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October 31, 2007 > Dumbarton Quarry, a new recreational lake

Dumbarton Quarry, a new recreational lake

By Terrie Rowe

Work has begun to turn an enormous three-hundred-foot deep pit near the Dumbarton Bridge into a boating and fishing lake near Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. The pit is a rock quarry previously operated by DeSilva Gates Construction to obtain material for grading and paving projects. The project is the outcome of an agreement by DeSilva Gates to create the lake and develop the surrounding area for recreational use in exchange for approval from the city of Fremont to extend their quarry operation.

Mining has ceased and Dumbarton Quarry Associates are dismantling the quarrying operations and starting to stabilize the site, smoothing surfaces in preparation to convert it from a worksite to a recreation area. The company has submitted engineering plans for the park which are being reviewed by the city of Fremont.

According to Mike Anderson, Assistant General Manager for Planning/Stewardship & Development of the East Bay Regional Parks District, the park was originally slated to open in late 2008 or early 2009. The opening is likely to face a delay of a year or longer, as the question of where to obtain the water to fill and maintain the thirty-acre lake has yet to be decided. A consultant has been hired to determine the viability of diverting water from two flood control channels that now empty into the marshlands in Coyote Creek. If this option proves feasible, it would involve digging a new channel through wetlands, requiring environmental assessments by the Army Corps of Engineers. The permit process alone would take at least a year.

If, as is hoped, the lake is filled with fresh water from flood control runoff, it will be stocked with trout for fishing. The area surrounding the new lake will also feature camping, including RV, and car and tent camping, making the park one of only three East Bay Regional parks that offers overnight camping. The other two are Lake Del Valle in Livermore and Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. The campground is expected to be operated by an outside concessionaire. In addition to camping, the area surrounding the lake will include turf play areas, a boat launch, and picnic grounds, including group picnic sites. Landscaping plans have not been formalized for the site yet, but according to Mike Anderson, the park is expected to include native trees and plants, in addition to turf play areas.

The new site will not only appeal to those who enjoy fishing and boating, but hikers and bicyclists will appreciate its proximity to the Bay Trail and the hiking trails at Coyote Hills. Anderson expects that camping at the park will be popular not only with locals, but with out-of-town tourists, because of its proximity to the peninsula via the Dumbarton Bridge. He notes that European tourists are some of the most frequent campers at Lake Chabot because it offers a cost-effective, centrally located base of operations for touring the Bay Area. The new campground will have the same appeal. Although the area won't have a theme, Anderson expects that its history as a quarry will be used to educate visitors on geology and how materials are obtained to make the roads and highways we travel every day.

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