This weekend, the Oakland Heritage Alliance offers a first-ever walking tour through Shepherd Canyon. When the trains stopped running, decades ago, the State considered and abandoned highway development plans. It’s time to imagine what might have been, and to appreciate how long-term, low-impact plans came true.
In 1975, the City of Oakland prepared the first Shepherd Canyon Corridor Plan and Environment Impact Report. The documents covered a wide range of development and criteria for the canyon. Some 12.6 acres were set aside for the Railroad Trail, along with another 5.4 acres allocated to the Shepherd Creek Trail. There’s been slow, but steady, restoration progress since then.
Mother Nature has pushed projects along this year, especially to improve driving and walking conditions. In 2011, the City has been installing necessary storm drains along with guard rails. Some openings in the rails, for walker access, are getting cut soon. Even with budget crunches, Oakland’s Measure B made this nearly three-quarter million spend possible.
The Shepherd Canyon Park and trails have come alive through local volunteers, like all of our Montclair nature-scapes. Beyond the actively used soccer play fields, there have been efforts to remove trash, clear brush, build benches, install signs and create welcome gates. The trails are (always) a work-in-progress, yet are very nice already.
The Oakland Heritage Alliance (OHA) has awarded Shepherd Canyon with a Partners In Preservation award, especially for its interpretative signs and improvements. For their Saturday tour, they have asked Mike Petouhoff to lead a two-hour tour on the trails. As Shepherd Canyon Homeowner Association (SCHA) president, Mike is our resident expert on all-things Shepherd Canyon — and you’re guaranteed to learn a lot!
More info: The Shepherd Canyon walking tour takes off from the Montclair Recreation Center (map). You will need comfortable walking shoes, though it’s not a difficult trek. This tour runs from 10 am-noon, and may end up with a lingering lunch in the Village. Please show up a few minutes early to register. As an OHA benefit, donations are requested: $15/non-members; $10/members; $5/kids; free/kids under 10 years old.