enjoy some park district nature programs online. The district naturalists have put together a series of Facebook video programs called “Creature Features,” each highlighting a natural history topic. Search for “East Bay Regional Park District Creature Features” on Facebook. The first four “creatures” are a newt, wildflowers, a gopher snake and skull detectives, with more to come.

The park district’s staff and board are in constant contact and in compliance with all local and state health departments. The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly evolving, with changes daily. The hope is that if we all work together, these changes will be for the better and we will be able to resume our normal way of living sooner rather than later.

The park district board and staff thanks the public for its understanding and cooperation.

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