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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fellow mountain bikers:

With the holidays upon us and everyone busy, the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay hates to ask for a minute of your time. But something really important has come up. And it needs your attention before Wednesday, December 22, if possible.

The East Bay Regional Park District is proposing to open part of the Skyline National Trail in Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve to bikes! This is a pleasant stretch of previously closed trail, approximately five feet wide and one mile long, that will allow you to ride from Skyline Drive to Old Tunnel Road on dirt!

The EBRPD staff backs the idea, but the EBRPD board gets the final say, and may vote "no." The increasingly antirecreation local Sierra Club chapter submitted a legalistic 28-page list of complaints to the EBRPD, including a denunciation of the idea of more bike access in Sibley. (The Sierra Club is even cool on the idea of more hiking in Sibley!) True to form, the Sierra Club argues that "bike trails are inconsistent with the major use of the preserve." (P. 12.) Unfortunately, the EBRPD board worries about the Sierra Club and its political clout. Therefore, the more countering public input the board gets from pro-recreation forces, the better our chances of winning.

The trail opening is part of a plan to make Sibley more accessible to families' recreational needs. As part of this goal, the district's plan includes a 150-person campground in an old quarry (camping capacity reduced by half from the original plan following environmentalists' complaints). Right now, the district doesn't have enough campsites, and many deserving Bay Area kids are the losers. Please say something in support of the campground as well. It'll help BTCEB build an alliance with other recreation-friendly groups.

Some sample comments follow. Please edit them as you wish and send them to

Sharon Marshall
Clerk of the Board
East Bay Regional Park District
P.O. Box 5381
Oakland CA 94605-0381
E-mail: [email protected]

And if you live in Alameda or Contra Costa counties, please also e-mail or postal-mail your comments to your own EBRPD director. You can find out who that person is (with his or her e-mail address) at this link:

http://www.ebparks.org/district/board.htm

And you can use the maps at BTCEB's website to get a visual depiction of who your director is:

http://www.btceb.org/wards.htm

If writing your director by postal mail, use the post office box address above.

Finally, if you want to see what's involved in the Sibley plan, including the proposed new mountain bike access, BTCEB has posted a document (which contains a map) at this link:

http://www.btceb.org/pdf/Sibley_2005_Plan-Summary_and_Map.pdf

Here are some sample comments for your consideration:

As a recreation supporter and mountain biker, I support the Sibley 2005 Land Use Plan Amendment. The increased mountain bike access to a part of Skyline National Recreation Trail will make it safer for me to ride in the Berkeley and Oakland hills, because I won't have to contend with speeding cars as much. Opening that section also helps fulfill the promise of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which is supposed to be multiuse wherever possible. I promise to ride the newly opened section safely and courteously.

Also, I support the campground. Bay Area kids don't have enough places to camp, and many families lack the money or time to drive to the Sierra. The State Parks campgrounds often sell out months in advance, making group outings difficult. Please open the campground along the lines proposed in the Land Use Plan Amendment.

Sincerely, etc.
 

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ditto."email sent"

ditto-email sent. About time this idea gained some momentum. Let me know if you guys need any help with other stuff. Here's a copy of what I sent. It is a little revised allowing personalization.(Hopefully will convey a little more involvement, personal interest, and power.)

As a recreation supporter and mountain biker, I support the Sibley 2005 Land Use Plan Amendment. The increased mountain bike access to a part of Skyline National Recreation Trail will make it safer for me to ride in the Berkeley and Oakland hills, because I won't have to contend with speeding cars, poor road conditions, and reasonable commute route and times as much. Opening that section also helps fulfill the promise of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which is supposed to be multiuse wherever possible. I promise to ride the newly opened section safely and courteously, and provide stewardship or volunteer time as available to the East Bay Parks District.

Also, I support the campground proposal. Bay Area youth and adults don't have enough easily accessible places to camp, and many families lack the money or time to drive to the Sierra. The State Parks campgrounds often sell out months in advance, making group outings difficult. Please open the campground along the lines proposed in the Land Use Plan Amendment, as this option also will serve to supplement the youth intervention, and educational camps programs currently in use within Alameda County.

Sincerly, a voter/constituant:
 

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I sent in my support.

"I support the Sibley 2005 Land Use Plan Amendment that would allow bicycles on a portion of the Skyline National Recreation Trail.

Due to a recent foot injury that prevents me from walking very far, cycling is currently my primary way to enjoy the beauty of our local parks, and the only way I am able to access much of them. I am an outdoors-lover, a frequent user of East Bay Regional Parks, and a voting resident of Oakland. I have volunteered time to the East Bay Parks District in the past, and I will do so in the future.

The increased access to a part of Skyline National Recreation Trail will also make it safer for me to ride in the Berkeley and Oakland hills, because I won't have to contend with speeding cars and poor road conditions as much. Opening that section also helps fulfill the promise of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which is supposed to be multiuse wherever possible. As someone who, until my foot problems, primarily hiked the parks with my family and dog, I will ride the newly opened section safely and courteously, and provide training and education to others.

Also, I support the campground proposal. Bay Area youth and adults don't have enough easily accessible places to camp, and many families lack the money or time to drive to the Sierra. The State Parks campgrounds often sell out months in advance, making group outings difficult. Please open the campground along the lines proposed in the Land Use Plan Amendment, as this option also will serve to supplement the youth intervention, and educational camps programs currently in use within Alameda County."
 

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No Justice = No Peace
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I don't get it.

Where is this trail? As I understand it, Skyline turns into Old Tunnel Road just above the entrance to Sibley, at the intersection of Grizzly Peak Drive. Can anyone explain where this trail is? I'm confused
 

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If you read the first post there is a link to a pdf with a map, that should make it pretty clear.

If they open this we would be one step closer from riding from Wildcat Canyon to Chabot almost all on dirt :D

Write those emails! Forget letter at this point, they need to be received before Wednesday the 22nd.
 

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Old Tunnel Road went Through the Old Tunnel

called the Alameda/Contra Costa Tunnel. You may have seen the marker on Old tunnel Road on the West Side. It came out the other side but I have never found out where in spite of some exploring back in 93 through brush and loose hilside. Old tunnel Road on the East side of the Berkeley Hills can be reached by following Fish Ranch Road down and across the top of the East Enterance of the Caldicott Tunnel and making a hard right back uphill. This is also the old enterence to the Kaiser Sand and Gravel location. There is a residence or two back there and a bit of a what I think is a maintanance yard and the quarry road is blocked to the south by a gate.
From maps I have studied this quarry road ascends Gedde Ridge and would ultimately hook up with Gateway. The potential for this connection is huge.
I have always though this area very cool.
 

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Sent the following

Dear Mr. Sutter, Madam Clerk, and other EBRPD Directors,

As a 20+ year resident of Lafayette, I am writing to you to encourage you to vote in favor of opening the Skyline National Trail in Sibley Regional Park to bicycles. As you are no doubt aware, bicycling is a prominent recreational activity in the Lamorinda area and opening the Skyline Trail would serve to provide local residents further access to EBRPD without having to drive to the parks in order to ride. Further, I am in support of opening the Sibley park to camping as proposed. There are very few places for people to enjoy the pleasures of camping in the Bay Area, opening this area would allow more opportunities for youths and other people to enjoy the pleasures of camping without having to drive a considerable distance to other campgrounds.

I would also like to briefly address the the Sierra Club's comments. The Sierra Club is carte blanc against any plan or development that gives people more access to the land. They oppose virtually everything, and similar to any other extremest organization should given little to no creed in their tiresome rhetoric. When it comes time to vote on this measure please remember, that nearly $85 million of the $110 million revenue per year that the EBRPD shows in its budget comes directly from the property taxes paid by homeowners like myself, NOT FROM THE SIERRA CLUB. People like myself have consistently voted to provide funds for open space to be able to utilize the open space for recreation, not for the purpose of disallowing some or all groups from using the space.

For the forgoing reasons, please remember to vote in favor of the proposals to open up Sibley for further use.

Very Truly Yours,
 

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I stole a bit from CDMC

Dear Ms. Siri, Madam Clerk, and other EBRPD Directors,

As a 3rd gneration Bay Area native and Richmond homeowner, I am writing to encourage you to vote in favor of opening the Skyline National Trail in Sibley Regional Park to bicycles. As you are no doubt aware, bicycling is a prominent recreational activity in the Berkeley Hills Area area and opening the Skyline Trail would serve to provide local residents further access to EBRPD without having to drive to the parks in order to ride.
As the Director of the El Cerrito High School Mountain Biking Club, a wholly volunteer, non-profit organization. I am in charge of the training and education of 30 highly skilled mountain bike riders and 20 adult riders. Central to our training is the integration of good trail sharing ettiquette and manditory requirements of community service in the form of trail maintainance. We support the efforts of community organizations such as BORP which, as you may recall, just suffered a major setback in it's program due to theft of it's rolling stock. We also enjoy myriad support form friends and businesses in our community, inside and outside the cycling community, and around the country.
Our neighbors at Berkeley High also have a Club of nearly 45 members which share our goals for the expression of our sport in our community. As we speak interested 30 parents and their children are forming a club at Albany High to join our Norcal High School MTB League. Our clubs are the vanguard of a growing sport and it's efforts signal the future of this form of recreation. The Skyline/Sibley connector provides more trails for safer off road riding for our expanding number of teens in an area infequently used.
And the Sierra Club's comments: the Sierra Club is carte blanc against any plan or development that gives people more access to the land. They oppose virtually everything, and similar to any other extremest organization should given little to no creed in their tiresome rhetoric. When it comes time to vote on this measure please remember, that nearly $85 million of the $110 million revenue per year that the EBRPD shows in its budget comes directly from the property taxes paid by homeowners like myself, NOT FROM THE SIERRA CLUB. People like myself have consistently voted to provide funds for open space to be able to utilize the open space for recreation, not for the purpose of disallowing some or all groups from using the space.

For the forgoing reasons, please remember to vote in favor of the proposals to open up Sibley for further use.

Very Truly Yours,
Michael Mejia
Director, El Cerrito High School Mountain Bike Club
www.echsmtb.com
 

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What's the profile of that trail anyway? If I see correctly, it's a good 500' plus of elevation loss from the tunnel down to Skyline. I was looking at it with Google earth, and apparently, the part above the tunnel is shaded by some trees, and after that it's all exposed down to the bottom. Looks like it would be a fun connector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This activism is great!

dogonfr said:
Count my email sent also!
And i emailed my friends to do the same.
Thank you all for your e-mails and letters! You've collectively generated a great response, one that should go a long way to persuading the EBRPD directors to go with the district staff's recommendation and approve the trail access and campground. And with so many people mentioning the campground as well as trail access, we're showing we're not just one-issue drones, but instead support healthful recreation for other outdoors enthusiasts in the East Bay. It's a positive message and truly inspiring for me to see so many people express it.

A lot of positive developments have happened this year. The state Legislature passed a bill, AB 672, that would have required the East Bay Municipal Utility District to hold public hearings on trail access to its many miles of roads and trails that are currently off-limits to bikes. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill for reasons unrelated to trail access, but in his veto message he said he supports the bill's intent. I'll be doing whatever I can to help get an improved version of the bill passed this year in Sacramento, one that the Governor will be willing to sign. If that happens, in time we may be able to ride from Berkeley to Danville and beyond on dirt! Also, a year ago the EBRPD opened two trails to bikes, one in Del Valle Regional Park and another in Lake Chabot Regional Park. And it looks likely that we'll be getting access to a short singletrack section in Garin Regional Park in the next few months.

Let me end with a disclaimer. In my initial message, I wrote in a way that may have made it appear that I was speaking for BTCEB. In fact the message expressed only my own views and opinions, and although BTCEB of course supports mountain bike access to the Sibley trail, it has not endorsed the content of my initial post.
 

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Darnitall, I missed the deadline...

I haven't been on the message board for a few days, so I didn't see your post in time to take action. Kudos for taking the initiative to rally the troops for this battle. For everyone's benefit, when will we know the outcome?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think there's still time to e-mail

DonutKing said:
I haven't been on the message board for a few days, so I didn't see your post in time to take action. Kudos for taking the initiative to rally the troops for this battle. For everyone's benefit, when will we know the outcome?
Thanks for your willingness to help. I think there's still time to e-mail your director and the board clerk. I suspect that the stated Dec. 21 deadline is flexible, for this reason (and this will answer your other question, about knowing the outcome): the Sibley plan is going to be considered at a public hearing on January 10, at which time the EBRPD staff and board will review written comments from the public and also listen to those citizens who attend the meeting. I don't know where or at what time the hearing will take place, but I'll post it when I do. (I predict it'll be in the evening, and will either be at EBRPD headquarters off the I-580 freeway or at the EBRPD's Trudeau Center, the old headquarters near the corner of Joaquin Miller and Skyline.)

So please do send an e-mail and attend the public hearing if so inclined! Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Public hearing time and place announced

imtnbke said:
Thanks for your willingness to help. I think there's still time to e-mail your director and the board clerk. I suspect that the stated Dec. 21 deadline is flexible, for this reason (and this will answer your other question, about knowing the outcome): the Sibley plan is going to be considered at a public hearing on January 10, at which time the EBRPD staff and board will review written comments from the public and also listen to those citizens who attend the meeting. . . . [¶] So please do send an e-mail and attend the public hearing if so inclined! Thanks again.
The public hearing will take place Tuesday, January 10, at EBRPD headquarters, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland (just off the I-580 freeway). Unfortunately, it's at 2:00 p.m., to the benefit of well-heeled retirees who don't like mountain biking and to the detriment of mountain bikers who have to go to work every day and can't leave work for public hearings during business hours. So if you have a schedule that allows you to attend, there's all the more reason to do so. One or two people from the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay should be there too.
 

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Thanks for the info...

imtnbke said:
The public hearing will take place Tuesday, January 10, at EBRPD headquarters, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland (just off the I-580 freeway).
Thanks for posting the time and location info. Despite the time of day I am going to try my best to be there. I'm sick of all the EBRPD trail restrictions and I've been wanting to do something about it for a long time. Now's my chance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks!

DonutKing said:
Thanks for posting the time and location info. Despite the time of day I am going to try my best to be there. I'm sick of all the EBRPD trail restrictions and I've been wanting to do something about it for a long time. Now's my chance!
Great! Thank you! When you go, you'll see an EBRPD employee sitting to the side of the board members. Go over to her and ask to fill out a speaker's card. Without it, you won't have a chance to say anything. The atmosphere is relatively informal, and there's no need to dress up.
 
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