Submitted to the City of Oakland Office of Parks and Recreation.
A Brief HistoryThis is not a part of the official report. This is a historical perspective of the genesis of the report.
by Eric Muhler
In mid-1999, a small group of citizens began complaining about bicycle use in Joaquin Miller Park. Then Director of Oakland Recreation and Parks, Tony Acosta, called for a series of citizens meetings. This process began in November of 1999. From those first meetings, Mr. Acosta made a series of recommendations to the Oakland City Council for how to handle the complaints of off-trail riding in JM Park. The Council ultimately adopted those recommendations which included formation of a Trails Working Group of any and all concerned citizens to meet and work on improving the problems found in the park. Some of the members of this group felt that the park was verging on ecological disaster and strongly wanted a scientific study to be done of trails, stream beds, erosion, the redwood forest, and understory growth in the park. Cyclist members of the group felt that the study was a good idea because any scientific study would show that bicycles were a very small factor in trail problems, silting of streams, damage to redwood trees, and understory growth. The City of Oakland commissioned the study from William Lettis & Associates which was one of about five proposals for the study that were submitted to the group. A majority of the group, led by the faction that believed ecological disaster was imminent in the park, voted for the Lettis Goup to conduct the study. We are happy to post the report here, and feel that all of our points have been made by an independent, scientific, survey of the real forces that create problems in the park. Please take the time to read all of this report carefully. Where bicyclists have made problems, they are duly noted. However, the report makes it quite clear that rainwater, above-grade (10% slope) trails, poor design, landslides, non- native plant species, and trampling from ALL park users are the real problems facing the park. BTCEB has already addressed several of the trail fixes outlined in the Appendix at the end. We look forward to working with all concerned park lovers to ameliorate the additional problems outlined in this report. Joint concern and effort rather than finger pointing and exclusion are the keys to a successful park experience for ALL users.