A campground in Alameda? You bet. There’s one already here at Alameda Point! All that’s needed is some action by city officials to reopen it.
Walking along the shoreline Bay Trail between the Encinal Boat Ramp and the USS Hornet, you can’t help but notice the mature trees and springtime flowering landscape. But if you walk onto the grounds, you’ll also find a gravel road meandering around 23 clearly marked campsites that are perfect for walk-in tent camping. All the infrastructure is in place, ready to be put back into service. The secluded Breakwater Beach, a boat and kayak launching site, and athletic fields are nearby. Typically, people are fishing.
The campground was in full working order when the Navy base was in operation. Since then, the park that includes the campground was renamed Enterprise Park by city officials (after the USS Enterprise, which was docked nearby), but otherwise the campground has sat dormant. Base reuse plans call for a regional park in this location, and Navy officials say the city can authorize investment in the property now, even before official transfer of the property.
In 1996, the East Bay Regional Park District proposed that they operate the campground. The city did give them the go-ahead several years ago to invest funds in the Bay Trail, but the campground was left in limbo.
In 2009, the park district set aside $6.5 million in Measure WW bond money for creating regional recreation opportunities at Alameda Point. A modest amount of that money could be used now to restore the campground to active use. There’s a vacant recreation building a few feet away the park district may also want to use in its park-building efforts. A park district representative told me recently that the district has been waiting for 15 years for the city to give them direction.
We should begin by adding this campground as a goal in the citywide park master plan currently being formulated by a consultant. This will start the process necessary to reopen the campground.
It’s a growing concern that this property sits idle. Recently someone (not the city or the park district) decided to “trim” the trees. The barbecue pits have been spray painted with numbers and moved all over the place. Graffiti is starting to appear.
Now’s the time to get the ball rolling to reopen this community and regional asset as we try to market Alameda Point. It’s doable. Our children and outdoor enthusiasts will thank us, and the City of Alameda will have one additional asset that makes us unique.
Originally published in the Alameda Sun.