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In honoring Robert Doyle upon his retirement as the East Bay Regional Park District’s general manager, Contra Costa County supervisors this week praised him for his work to help not only save park land, but to make that land as accessible to as many people as possible.
“You are the entity who would come in and say ‘I can make this (land) accessible,’ make sure the whole community can have access to this,” said Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville. She cited Las Trampas Wilderness Regional Preserve in the hills west of Danville as a prime example of the open spaces preserved for public use.
The park district, comprising nearly 125,000 acres in 73 parks in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and more than 1,250 miles of trails, more than doubled in acreage during Doyle’s 47 years with the district — the last 10 of those years as its general manager.
Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood said Doyle was, since his teen years, an activist for preserving land, and later evolved into a statesman in helping negotiate for land acquisition.
Those lands aren’t all in the more spacious agricultural lands of East and Central Contra Costa County.
“You have done so much to make the parks accessible to people in urban areas like West Contra Costa and Richmond,” Supervisor John Gioia said at Tuesday’s regular Board of Supervisors meeting. Gioia held up a photo of what he said is his favorite EBRPD park land, Nicholl Knob near the Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline in West Contra Costa.
Doyle, a Walnut Creek resident who retired at the end of December, said those park lands in Contra Costa and Alameda counties are especially important now, with the COVID-19 pandemic closing down so many venues for recreation and entertainment. He said he hopes a Peace Conference Center can one day soon be built as part of the redevelopment of the Concord Naval Weapons Station land, in conjunction with the National Park Service.