Camping in Alameda?

Campground at Alameda Point

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.

Springtime at the campground

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.

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8 Responses to Camping in Alameda?

  1. Ingrid says:

    How do we get in touch with the City to try to work this into the plan? This is a no-brainer!

  2. D. Mascharney Smith-Franklin says:

    Our youth already are deprived of places for recreation. At least with this site becoming open and active again will make it very easy for someone like myself; I like to camp but am disabled but I can get to Alameda. I am sure there will be a lot of families who do not have access to a yard of their own, who would love to have a nearby site to camp out under the stars. We are so busy building houses and strip malls which takes away from places for recreation of any type.

  3. Cece says:

    Do you know the current status of this park. We would love to make this an off-grid, sustainable camping location that provides, kayaking, hiking, biking, ferrying and motor service to this awesome location. Who do we need to contact?

    • Irene says:

      Cece, As far as I know, this property is still in limbo. It’s the city’s move. The East Bay Regional Park District already has capital money set aside from Measure WW. Once the city provides direction to them, the park district can allocate money for staffing in a future park district budget, which would be at least a year away.

      Our representative on the park district board is Doug Siden: The city’s chief operating officer for Alameda Point is Jennifer Ott:

  4. Allison says:

    Wow, what an awesome presentation Irene! I hope City Hall and EBRPD can make this happen. Gearing up for a new cause!!??

  5. lanceyd says:

    Hello Irene, a very nice presentation. My family would walk the dog around that area and saw the old camp grounds and wondered why it wasn’t being utilized. Is there any new update? Is there new representatives that I can email? As you said, this would be great to have access to.

    • Irene says:

      Thank you. There’s been no movement on reopening the campground as far as I know. The contact information remains the same (above). You can always write the city council too.

      • Allison Martin says:

        They’ll probably pave it over or put up another shopping mall. Hope not but ya know. Hope you have a very Happy Holidays!

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