Your favorite park along the Bay was once a dump

April 29, 2013

Imagine going to the San Francisco Bay and finding it choked with trash dumps, raw sewage and industrial pollution. It wasn’t that long ago — a mere 50 years — when the Bay was cesspool of neglect and abuse.

Nowadays, you can still see the remnants of that forgotten age in the form of parks along the shoreline. The Albany Bulb, Baylands Park, Candlestick Point and dozens of other popular spots were converted into parkland along the Bay, with deep thanks to a group of women activists who saw a better future for the shoreline.

Cooley Landing Park in East Palo Alto. Photo: Photo by Jitze Couperus.
Cooley Landing Park in East Palo Alto. Photo: Photo by Jitze Couperus.

The latest: Cooley Landing Park in East Palo Alto, which closed as a dump in 1960 and only reopened as a park in 2012.

Save the Bay, the nonprofit organization they founded in 1961, has put together an interactive map showing the locations of these former-dumps-now-parklands, which have become essential wildlife habitat as well as recreation sites. It’s well worth perusing to get a sense of the history behind the spot where you like to stand and gaze out at the San Francisco Bay.




About the Author

Alison Hawkes was a Bay Nature editor from 2011-2017. Before Bay Nature she worked in journalism for more than a decade as a former newspaper reporter turned radio producer turned web editor with each rendition bringing her closer to her dream of covering environmental issues. She co-founded Way Out West, a site dedicated to covering Bay Area environmental news.