http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/10/03/wonderful-wilderness


Danville Express

Perspective - October 3, 2008

Wonderful Wilderness

Our lives in Danville and Alamo are enriched by Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, almost 4,000 acres of green hills to the west. The land has been preserved thanks to countless hours of work by people with vision and the formation of the East Bay Regional Park District in 1934.

Land acquisition can be a tricky process, not to mention expensive. Las Trampas has grown by more than 1,800 acres since 1988, thanks to Measure AA, a $225 million bond passed by voters that year for the Park District. Now Measure AA is about to expire, and the district has Measure WW, a $500 million park bond extension measure, on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Measure WW would replicate and extend Measure AA to continue to acquire open space and make improvements. As an extension rather than a new bond, it would not increase the current property tax rate above the present rate of $10 per year per $100,000.

The $500 million from Measure WW is divided as follows:

* $375 million or 75 percent to fund regional park acquisitions and capital projects;

* $26.2 million or 7 percent to hold in reserve for unanticipated needs and opportunities; and

* $125 million or 25 percent to go to cities, special districts and county service areas for their parks and recreation services.

The Park District operates 98,000 acres of open space, which includes 1,100 miles of public trails and 65 regional parks in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Some of the parks have active recreational opportunities, such as swimming and boating, while Las Trampas in the west hills of Danville and Alamo offers pristine wilderness for hiking, biking and studying nature. In eastern Danville, Sycamore Valley Open Space has its trailhead right at Sycamore Valley Park near the baseball field.

These local areas are on the project list for Measure WW funds:

* $1.4 million - Complete trail corridors between Las Trampas, Sycamore Valley and Mount Diablo.

* $8.3 million - Establish interpretive visitor facility and indoor meeting space to serve the San Ramon Valley in Las Trampas. Also develop access to recently acquired properties including staging, trails and camping areas.

* $925,000 - Acquire lands to complete Sycamore Valley Open Space boundaries and trail connections, both inside the park and to Mount Diablo.

* $875,000 to acquire and develop regional trail connecting Tassajara Creek in Dublin to Mount Diablo.

But just as important are the other 63 projects on the list, because all of the parks in the system are a short drive from our homes in the Danville-Alamo area. See the complete lists at www.ebparks.org.

One could spend a lifetime exploring everything our Park District has to offer. Those who don't want to visit them still enjoy the benefits of green views and protected wildlife, not to mention maintaining the value of homes in the East Bay Regional Park District due to its amenities.

Vote Yes on Measure WW.

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