By Sierra Club CA
The following is a September 6, 2021 press release from the Sierra Club CA and Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan:
Governor Newsom and Legislature Reach Deal to Save Alameda County Environmental Treasure Tesla Park
The deal between conservationists, the state legislature, championed by Assembly Member Bauer-Kahan and Senator Glazer, the Governor and the California Department of Parks and Recreation will protect Tesla Park and relocate the OHV activity to a more suitable location.
Sacramento, California – Today, a long-awaited agreement was reached with the legislature, governor and California Department of Parks and Recreation to protect the environmentally sensitive and resource-rich Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area (Tesla Park) habitats against the use of off-road vehicles in the field. The deal is the result of years of advocacy by Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), Senator Steven Glazer (D-Orinda), Alameda County and a coalition of groups. environmental issues including the Sierra Club and Friends of Tesla Park.
“The fate of this rich biological and cultural area has been tied for years by the courts, proving to be a drain on state resources and needlessly endangering this unique land. said Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. “We are incredibly grateful that the Governor has recognized the vital importance of Tesla Park, now including it in the continued protection of critical natural resources in California. It has been my great honor to fight alongside Senator Glazer, the Sierra Club, friends of Tesla Park and countless organizations and individuals to ensure that this land will be protected and enjoyed by all the citizens of California.
In the late 1990s, the State Parks Off-Road Motor Vehicle (OHMVR) Recreation Division purchased Tesla Park without a proper acquisition Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or public review. has been carried out. Since then, the Sierra Club California and its partners have strongly opposed opening the area to harmful recreational use for ORVs. The use of motor vehicles was challenged in court, and earlier this year the judge ruled that the EIR was inadequate and state parks had to do it again. In the ruling, the judge ruled that preservation would be the best option for this land.
Assembly Member Bauer-Kahan and Senator Glazer led the legislative struggle to save Tesla Park and jointly drafted five bills over the past few years – which resulted in a broad coalition of environmental leaders, lawmakers, local advocates and community members rallying to protect this land.
The agreement removes Tesla Park from Carnegie State’s vehicular recreation area and makes it an independent park under the authority of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The agreement also prohibits off-road vehicles from accessing land. By protecting these lands, the agreement advances the goals of the October 2020 Governor’s Order in Council to advance efforts to protect biodiversity and conserve 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030. The transfer of funds for the value of land to the State The Fund for off-road vehicles allows the future development of an ORV recreation area elsewhere to a location more suitable for such activities, cementing a “win-win” agreement. For environmentalists as well as off-road vehicle enthusiasts, and avoiding future costly litigation for the state.
“We applaud the decision of the California legislature and administration to preserve the important ecological value and biodiversity of Tesla Park by prohibiting the recreational use of off-road vehicles,” said Brandon Dawson, director of the Sierra Club California. “The Sierra Club California and our local allies have campaigned for decades to protect Tesla Park. This proposal represents a major victory for environmentalists across the state.
“Tesla Park, a jewel in the crown of the mountains surrounding the Tri-Valley, has been saved”, Nancy Rodrigue, a member of the Friends of Tesla Park steering committee and a resident of Livermore, said. “It is an incredible achievement that Tesla Fleet is now protected forever without motorized recreation. The future holds a protected indigenous landscape for Tesla for hikers, history buffs, nature lovers, research and education. Saving Tesla Park has been a long, difficult and now rewarding journey. We are grateful for the tremendous work of so many, including Assembly Member Bauer-Kahan and Senator Glazer, in saving Tesla Park as a legacy for future generations. “
“It’s a win-win for all participants” Senator Glazer said. “Our community and our region can preserve this natural and cultural treasure while off-road enthusiasts will keep their current park and receive funding to develop another park on land more suited to this type of recreation.”
“What a wonderful way to celebrate Labor Day weekend knowing that our magnificent Tesla property is preserved in perpetuity thanks to Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Senator Steve Glazer who work closely with our community to protect this important natural and cultural resource. Special thanks to the Friends of Tesla for their leadership ”, East Bay Regional Park District Director Ayn Wieskamp said.
AB / SB 155, the Natural Resources Budget Trailer Bill, was printed late Sunday evening September 5 and will be voted on by both houses of the Legislative Assembly in the coming days before the end of the legislative year 2021 on Friday, September 10.
Photo credit: Western Sycamores near Corral Hollow Creek in Tesla Park, courtesy of Save Tesla Park.