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Point Molate Beach Park Opens After Long Closure

by on October 14, 2013

Beachgoers enjoy clear skies and warm weather at the reopened Point Molate Beach Park. Photo courtesy Bruce Beyaert

Point Molate Beach Park reopened at sunrise Monday morning after being closed for more than a decade due to budget woes.

The 11-acre park, stretching along a third of a mile of Richmond’s shoreline, provides boastworthy views of Mt. Tamalpais, the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge and San Francisco. It has remained relatively unchanged since it closed in 2001, and volunteer groups have worked to clean up the park, which until Monday had been blocked by a chain link fence.

After the Richmond City Council decided this March to reopen the park, the Richmond Public Works Department installed new picnic tables and barbecues, in addition to a wheelchair-accessible path, picnic area and parking lot. The city also added a portable restroom, while it looks for funding for a permanent facility.

Down the line, the city will tackle bigger problems the park faces, including shoreline erosion. There’s also the possibility of designating a swimming area or kayak launch facility and an interpretive program featuring the site’s ecological history, according to a city staff report from February. Such large-scale improvements are funding-dependent.

Beachgoers can only access the park by car, since there are no pedestrian or bicycle access points to the site yet. The city and the East Bay Regional Park District have plans for a Bay Trail linkage from Point Molate to the rest of the Point San Pablo Peninsula, according to the Trails for Richmond Action Committee.

The park lies just north of I-580 and the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge on Western Drive.

Further up the road, you’ll find the rest of the now-abandoned Point Molate Naval Fuel Depot complex, including naval personnel homes, administration buildings and the castle-like red brick Winehaven.

In the 1930s, the park was privately owned and undeveloped, but was a popular recreation site for Richmond residents. During World War II, the park was part of an active naval base, and the water was covered in a layer of oil. The U.S. Navy developed and maintained the area until the late 1960s, until the city leased the park for $1/year.

Point Molate Beach Park is now open sunrise to sunset.

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Dawn on October 14th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Beautiful. Are dogs allowed?

Eric Simons on October 15th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Hi Dawn – Dogs are allowed on-leash. Hope you enjoy the beach!

kristen mariposa! on October 15th, 2013 at 12:47 am

Yay!!! This place was a favorite spot of mine back in the late 90s when they held Sunset Day Parties. I hadn’t been there in years until about 2 years ago and I didn’t recognize it at first. It was all fenced in and weeds had overgrown in the cracks of the parking lot pavement. I still have the visual in my head of how it looked back in 1997. I was so sad to see it in its forgotten neglected state. This makes me very happy!!! I can’t wait to return.

Pam on October 16th, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Dogs are allowed on leash.

Deb Self, San Francisco Baykeeper on October 24th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I just wanted to mention that Baykeeper and our volunteers cleaned up 96 tons of debris (including large, toxic creosote-soaked wood pilings) from the Point Molate Beach this summer, enabling the park to open. You can read more here: http://baykeeper.org/featured/point-molate-beach-park-reopens-after-baykeeper-toxic-debris-cleanup

Marvette Baker on November 18th, 2013 at 11:51 am

*****Five Stars to Deb Self and Baykeeper! Way back before Point Molate was closed, we used to have picnics and barbecues in the summer. I often took my yellow lab, Milo, there for a swim. He went to work with me, at a law office in San Rafael, and when the weather was hot, we would stop at Point Molate on the way home so he could go for a swim. I’m so happy to know Point Molate has reopened, and, when I get another dog, he will be able to enjoy swimming and watching the birds there!

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