Sightems: Red Rock

Red Rock Island

On a clear day you can see the Richmond-San Rafael bridge from the northwest corner of the park and, in front of the bridge, Red Rock Island. (The pier structure in the foreground is the historic railroad/ferry pier extending from the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline.) Red Rock is divided like a cookie between three counties: San Francisco, Marin, and Contra Costa. It’s also unique as the only privately owned island in San Francisco Bay. There are some small beaches at its feet, but no pathways up to the top; this can be reached only by helicopter. Russian fur traders used it as a depot for killing sea otters in the early 1800s. A hunter, Selim Woodworth, set up a log cabin there and tried unsuccessfully to claim it as a homestead in about 1850. Apart from Woodworth, it has had no inhabitants. The red color comes from manganese oxide, and manganese mining went on there in the 1860s. The rock material, schist, was also mined for road building. In 1964, David Glickman, a San Francisco lawyer, somehow acquired title to it, intending to flatten the top and set up a casino-hotel complex. That came to nothing, and the title passed to his partner, Brock Durning, and his descendants, where it remains. The island is rich in wildlife, and the East Bay Regional Park District tried to buy it in 2010 for six figures, but the owners’ lowest asking price was $5 million. The rock appears safe from development, as the planning departments of three counties would have to approve. The beaches around the rock remain an occasional destination for kayakers.

More: Wikipedia NY Times Treve KHSU

Chavez Park to Red Rock Island: distance 6.98 miles direct line (Google Earth photo)
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