Bruce Beyaert does not take “no” for an answer. Bruce Beyaert is persistent. Bruce Beyaert is Mr. Bay Trail in Richmond. Bruce founded TRAC, Trails for Richmond Action Committee, in 1999 when only twelve miles of Bay Trail existed in Richmond. Today, as a result of Bruce and his organization’s efforts, Richmond boasts thirty-one miles of Bay Trail and they are not done yet. Bruce is a recipient of the Bay Area 2010 Cox Conserves Hero award and the Bob Walker Bay Area Open Space Award from the Bay Area Open Space Council. He is also a Director for ABAG’s Bay Trail Project, a member of the Advisory Committee to EBRPD’s Board of Directors and served nine years on the Board of Directors of Save the Bay and was Chevron’s Manager of Environmental Planning worldwide.
What I am trying to get across here is that we were in very good hands out there today. By “we” I mean fellow Bay Trail trekkers, Anne Ronquillo, Neil Vongseni and John Conroy who came out and joined me for the full ten miles between Point Pinole and Point Richmond. With our guide leading the way we were treated to an inside track on the Bay Trail between Point Pinole and the Richmond Parkway which is not yet complete. This was truly special since none of us could have pulled this off without our guide and, in the process, we became the first to travel the entire Bay Trail section from Point Pinole to Point Richmond.
Not only was he our guide, he was also our resident historian and stopped many times along the way to explain how the trail here came to existence with multiple entities and individuals stepping up and, as he put it, “doing the right thing”. As a result, the residents of Richmond now have access to a shoreline in their community that was previously inaccessible. This is especially true in the case of the Wildcat Marsh and Landfill Loop Trail where cooperation from the West County Landfill and the neighboring Treatment Plan was necessary to complete these sections.
The image above was captured along a section of planned Bay Trail that Bruce guided us through and, to me, symbolizes how our parks and open spaces draw all types of people from vastly different backgrounds to their trails, beaches and mountains. Tomorrow I have the pleasure of Bruce’s guidance once again as we finish our trek through Richmond, this time starting at The Plunge in point Richmond and finishing at Point Isabel, roughly ten miles of Bay Trail later. On that note I am going to wrap up and try to get in more than six hours of sleep which will be a first for me since I began my odyssey! But not before once again, thanking Bruce, Anne, Niel and John for joining me today.
To learn more about TRAC and see how you can organize a similar effort in your area, please visit http://www.pointrichmond.com/baytrail/