Loop Road, Tilden Park - Berkeley CA
The East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) was formed in 1934 and acquired land for parks from the East Bay Municipal Water District. The first parks were Tilden, Sibley, Temescal and Redwood in the East Bay Hills behind Berkeley and Oakland CA.
Even before the parks were acquired, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) set up camps in the hills and operated in the parks for the entire New Deal decade, 1933-42. The first camp was in Wildcat Canyon at the present site of the Nature Center.
The first road built by CCC work crews was the Loop Road at the center of Tilden Park, starting from the present-day Tilden Nature Area; today, it is mostly closed to vehicular traffic and serves as a trail. They also built Golf Course Road and parts of Central Park Drive.
CCC enrollee went on to build 60 miles of roads and carve out 50 miles of trails in the four original parks of the EBRPD system. Most of today’s trails were laid out by the CCC, but we cannot pinpoint exactly which ones.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was active in the parks c 1939-42 and built/improved three major roads: Skyline Boulevard along the ridge of the hills from Tilden Park to Lake Chabot, Redwood Canyon Road down to Redwood Park, and Wildcat Canyon Road from the heart of Tilden Park over to the hills to Orinda. (See individual pages on these roads).
The WPA relief workers also built the Seaview Trail running along the crest from Wildcat Canyon Road to Grizzly Peak Boulevard, which is essentially a dirt road that remains unpaved for recreational hikers.
Elbert Vail, The Early Story of the East Bay Regional Parks. Unpublished manuscript, East Bay Regional Parks District archives.
Elbert Vail, Progress Report: 22 Major Projects, c 1939, East Bay Regional Parks District archives
Elbert Vail, 1940 Master Plan. Oakland CA: East Bay Regional Parks District, 1940. East Bay Regional Parks District archives
Mimi Stein, A Vision Achieved:Fifty Years of the East Bay Regional Parks District. Oakland CA: East Bay Regional Parks District, 1984. @ https://www.ebparks.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=25719
Brechin, Gray. 2008. "Forgotten Foundation". Bay Nature Magazine. January 1. http://baynature.org/articles/jan-mar-2008/forgotten-foundation
Anonymous, "WPA and CCC worksites in East Bay Regional Parks District," manuscript report, January 2, 2012.
Smith, Harvey. 2014. Berkeley and the New Deal. Charleston SC: Arcadia Books.
Amanda Sue Marshall, The East Bay Hills: A Brief History. Charleston SC: The History Press, 2017.
Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on August 9, 2020.
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