Finding Aid to the Contra Costa Park Council records, 1951-1986

Bancroft Library Staff
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 2012
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Contra Costa Park Council records, 1951-1986

Collection number: BANC MSS 82/37 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Finding Aid Author(s):
Bancroft Library Staff
Date Completed:
Finding Aid Encoded By:
© 2012 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Contra Costa Park Council records
Date (inclusive): 1951-1986
Collection Number: BANC MSS 82/37 c
Creator: Contra Costa Park Council
Extent: 5 cartons, 1 oversize folder (6.25 linear feet)
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: Records of the Contra Costa Park Council, a citizens’ group formed in 1951 to promote active use of park land and preserve open space in Contra Costa County as well as around the Bay Area. The collection documents the Council’s collaboration with conservation organizations, planning officials, and lawmakers at the city, county, and state level.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English.
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: 
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Contra Costa Park Council records, BANC MSS 82/37 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Alternate Forms Available

There are no alternate forms of this collection.

Related Material

Related collection: Florence Klinger papers (BANC MSS 82/105 c).

Separated Material

Photographs transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1982.033--PIC).

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog:
Contra Costa Park Council -- Archives
Conservation of natural resources -- California -- Contra Costa County
Land use -- California -- Contra Costa County -- Planning
Open spaces -- California -- Contra Costa County -- Planning
Open spaces -- California -- East Bay -- Planning
Parks -- California -- Contra Costa County
Parks -- California -- Contra Costa County -- Planning
Parks -- California -- East Bay
Parks -- California -- East Bay -- Planning
Regional planning -- California -- Contra Costa County
Regional planning -- California -- East Bay
East Bay Regional Park District (Calif.)
East Bay Regional Park District (Calif.) -- Planning

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Contra Costa Park Council records were given to the Bancroft Library by Susan Watson and Mary Burton in 1981 and 2004.


No additions are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Maria Gould in 2012.

Biographical Information

The Contra Costa Park Council (formerly the Contra Costa Park and Recreation Council) was established in 1951 as a citizens’ group devoted to addressing the creation and preservation of recreation areas in the county. At the time of the Council’s founding, the county was estimated to be home to only one square mile of public park land. Parks, in fact, were not a county responsibility. The Council’s initial activities included recruiting members and launching public information campaigns with the aim of convincing the county government to assume this responsibility: these efforts resulted in county officials’ decision to sanction a park system that would be governed by a county Park Commission (later the Contra Costa Recreation and Natural Resources Commission). In 1964, the Council successfully pushed forward an initiative to annex the county’s parks system to the East Bay Regional Park District, which would help to give the county’s parks a stable funding source and more secure future.
At this time, the Council began taking action on park and recreation initiatives that extended beyond the county, advocating for a comprehensive platform of regional land conservation. These initiatives were shaped by the increasing urbanization and suburbanization of the Bay Area, which threatened to encroach upon the areas the Council had fought to preserve. In these efforts, the Council aligned with other established or newly-formed conservation and planning groups (Sierra Club, People for Open Space, Association of Bay Area Governments). Together, they collected data, carried out surveys, and lobbied local and state lawmakers to preserve the region’s existing parks network and to create new areas as well. Chief among these participants were Susan Watson and Alvin Burton, who at different times each served as President of the Council. Both active within the Council and within the planning community at large for several decades, Watson and Burton were at the forefront of a dedicated citizen movement to redefine questions of land use and wilderness in a rapidly changing urban landscape. Nearly thirty years after its creation, the Council began to reexamine its purpose and in 1980 determined that, having accomplished its intended goals, it was time to cede its work to other groups: the Council’s legal status was shifted to the auspices of the nascent Contra Costa Corridor Parks Committee, and the organization’s remaining assets were transferred to sister group Save Mount Diablo, which had emerged during the struggle over commercial development on the mountain’s north peak. The East Bay Regional Park District would continue to serve as steward of Contra Costa County’s parks.

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection consists of administrative records specific to the operations of the Contra Costa Park Council as well as documents pertaining to planning efforts and parks projects led by other local groups and organizations, often carried out with the Council’s collaboration. Spanning over three decades of activity, from 1951 to 1986, the records offer glimpses of significant changes taking place in the Bay Area during this time, from the development of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system to the expansion of the multi-county East Bay Regional Park District. Meeting minutes, policy resolutions, and master plans indicate the breadth of planning activity that took place and underscore the delicate balance—and conflicting priorities—between maximizing the natural advantages of the Bay Area and accommodating the region’s rapid growth. Two important debates over open space in the 1970s are covered in extensive detail: the disputed north peak of Mount Diablo and the freeway extension known as the “Gateway” proposal. These debates are accessible through environmental impact reports, legislative memos, meeting notes, maps, and clippings.


Series 1: Administrative Records, 1951-1981

Physical Description: carton 1; carton 2, folder 1-17


Alphabetical by Council function or type of material.

Scope and Content of Collection

Operations of the Contra Costa Park Council, including meeting agendas and minutes, newsletters and announcements, membership lists, committee assignments, financial records, correspondence, and clippings.
Carton 1, Folder 1-15

Administration, general, 1951-1980

Carton 1, Folder 16-20

Board of directors, 1952-1974

Carton 1, Folder 21-22

Clippings, 1951-1980

Carton 1, Folder 23-35

Committees, 1951-1974

Carton 1, Folder 36-40, Carton 2, Folder 1-4

Contra Costa County administration, 1954-1973

Carton 2, Folder 5-10

Correspondence, 1954-1981

Carton 2, Folder 11-17

Financial records, 1955-1980


Series 2: Planning and Projects, 1954-1986

Physical Description: carton 2, folder 18-36; carton 3-5; oversize folder 1


Alphabetical by planning location, project name, or agency.

Scope and Content of Collection

Environmental impact reports, master plans, draft resolutions, meeting agendas and minutes, legislative memos and policy briefs, and clippings.
Carton 2, Folder 18

Alhambra Valley, 1978

Carton 2, Folder 19

Antioch, 1969

Carton 2, Folder 20

Arroyo del Cerro, 1975

Carton 2, Folder 21-24

Association of Bay Area Governments, 1971-1973

Carton 2, Folder 25

Black Diamond Mines, 1977

Carton 2, Folder 26-27

Briones, 1977

Carton 2, Folder 28

Brooks Island Regional Shoreline, 1973-1976

Carton 2, Folder 29

Chabot Regional Park, 1976-1977

Carton 2, Folder 30

Claremont Canyon Park, 1973

Carton 2, Folder 31

Coal Mines Regional Park, 1971

Carton 2, Folder 32-34

Contra Costa County planning, 1959-1965

Carton 2, Folder 35

Contra Loma Regional Park, 1974-1975

Carton 2, Folder 36

Cowell, 1957

Carton 3, Folder 1

Coyote Hills Regional Park, 1968

Carton 3, Folder 2

Cull Canyon, 1968

Carton 3, Folder 3

Don Castro, 1964

Carton 3, Folder 4-26, oversize-folder 1

East Bay Regional Park District, 1966-1976

Carton 3, Folder 27

Garin Regional Park, 1973

Carton 3, Folder 28-38, oversize-folder 1

Gateway, 1970-1977

Carton 4, Folder 1

Hayden Park, 1954-1958

Carton 4, Folder 2

Highway 680, 1967

Carton 4, Folder 3

Historic sites, 1973

Carton 4, Folder 4-5, oversize-folder 1

Huckleberry, 1970-1973

Carton 4, Folder 6

Kennedy Grove, 1968

Carton 4, Folder 7

Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail, 1977

Carton 4, Folder 8

Lake Del Valle, 1971-1975

Carton 4, Folder 9-15

Las Trampas, 1965-1977

Carton 4, Folder 16

League of Women Voters Bay Area, 1971-1974

Carton 4, Folder 17

Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 1973

Carton 4, Folder 18

Moraga, 1970-1977

Carton 4, Folder 19

Morgan Territory, 1971-1975

Carton 4, Folder 20-36, oversize-folder 1

Mount Diablo, 1976-1986

Carton 4, Folder 37-38

Nortonville, 1964-1971

Carton 4, Folder 39-41, oversize-folder 1

Parks, general, 1969-1972

Carton 4, Folder 42-52

People for Open Space, 1971-1977

Carton 5, Folder 1

Point Pinole, 1973

Carton 5, Folder 2

Redwood Canyon, 1956-1958

Carton 5, Folder 3

Redwood Regional Park, 1974

Carton 5, Folder 4

San Leandro Bay, 1972

Carton 5, Folder 5

San Pablo Reservoir, 1957

Carton 5, Folder 6

Shadow Cliffs, 1971

Carton 5, Folder 7, oversize-folder 1

Shoreline access, 1976

Carton 5, Folder 8

Shoreline development, 1955

Carton 5, Folder 9

Sibley Regional Park, 1977

Carton 5, Folder 10

Skyline Boulevard, 1973

Carton 5, Folder 11

Small craft harbors, 1956

Carton 5, Folder 12

Sunol Regional Park, 1972-1973

Carton 5, Folder 13

Tilden Regional Park, 1979

Carton 5, Folder 14-20

Trails, 1960-1974

Carton 5, Folder 21-29

Transportation planning, 1958-1975

Carton 5, Folder 30

Wildcat Canyon, 1976