Brickyard Cove became the newest public space inside the 1,833-acre McLaughlin Eastshore State Park over the weekend, adding a list of amenities — picnic tables, walking paths, bike racks, and more — 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 about 30 acres in size, debuted to the public Saturday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that also recognized how the Ohlone and other Native tribes in the area have held stewardship over the land for centuries.
“The journey to protect and reclaim the park started 60 years ago,” said East Bay Regional Parks District Board Member Elizabeth Echols, who represents the area, to Berkeleyside. “Now we look at these beautiful spaces and that was not the original vision, not in the least.”
Brickyard Cove now open with new parking, picnic tables, restrooms, water fountains, bike racks, walking paths, and connection to the San Francisco Bay Trail. Enjoy magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay and skyline. https://t.co/yNbcCWEfSI— East Bay Regional Parks (@EBRPD) March 25, 2022
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 provides magnificent views of the entire San Francisco Bay and looks over nearby city skylines.
But the land where the new Brickyard Cove park sits actually used to be a literal dump owned by Santa Fe Land Development Corporation, which later became Catellus Development. According to Berkeleyside, the area that now makes up Brickyard Cove was once filled with — you guessed it — bricks, as well as dirt and garbage. Though the space was intended to eventually develop into another shopping mall, those plans never came to fruition, and Brickyard Cove’s 30 acres largely existed as a garbage heap for decades.
Given its current lush greenery and well-manicured trailheads, you would’ve never guessed that the new park was once teeming with trash. (However: Keen parkgoers can still spot broken garbage bricks in some of the more natural areas, which are currently teeming with wildflowers.) The park’s restoration and new construction costs totaled about $5 million in all; the money to cover those expenses came courtesy of a grant from California State Parks.
The completion of Brickyard Cove represents one of the recent investments at McLaughlin Eastshore State Park over the past few years done by the East Bay Regional Park District, including public access improvements at Albany Beach, trail improvements along with the Albany Neck, and a one-mile Bay Trail extension behind Golden Gate Fields. McLaughlin Eastshore State Park now extends 8.5 miles along the bay shoreline from the Bay Bridge to Richmond and includes 1,833 acres of upland and tideland habitat.