East Bay Regional Park offers a peaceful getaway in the great outdoors
HAYWARD, Calif. – The “great outdoors” never closed during the pandemic: The East Bay Regional Park District saw a 30% increase in visitor numbers last year, and interest is still going strong.
Ira Bletz is a manager at Garin Regional Park in Hayward and he has never seen an interest like the one he sees now in his 41 years with the park system.
Many parks are “hidden” in the larger towns in the East Bay, Bletz said, “right off Mission Boulevard, over the hill, you are in the park.”
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San Ramon resident Karen McNamara was recently in Garin for a walk with a good friend. She’s been coming here for years. “I went to high school down the street and there were always parties here in Garin in the ’70s,” McNamara said.
The development of the park district over the past year continues. People continue to new habits, including a deep appreciation for parks and open spaces.
Alameda and Contra Costa counties declared ERBP an “essential service” at the start of the pandemic for the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature.
“It’s just very peaceful and gives us a different perspective on what happened to us last year,” San Ramon’s Verna Lee said of Garin Regional Park, “and it’s a good way to s acclimatize outside our homes “.
There are several new and improved features in the more than 70 district parks and 1,200 miles of regional trails.
Depending on the park, you can go for a picnic, swim, fish, camp, or just take a leisurely stroll. With very little expense or effort, you can spend all day in a park that feels “a million miles away” without hiking too far from home.