Park It by Ned Mackay: District seeks survey responses

The East Bay Regional Park District wants to hear from you. More specifically, the District has set up an online survey to obtain the public’s thoughts on the district’s future programs and facilities.

Survey participants can weigh in on what they feel are the most pressing issues facing the district, what features and activities could be added, and what present offerings can be improved.

You can take the survey online by visiting It’s available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. But hurry. The survey period ends on July 31, and the district wants to hear from as many people as possible, in order to better set future priorities.

This year is the park district’s 85th anniversary. It was founded in 1934 as the result of a grass roots movement led by community activists who saw the need for preservation of the East Bay’s beautiful open spaces for public recreation and wildlife habitat.

The first three regional parks to be established were Tilden, Sibley and Temescal. From these modest beginnings, the district has expanded to comprise 73 regional parks totaling more than 122,000 acres, hosting 25 million visits annually.

Here’s a chance to let your voice be heard about how you’d like to see the district evolve in the coming years. District staff and board will value your input.

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From future plans to present activities: a family game night and campfire is on the agenda from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

Bring your favorite card or board game, skit ideas and a cozy blanket. S’mores, that gooey campfire confection, will be provided free of charge.

And from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 28, the park’s naturalists will lead an insect detective session, to find out what scuttles through the park’s wetlands.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050 for information.

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At Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch, naturalist Virginia Delgado will lead a family night hike from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. Find out how the reservoir comes to life as the sun goes down, during a three-mile hike on even terrain.

The program is for ages six and older. It’s free, but reservations are required. Call 888-327-2757, select option 2, and refer to program number 25905.

Contra Loma has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information on the night hike, call 510-544-2750.

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Bees and beeswax are the theme of a program from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 28 at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley, led by naturalist Jenna S. Collins.

The group will make beeswax candles and sample local honey. Meet at the Little Farm classroom, which is a short walk past the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

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At Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, naturalist Kristina Parkison hides with her Cart of Curiosities somewhere within the park, awaiting your discovery. The cart contains artifacts of cultural and natural history.

Kristina and her cart will be out in the park from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, and from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Kristina also plans a “Night of the Moth” program from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 27 in celebration of National Moth Week. Yes, there is such a thing as National Moth Week. It’s the last full week in July. I looked it up on the internet.

Intended for ages six and older, “Night of the Moth” is a “bioblitz” to determine which different species of moths pollinate Coyote Hills’ night blooming plants.

Meet at the Coyote Hills visitor center. The park is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a $5 parking fee; the moth program is free of charge. For information, call 510-544-3220.

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This is just a sample. There’s lots of variety in the East Bay Regional Parks. For a full listing of programs, visit the website,

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