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Over 3,000 acres of East Bay open space to be preserved as state park in $31 million deal

By Joseph Gena, East Bay Times, September 8, 2021

The agreement, which still must be approved by the state Legislature [in the week of September 6], will prevent the property in southeastern Alameda County known by some as ‘Tesla Park’ from becoming an expansion of the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. The recreation area is a haven for 4-wheel drive and dirt bike riders, as well as backcountry campers.

“The deal could end two decades of debate that led to multiple lawsuits in the last five years as environmentalists fought to preserve the land’s sensitive habitat and off-road advocates pushed for the extra space to ride their vehicles.

“Off-road enthusiasts were dealt a setback in January when a judge ruled that the state’s environmental impact report for the off-road expansion plan was invalid, bolstering the position of groups such as Friends of Tesla Park as well as the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, who wanted the Tesla area preserved.

“[Sen. Steve Glazer’s] office said in a statement that scientists have described the Tesla land as a ‘biologically unique habitat’ and a place long considered a ‘sensitive historical site’ by local Native American groups.

“For now, the state will allocate $1 million to California State Parks to determine and map out the best use of the Tesla land.

“Henry Coe State Park in Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties could be a potential location for the off-road park, according to the bill that will go before legislators specifying the deal.”

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