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November 23, 2004 > A Quarry? Some Lakes?... Or Quarry Lakes?

A Quarry? Some Lakes?... Or Quarry Lakes?

by Karthik Raman

Where is a place, in Fremont, with a lake in it where you can go swimming, fishing, picnicking, and boating? Some might say Central Park, and Lake Elizabeth. That is correct. However, Quarry Lakes is also an answer. Have you heard of it? No?! Well then, we've got some explaining to do! First let's talk about its history...

Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area is part of the East Bay Regional Park District and is an area that is rich in history. Native Americans were the first inhabitants of Quarry Lakes. Then the European settlers came and settled in the part of Quarry Lakes that is presently part of the Coyote Hills Regional Park, also of the East Bay Regional Park district. Quarry Lakes is within two Mexican ranchos and the former Mission San Jose lands. The quarry, after which this area was named, was mined in the mid 19th century. At that time there was no lake, but there were ponds. Eventually the man-made lake was made from the quarry pits. The quarry's gravel, taken from the banks of the Alameda Creek, was used to build the western part of the Transcontinental Railroad. After the quarrying finished, the water was used to replenish the Alameda County Water District.

The East Bay Regional Park and the Water District together acquired the Quarry Lakes area between 1975 and 1992. Construction for the park began in 1997 by the Alameda County Water District. The slopes were flattened to prevent erosion and sedimentation creating a land more suitable for a park. In 2000, the Park District started making recreational facilities which included lawns, picnic areas, a swim beach, changing rooms, a ramp for launching boats and a network of trails for hiking.

The total cost of this project was $5.8 million. The City of Fremont Redevelopement Agency gave a grant of $3.65 million towards this project, and the rest of the money came from the Park District's open space bond measure, Measure AA, which was approved in 1988. The result was a beautiful lake and park (it still is). "The park is considered a recreational park," said Rick Reed, a park ranger. "We have some areas in the park that are set aside for wildlife." The park has a total 450 acres with 350 acres of lakes.

A variety of activities take place each year at Quarry Lakes, making it a very busy park. High school cross country teams use the trails for running races. The swimming complex in the park is open from April to October, and has an entrance fee. Fishing and boating can are permitted. In July, 2004, the California Dragon Boat Association held their first 250 meter race at Quarry Lakes. Dragon boat racing is one of the earliest known forms of boat racing and is celebrated at festivals and races throughout the world. This mythical celebration is a symbol of Chinese culture.

Hiking is a popular activity and the trails connect to the Alameda Creek Regional Trail which goes from the Niles Canyon to the Coyote Hills and Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. The park is open every day of the year. There are some restrictions however; a permit is needed to drink alcohol, dogs must be on leashes and a California Fishing License is required for ages 16 and above. The lakes are used as a recharge, so no boats that run on gas are allowed. There is also a launch fee for boating.

Well, now, I hope you learned something today. Visit this historic and very beautiful park. It is a fascinating place to visit. Admission to the park is $4 per vehicle, $3 per trailer vehicle, buses $1 per person ($50 empty bus and $5 empty commercial transit van). So next time, will you go to Lake Elizabeth or Quarry Lakes? If you have any questions, contact Jim Larrance at (510) 795 4889 or visit www.ebparks.org.

 
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