Cesar Chavez Park is Berkeley’s largest and arguably its most neglected park. Visitors regularly remark on the scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, but also on the lack of civilized restrooms, the unmaintained trails, loose dogs everywhere, and rampant weeds.
Part of the blame for these shortcomings rests on the absence of any organized park user group that cares about the park as a whole — the whole 90 acres.
The Chavez Park Conservancy works to preserve all that is good about the park, all that is in the public interest, and all that serves to fulfill the motto “Parks make life better.” At the same time, the Conservancy works to achieve improvements where clearly needed. Our vision includes the following points, not necessarily in order of priority or timing.
• Protect the park as a tobacco-free, cannabis-free, vape-free, alcohol-free environment freely accessible to the disabled.
• Provide a welcoming and protected environment for visiting Burrowing Owls.
• Protect and promote understanding of the Cesar Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar and its future development.
• Restore the forested grove on the west side, the project of native plant pioneer Charli Danielsen, by improving trails, removing invasives, installing benches, and other upgrades.
• Maintain the Peace Symbol on the northwest hilltop of the park.
• Replace all porta-potties in the park with permanent flush-toilet and handwashing restrooms.
• Create a children’s playground in the park, as soon as there are decent restrooms.
• Assist responsible dog owners to obtain a better, safer park experience by fencing and/or relocating the dog park, providing separate spaces for small and big dogs, and adding other dog-friendly features.
• Support Park management to maintain the grounds in a way that preserves bird nests during breeding season, protects beneficial vegetation, and minimizes noxious weeds.
• Encourage teachers to bring their classes to enjoy the park and learn about its attractions.
• Organize events such as music days, art shows, photo contests and the like that provide park visitors with a vibrant, creative experience.
• Foster appreciation and respect for the park through media and personal outreach.
• Support landfill engineers and environmentalists in closing the flare station with its greenhouse gas emissions as soon as practical and lawful.
• Develop and train a group of volunteers to act as Park Stewards who will provide park visitors with information on park opportunities, features and regulations.
If this resonates with you, become a Conservancy Member.