Photographing wildlife in Tilden, one of East Bay Regional Park District’s 73 sites. Photo: Kathleen Costanza
Photographing wildlife in Tilden, one of East Bay Regional Park District’s 73 sites. Photo: Kathleen Costanza

Fish cleaning stations or farm stands?

East Bay Regional Park District is asking its millions of visitors to weigh in on what they want their parks of the future to look like. The massive system turns 85 this year, and the district is using the occasion to reflect on its offerings and hear from park goers. This is the last week to fill out an online survey, which closes Monday.

In the short survey, visitors are asked to share how they use the 73 parks, issues they’ve faced on the trails, and features they’d like to see strengthened or added across the system.  The options the district includes in the latter category are intriguing: from off-leash dog areas and water bottle filling stations to a “bike skills area” and natural art installations — or you can write-in your own ideas.

With wildfire season looming, the district also asks about visitors’ perceptions of the effects of extreme weather on the trails and parks.

“By completing this short survey, the public will help our board and staff to evaluate priorities as the Park District plans for a future with wide-ranging opportunities and challenges, such as wildfire prevention and climate change,” said General Manager Robert E. Doyle in a press release.

While EBRPD brags on the survey that its annual visits total “more than the A’s, Giants, Warriors, 49ers, and Raiders combined,” it is a rare resident who is aware of, let alone personally familiar with, all 122,000 acres that make up the park district in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The 85th anniversary survey can also serve as a reminder of the array of open spaces and activities funded by, and available to, the public.

EBRPD says it will use the survey feedback “to maintain its relevancy to the recreational needs of the East Bay’s evolving multi-cultural community.”

The park district survey is available online.

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Natalie Orenstein

Natalie Orenstein reports on housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. Natalie was a Berkeleyside staff reporter from early 2017 to May 2020. She had previously contributed to the site since 2012,...