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January 28, 2014 > Park It

Park It

Submitted By Ned MacKay

ItÕs currently estimated that the East Bay Regional Parks receive 25 million visitors annually. This doesnÕt mean 25 million different people; it includes visitors who return frequently.

The figure is an amalgam of estimates from park supervisors, gate receipts from parks with entrance kiosks, and enrollment figures from programs and facilities requiring reservations. Knowing how many people visit the parks is important to district staff for park operation and maintenance.

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This is turning out to be one of the driest winters on record. As a result we are still experiencing a fire season that normally would have ended at least a month ago. "These are definitely record-breaking unseasonal weather conditions," said Paul Cutino, the East Bay Regional Park District's assistant fire chief.

Paul said the district firefighters and rangers are on alert, and are completing extra patrols. Assuming the dry weather continues, he also had some fire safety tips for park visitors and neighbors:
* Be careful with matches and fire in general, especially when discarding cigarettes.
* Make campfires only in designated fire pits, and be sure they are properly extinguished. Be sure you have a permit when required. Abide by all posted or announced fire safety rules.
* Don't drive your vehicle into dry grass. A hot manifold can ignite a fire.
* Homeowners should be careful when mowing dry grass on their property. Hot motors and sparking from stones can start fires, too.
* If you see smoke in open parklands, report it immediately. Just call 9-1-1 and you will be connected to the proper agency.

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Healthy Parks Healthy People Bay Area is a partnership of the Institute of the Golden Gate, East Bay Regional Park District, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area to promote the idea of regular outdoor recreation in the parks as a path to good health.

As part of this program, the regional park district offers monthly outdoor activities for people of all ages and abilities under the HPHP banner. On Saturday, Feb. 1st, join naturalist Kristina Parkison for a stroll from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. This one is for ages 10 and older. Meet at the visitor center at the end of Patterson Ranch Road. For information, call (510) 544-3220. The program is free and does not require reservations but a parking fee may apply. You can get information on all park district programs and make reservations online by visiting the park district web site: www.ebparks.org.

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