Stretching 8.5 miles from the city of Richmond to the Bay Bridge, McLaughlin Eastshore State Park parallels one of the busiest highway segments in America. McLaughlin is a narrow strip of tidelands and uplands tucked between I-80 and the San Francisco Bay.
It is this bayside location, paired with strong Pacific winds, that draws sailors, kiteboarders and windsurfers in droves. A free, 3000-foot fishing pier operated by the City of Berkeley is located at the Berkeley Marina, and fishing licenses are not required.
A few rocky beaches and public picnic areas dot the shoreline, but high winds often make for a misty picnic. Presently, fractured trails make their way around the various marinas and grassy areas. Plans to complete the Bay Trail will eventually connect the entire park for runners and cyclists.
Restoration of wetlands along the shoreline is ongoing, and the California State Park and Recreation Commission is working to acquire additional lots of land to create one, continuous shoreline park.
The Park’s namesake, Sylvia McLaughlin, led the charge against filling the bay in the 1960s along with fellow Berkeley activists Kay Kerr and Esther Gulick. Save the Bay members were able to stem the tide of coastal dumping, which had already reduced the size of the bay by a third and was projected to leave nothing but a narrow shipping channel by present day.
Today, a wealth of sea birds, including pelicans and snowy egrets, call the shoreline’s wetlands home. Thanks to the persistence of Save the Bay, McLaughlin Eastshore State Park and the San Francisco Bay are returning to good health and will be here for generations to come.