Chevron Donates Easement To East Bay Regional Park District for Bay Trail

By Shelly Lewis and Brent Tippen
Monday, November 2, 2009

Chevron is joining efforts with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) to expand public access to Richmond’s Point San Pablo Peninsula along the San Pablo Bay. Chevron agreed to donate an easement over a portion of its property to allow EBRPD to construct, operate and maintain a public multi-use recreational trail along the shoreline.

At its upcoming November 3 board meeting, the EBRPD Board of Directors will formally accept the trail easement donation from Chevron located near its refinery operations in West Contra Costa County.

The proposed easement donation consists of two segments: a southern segment beginning at the foot of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and running north to the former U.S. Naval Fuel Depot at Point Molate; and a northern segment, which runs north of the former depot past Point Orient to a point just south of Point San Pablo Yacht Club.

EBRPD’s 1997 Master Plan identifies the San Pablo peninsula as a location for a regional park at Point Molate, and the San Francisco Bay Trail Plan shows a Bay Trail spur running along the shoreline of the San Pablo peninsula.

“Chevron’s generous donation goes a long way to supporting the Park District’s interests in expanding the Bay Trail and providing more public access to the Richmond shoreline.” said Pat O’Brien, EBRPD General Manager.

The 20-foot wide easement which totals about 1.5 miles covers shoreline portions of Chevron’s refinery property following the former Richmond Beltline Railroad/Castro Point Railway corridor. EBRPD and Chevron have been working together for several years to secure access to this important but previously unavailable parcel to extend the Bay Trail. “With Chevron’s help, the Richmond community will have more trail access and future open space parkland along the waterfront, which has long been a part of the Park District’s master plan,” said Bob Doyle, Assistant General Manager of Land Acquisition and Advanced Planning.

The 1988 Measure AA included funding for the acquisition of key parcels for a park and trail at this location.

This segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail crosses various ownerships, including property owned by the City of Richmond and Chevron. EBRPD and Chevron both recognize that some of the former railroad right-of-way may no longer be suitable for construction of the trail, with portions of the corridor having subsided over time. Chevron has agreed to cooperate with EBRPD to develop a mutually acceptable realignment of the trail, as close to the original corridor alignment as physically possible, in order to provide safe use of the trail and to maximize the visual enjoyment for trail users.

“This contribution by Chevron brings us all one step closer to enjoying the recreational opportunities made possible by the Bay Trail,” said Mike Coyle, General Manager of Chevron’s Richmond Refinery. “We believe that working together with all key partners helps move the project toward completion. Chevron remains fully supportive of the Bay Trail, a valued Bay Area natural resource. We believe that there is reason for optimism for a timely completion of the spur trail along the beautiful waterfront from Point Richmond to Point San Pablo.”

“The District acknowledges Chevron’s cooperation and generosity in providing this trail easement at no cost to the public,” said General Manager O’Brien. Chevron’s donation will offer opportunities for public access to the scenic San Pablo Bay shoreline with unobstructed views of the San Pablo Bay, the Brothers Islands, Red Rock Island, the Sisters Islands and vistas of Marin County including the Tiburon peninsula, Mt. Tamalpais, China Camp State Park, Angel Island State Park and portions of the San Francisco Bay.

EBRPD will be responsible for all costs associated with the trail, including the cost to engineer trail alignment, surveying and title costs estimated to be $100,000.