Trail in lower Sausal Canyon, Dimond Park - Oakland CA
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) prepared the way for Dimond Park in 1936, in coordination with the Oakland Parks Department. The relief workers cleared trees and brush from the steep Sausal Creek Canyon before constructing the Recreation Area, reworking the creek bed and building trails.
In late 1935, the WPA approved $38,000 for this project out of over $1 million allotted for various works in the city of Oakland.
There are trails running up the canyon on both sides of Sausal Creek from the Recreation Area to just beyond the Leimert Street bridge, which then join and soon climb up the south hillside to merge with another trail higher up, which begins at the Leimert Street bridge and goes the end of the park at Interstate 580.
One local resident complained bitterly about the clearance in a letter to the Oakland Tribune (1939), condemning the WPA work: “With a ruthlessness that would have shamed a horde of vandals they cut and slashed and hacked and slew…. Compared with what was there before, they left a desert behind them.” The writer makes no mention of subsequent improvements made for public use of the area. This is an example of the long-standing conflict between preservation and recreation in American parks, with valid arguments on both sides but often tainted by a class divide over the best use of open space (Maher 2007).
"Oakland to get more funds: $422,000 to be spent in new projects," Oakland Tribune, December 11, 1935, p. 1
"Oakland park to be built as WPA job," San Francisco Chronicle, December 12, 1935. np#
WPA Job Card, Project No. 65-3-1750, $35,000, Approval date 10-23-35. Fresno Public Library, San Joaquin Valley Heritage & Genealogy Center
Edwin Norman, letter to the editor, Oakland Tribune, April 8, 1939.
Maher, Neil. 2007. Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement. New York: Oxford University Press.
Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on July 3, 2020.
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