The California Department of Parks and Recreation has issued a strange complaint against East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), charging in an August 21 letter that it is improperly trying to assert ownership of state property.

EBRPD is doing no such thing.

The property is a quiet, 3,400 acre nature site called Tesla on the eastern Alameda County border that the state would like to turn into an off-road vehicle park.

EBRPD is responsibly taking a professional interest in a potential recreation site, as it does with other places in its jurisdiction that may someday be public parks. Its master plan clearly points out that Tesla is state property.

The conservationist group, Friends of Tesla Park, suspects that the State is trying to divert attention from the destruction it knows its off-road plans would bring to Tesla’s rare and endangered plants, wildlife corridor and Native American historical treasure. The State should have conducted thorough environmental reviews when it bought the land, but it did not. Now it wants to ram through a plan that permits off-road activities with only details remaining to be decided.

We urge the East Bay Regional Park District to continue to take an interest in Tesla. It’s a site that needs protection. The California Department of Parks and Recreation shows no signs of providing it.