Response to letter from Norman La Force
October 7 2003
A couple of thoughts on Norman's latest email:
1) JPA: Well OF COURSE the Sierra Club was not invited to participate in
the formation of the JPA. Unless my recollection is seriously in error,
the Sierra Club, and to a lesser extent CESP and Audubon, have opposed
playing fields on the waterfront at every turn. They eventually came out
in favor of playing fields in the Gilman area as the only strategy that
would keep the fields off the Albany Plateau. Before the additional land
purchase in the North Basin Strip, there was virtually no Sierra Club
support for fields on the waterfront, and it is more than a little
misleading to suggest that Sierra Club has been a supporter of this use.
In fact, by arguing against a JPA that can collect sufficient revenue to
support its own operation, Sierra Club continues to be obstructionist.
They raise the specter of blatant commercialization, but actually there
remain several levels of regulatory control that will make that scenario
far-fetched at best.
Sierra Club, CESP and Audubon are private advocacy organizations and have
no special standing to be represented in the JPA.
2) Water Trail: Yes, there are areas where the Bay Trail does not go in
order to avoid habitat disruption. But kayakers are probably the user
group with the greatest personal interest in preserving shoreline habitat,
and it is inconceivable that the Water Trail advocates will have any
trouble with a provision to keep the Water Trail well clear of identified
wildlife preserve areas such as the Emeryville Crescent or the tidal flats
north of the Albany Bulb. Note however that this does not include the
North Sailing Basin, which is not a designated preserve area. The North
Sailing Basin is identified as the best place for water-borne recreation
in the Eastshore State Park General Plan, albeit with possible partial
seasonal closure as determined by further bird studies.
Kayakers, paddlers, rowers and sailors are conservationists, but it is
important to treat land-based access and water-based access in a
consistent manner. From the land side, we know that we will have full
human access to all land areas of ESP with the exception of the central
portion of the Meadow. But from the water side, the ESP Plan already
precludes access to the Emeryville Crescent and the Albany tidal flats.
The only water access called for by the ESP General Plan is in the North
Sailing Basin, and if this is not allowed there will be zero access to all
of the water areas of the Eastshore State Park. It would make as much
sense to fence off the entire land area of the park to human access - the
arguments would be exactly the same.