Madera Campaign

Preserve the El Cerrito Open Space

A campaign to link together El Cerrito’s split-in-two Hillside Nature Areas


The Madera Campaign is complete!

We surpassed our goal of $100,000. Combined with a $250,000 National Park Service Land & Water Grant and the Trust for Public Land’s waiving of their fee, the campaign raise approximately  75% of the total cost of the land. This ensures that more money is left in the city’s share of Measure WW bond money for much needed park maintenance around the city.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed their time and money to achieve this goal. A list of the donors is here.

You may make your tax-deductible donation by either
donating online at

or making out a check to “City of El Cerrito”
with the words “El Cerrito Open Space Fund” in the message line and mail to:
Pam Austin
El Cerrito Open Space Fund Treasurer
834 Kearney Street
El Cerrito 94530

El Cerrito’s Hillside Nature Area is a gem of the East Bay, 90 acres of oak forest, grassland, creeks and  riparian habitat, and an amazing repository of native plants. It provides hikers, strollers, bicyclists, dog walkers, naturalists and bird watchers a true respite in the midst of the urban East Bay.

But is a broken piece of paradise, with its southern and northern areas separated from each other by private land. Only one way remains to bridge our parks – land that one day might be filled with houses – unless we act now.

Join with El Cerrito Trail Trekkers, the El Cerrito High School Mountain Biking Club, Friends of Five Creeks and other co-sponsoring groups to link the two portions of the Hillside Nature Area by buying the only possible natural connection between the two – the eight acre “Madera” property.


What property are we talking about? El Cerrito Open Space is an 8-acre private property just below Madera Circle and just north of the southern portion of the Hillside Nature Area. The price is $475,000. Informal trails currently link the property to the Hillside Nature Area, and a public stairway provides access to the property from Madera Circle. The property extends to Potrero Avenue and would thus link directly to the northern section of the Hillside Nature Area, which is across Potrero Avenue and includes Motorcycle Hill.

Why now? The property recently came on the market, generating interest from El Cerrito residents, including members of the El Cerrito High School Mountain Biking Club and El Cerrito Trail Trekkers. They knew that, over the years, similar properties have filled with houses. So too would this one and with its development we would lose the only possible natural connection between our parks. The City Council agreed, and the national nonprofit Trust for Public Land reached an agreement with the owner. On July 16, the council agreed to proceed with the purchase, initiating this community fundraising effort.

Why are we raising funds? The city hopes to buy the land from the Trust for Public Land by the end of 2014. But for that to happen enough funds must be raised. The City will spend some Measure WW park bond funds but the funds are limited and there are other recreational needs. The City is also applying for state and federal grants.

Still, more funding is needed to purchase the purchase the property and realize the vision of uniting our parks. The El Cerrito Open Space campaign, which includes Trail Trekkers, the mountain bike club, and Five Creeks, has promised the City Council to raise $100,000 from the community. That means – YOU!

And remember, this land will not be saved forever until it is owned by the city.

Why is this land important? Besides linking together the park, creating an unbroken swath of nature in our hills, the property has a creek and valuable habitat, and offers superb views. It would allow Trail Trekkers and the Mountain Biking Club to extend trails linking both parts of the park, creating a much longer route for the public to enjoy, one stretching across the city, accessible to all by foot or bike.

How would this purchase affect the neighborhood? Many neighbors already walk on the property. New trails would enable students to walk to Madera School. The neighborhood is honeycombed with public stairways and other paths, which would link to new trails on the property to provide useful walkways, emergency routes, and opportunity for close to home recreation.

Please join hundreds of other members of the our community to save this Hillside Open Space!

Please consider a tax-deductible contribution at the following levels:

Platinum, $10,000 and above
Diamond, $5,000 to $9,999
Gold, $3,000 to $4,999
Silver, $1,000 to $2,999
Bronze, $500 to $999
Cobalt, $10 to $499


The Open Space campaign will acknowledge donors to the campaign at levels above Cobalt by including their names and logos if desired on a public sign prominently posted in the city; acknowledgements will also be on the city brochure and in campaign literature. Donors at all levels will be acknowledged on the Trail Trekkers website (Here).


For information, contact Gary Hill, 510-681-9096,  or Dave Weinstein, 510-524-1737,

Revised January 21, 2014

Madera Final TPL map 10 23 2013

© 2014 El Cerrito Trail Trekkers Contact