A visionary idea inspires grassroots action.
How one man’s vision inspired action around the Bay.
Thirty years ago park visionary William Penn Mott, Jr., who served as Director of the National Park Service as well as East Bay Regional Park and California State Parks, brought forth a big idea. He wanted to unite the ridges encircling the Bay Area into one continuous park with a 550-mile Ridge Trail. Ultimately the vision included connecting the Ridge Trail, and the metropolitan center it served, to the Sierra Nevadas.
In 1987, the Greenbelt Alliance, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the National Park Service as well as citizen advocates came together to help form the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Thanks to their pioneering leadership the Ridge Trail is growing mile by mile.
Trail Progress: The first Ridge Trail segment was dedicated in May 1989. During the first few years, the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council made rapid progress, dedicating 200 miles of existing trail on public lands by 1995. Today, 380 miles are open and ready to explore 80% of which is open to bikes and horses. Bit-by-bit continuous sections are being knit together to provide true thru-hike (or bike, or ride!) opportunities. On our Western Ridge we have an 80-mile stretch from northern Marin to Highway 92 and on our Eastern Ridge we have a 43-mile connected stretch from El Sobrante to Union City. Get your maps out and make a plan!