Two weeks ago, the final link was dedicated in a 44-mile regional trail that runs from Livermore to Fremont. The trail links five parks covering 25,000 acres. It is gentle and easy to navigate in some places, including for the disabled, with a rugged area suited only for the well-conditioned.

The trail’s completion is a tribute to the foresight and planning of many people who had the best future interests of this increasingly urbanized region in mind. Its final link was the 135-foot Edward R. Campbell bridge, a single-span structure in Livermore’s Sycamore Grove Park.

Spearheading completion of the bridge was the Tri-Valley Conservancy. Many agencies and organizations have contributed to the larger trail, from the Sierra Club to Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, East Bay Regional Park District, private companies like Dean Witter and Chevron, Zone 7 – the list goes on. They all deserve our thanks.

More than 150 years ago, in an Atlantic magazine essay, Thoreau wrote that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” A more modest, but still inspirational, version of that message is engraved on a granite slab by the new bridge. It reads in part, “May this foot bridge inspire all of us to take the steps to build bridges, connect paths and preserve the beauty in the Tri-Valley.” Indeed.