Last month, we posted a news item on our Facebook page about the Oakland Zoo. See here for the posting: https://www.facebook.com/EastBayDaily/posts/164745393718040
We made a Facebook connection with Elise R. Bernstein who commented on the posting but started a discussion about the Oakland Zoo’s apparent expansion plans. Ms. Bernstein is a proponent of Knowland Park and is opposed to the zoo’s expansion because she believes expansion will harm the wildlife.
Ms. Bernstein was reasonable in her arguments, invited us to visit Knowland Park and even graciously offered a guided tour.
We ended up visiting Knowland park on our own. Here are our pictures of Knowland Park which is in the hills of Oakland, California:
At the risk of losing Ms. Bernstein as a Facebook “friend”, we must say that Knowland Park is in dire need of development or at least a dramatic restoration.
We found Knowland Park to be a barren wasteland with not much wildlife.
This was not what we expected when we visited, so we were quite disappointed with this difficult to access “park”. No parking, restrooms etc.
However if you take a look at the pictures, the true value of Knowland Park is in its beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay Area! From Knowland Park we could see Oakland and even San Francisco. We saw the Oakland airport on the clear Saturday of our visit.
Once we reflected on this, we tend to now believe that the residents of the surrounding community would not want their views obstructed by zoo or any other development for that matter. The zoo would probably present some unique challenges for the residents because any reasonable family that paid for such great views from their backyard would probably not want to smell the stench of elephant dung during dinner. And we are sure that the noise from caged wildlife could be problematic.
So this is a difficult situation for the homeowners whose home values could be affected as a result of zoo expansion. But it would be a huge boost for the zoo as they upscale their visitor base.
To say that an expansion into Knowland Park would elevate the Zoo to a prime time venue is an understatement.
To say that any development of Knowland would endanger wildlife is an overstatement. There simply is nothing there. Knowland, no water, no squirrels, no foxes and definitely no snakes.
Only one skittish deer passing by and two or three small lizards with no place to hide…
With all this said, we are not advocating the expansion of the Oakland Zoo as their board of directors seem to not have garnered the support of the surrounding community. Certainly zoo officials should open up dialog and propose an expansion plan that solicits the input of area residents. This process may have been started already, but according to Ms. Bernstein, consensus was achieved many years ago and the new plans do not match today’s reality.
In all fairness to the proponents of SaveKnowland, Knowland Park was probably razed of any vegetation in order to avoid fire hazards. East Bay area residents know, all too well, about the devastating fires of years past in the Oakland Hills.
And the residents who may want to preserve their luxurious views, certainly do not want wildfires destroying their homes. Open spaces like Knowland Park certainly could use development or at least some green restoration. But as it stands right now, it is quite unattractive and not adequately suited for visitation by humans… and apparently wildlife.
Here is a link to the Save Knowland website: http://www.saveknowland.org/
All the best to the residents of the area surrounding Knowland Park. We like it when true environmentalists slay money hungry goliaths.