A Livermore citizens group called Friends of Tesla Park has formed to preserve the rich, abundant resources of a 3,000 acre site some 10 miles east of Livermore on Corral Hollow Road.

The site is called Tesla (Alameda-Tesla in state documents) for the historic town that once thrived there. Tesla is a wildlife corridor and a place of scenic beauty. It houses Native American artifacts as well as rare plant and animal species. Active protection is needed because a little known branch of the California Parks Department wants to turn it into an off-road vehicle park. Tesla is owned by the state. The Department’s Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division has accumulated $20 million, mostly from gasoline taxes, for the project. This is the same Parks Department that is so short of funds that it has to close dozens of existing parks and shut down public education programs.

Anyone who has driven out Corral Hollow Road has seen the devastated Carnegie landscape left by the off-roaders. Rutted hillsides look like moonscapes. The same fate awaits Tesla if plans for off-roading move forward. State environmental restrictions have kept this from happening so far, and must continue to do so. Friends of Tesla Park deserves our support in its effort to find a healthy future for the site, perhaps under the management of East Bay Regional Park District. We encourage readers to attend the public hearing to provide input on what should be studied as part of the environmental review. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. next Monday, May 21, at Doubletree Inn in Livermore, where the general plan for the site will be discussed.