Open Letter #9

To the Paddling, Rowing, Windsurfing, and Sailing Communities

Update on the Eastshore State Park

October 3 2001

The big news is that those of you who were not able to attend the regional planning workshop on the stormy night of September 24 will have another chance. The lights failed half-way through the workshop, and although we did the best we could with flashlights and candles, the workshop could not be completed.

Thursday, October 11, is the date for the second try. 7:00 pm back at Hs. Lordships Restaurant, Berkeley Marina. This will probably not be a duplication of the incomplete map-based planning exercise, but it will be an excellent opportunity to express support for water-related activities and to contribute new ideas to the plan.

Although the design of the September 24 workshop was somewhat limiting, the planning consultants have presented some good material for us to work with. There was excellent representation from the sailing, kayak, windsurfing, and rowing communities - the consultants' prediction of 400 participants turned out to be about right.

It was hard to tell if there was any representation for outriggers or dragon boats, though. This is unfortunate, because these groups have the most to gain here (and the most to contribute in terms of public service). A park plan that supports new facilities for outriggers and dragon boats in the North Sailing Basin could bring these activities to the doorstep of Berkeley. But there is progress - dragon boats and outriggers are now mentioned in "Alternative B" of the consultants' proposed preliminary designs. This alternative appears to be very responsive to our lobbying efforts to date, and it's encouraging to see it on the screen as one of two major alternative plans.

Details of the current proposals are on the web at

Look under "public documents" and click on the September Workshop Presentation. It's a large Powerpoint file that takes nearly seven minutes to start up over a DSL line, so if you don't have a broadband connection be prepared for a very long wait.

My own impressions of the workshop, along with more commentary on "Alternative B," are at

The Coalition for Park Access and Conservation is also gaining momentum, with more organizations signing on as supporting members. More info about this group, and its recommended plan outline, is linked to the above URL.

One thing that we all need to be aware of when advocating our own recreational interests Is the importance of the coalition. There were reports from sailors and paddlers that some of the off-leash dog advocates seemed to be indifferent to water-related uses.

No-one should feel that they are being asked to speak up for something that they don't agree with. But if we expect the support of the huge off-leash constituency, we should remember to put in a good word for their cause whenever we can. Same applies to playing fields and even the BMX bikers. There's room for all of these things in the park without seriously compromising the open space and habitat protection priorities. If the active recreational interests represented by the CPAC coalition all support each other, we will be a very powerful lobbying force.

The planning team has also put the "workbook" used during the workshop online, and requests that they be mailed in by October 5. So there's still time to send written comments that will be incorporated into this phase of public input. It's probably okay to use a format other than the workbook if you have download problems.

Other dates of interest: Wednesday October 10 is a joint meeting of the Berkeley Waterfront Commission and Berkeley Parks and Recreation Commission. This will be the "Local Briefing" for Berkeley on the Eastshore State Park, with opportunities for public comment. As always, a strong showing by people who like to float on the water - instead of just look at it - will be extremely helpful. This meeting is also 7:00 pm at Hs. Lordships.

And tonight, Wednesday October 3 (if you read this in time) is a regular meeting of the Berkeley Waterfront Commission. Possible revision of the Commission's recommendations for the Eastshore State Park is on the agenda, although that will probably be a small part of the meeting. 7:00 pm in the Marina Conference Room, a few feet southwest of the harbormaster's office in the Berkeley Marina.

Finally, the next Board meeting of Citizens for the Eastshore State Park (CESP) is scheduled for Wednesday October 17, 7:30 pm in the downstairs conference room at 1604 Solano (time and place might change, so watch the calendar page on my website for updates). This is the group that really needs to be won over on the value of water-borne recreation. Their Board meetings are open to the public, although the format is not designed for very much public input.

That's it for now, hope to see more of you at the upcoming meetings.

Paul Kamen
Chair, Berkeley Waterfront Commission 510-540-7968