Gay hiking

Brickyard Cove opens in Berkeley with new hiking trails and beautiful

Brickyard Cove became the newest public space inside the 1,833-acre McLaughlin Eastshore State Park over the weekend, adding a slate of amenities — picnic tables, walking paths, bike racks , etc. – to the area, as well as easier access to the SF Bay Trail.

Announced by the East Bay Regional Park District, Berkeley’s newest public park, which measures approximately 30 acres, made its public debut Saturday morning with a groundbreaking ceremony that also recognized the way the Ohlones and other indigenous tribes in the area held stewardship over the land for centuries.

“The journey to protect and reclaim the park began 60 years ago,” said Elizabeth Echols, board member for the East Bay Regional Parks District, which represents the region, in Berkeleyside. “Now we look at these beautiful spaces and that wasn’t the original vision, not at all.”

The small crowd that attended the grand opening of Brickyard Cove were the first to enjoy the space’s new water fountains, signage, walking paths and bike connection to the San Francisco Bay Trail . Brickyard Cove, too, now offers a magnificent view of the entire San Francisco Bay and the neighboring city skyline.

But the land where the new Brickyard Cove park is located was actually a literal landfill owned by the Santa Fe Land Development Corporation, which later became Catellus Development. According to Berkeleyside, the area that is now Brickyard Cove was once filled with — you guessed it — bricks, as well as dirt and trash. Although the space was intended to become another shopping mall, those plans never came to fruition, and Brickyard Cove’s 30 acres largely existed as a pile of garbage for decades.

Given its current lush greenery and well-maintained trails, you would never have guessed that the new park was once full of trash. (However: Park enthusiasts can still spot broken trash bricks in some of the more natural areas, which are currently teeming with wildflowers.) Costs to restore and re-build the park totaled about $5 million; the money to cover these expenses came through a grant from California State Parks.

The completion of Brickyard Cove represents one of recent investments at McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in recent years by the East Bay Regional Park District, including public access improvements to Albany Beach, trail improvements with Albany Neck, and a one-mile Bay Trail extension behind Golden Gate Fields. McLaughlin Eastshore State Park now stretches 8.5 miles along the bay’s shoreline from the Bay Bridge to Richmond and includes 1,833 acres of upland and tidal habitat.