Thanks to Bay Nature magazine and its friends, a select group of about two dozen walkers got a sneak preview of the new and unfinished Brickyard park on Saturday June 17. East Bay Regional Park District supervising ranger Scott Possin led the walk, with an assist from Alameda Crab Cove supervising ranger James Frank. Robert Cheasty, Executive Director of Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP), made a guest appearance and spoke movingly about the history of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.
The Brickyard began life as a dumping ground for construction debris. Before its recent makeover, strollers wound their way over and through exposed fragments of brick walls and chunks of concrete. A local contractor used the site for decades as a depot for fill dirt. The Parks District reduced the mound of dirt, exported hundreds of truck loads to other parks, and spread the remainder in low sloping mounds over the Brickyard spit to cover up the construction debris. At the time of our visit, we saw a packed gravel path curving around the site through hydroseeded grasses that had rooted but turned brown. Comparing the work completed with the plan, it was evident that much remained to be done.
After a brief circuit through the Brickyard, showing off view of the Bay and of the beach, Possin led the group through part of the Berkeley Meadow, commenting on the Parks District’s work to create a limited tree habitat and extensive wetlands for seasonal birds. At the time of our visit, the wetlands were reduced to algae-covered puddles, and the abundance of waterfowl who had visited during the wet season had migrated out. During a stop on the Virginia Street extension at the south edge of the North Basin, Cheasty forecast what the scenery will look like after the expected sea level rises.