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Keep Eastshore natural, play baseball in town

- Jonna Anderson
Friday May 17, 2002

To the Editor: 

I was disappointed to read the recent spate of letters regarding ball fields in the new Eastshore State Park. I think that most people would agree that youth sports are a benefit to the community and that sufficient playing fields are needed. However, it does not follow that every available piece of land should be made into a ball field. Nor does it imply that anyone who opposes turning a particular piece of land into a ball field is an "eco-bully." 

The effort to make Eastshore State Park meet the needs of young ballplayers is an effort to turn a good thing of one kind into a poor thing of another kind. The Berkeley and Albany shoreline are among only a few remaining stretches of undeveloped shoreline in the East Bay. They provide precious habitat for many birds, fish, and other creatures that Berkeley residents would otherwise have to travel far to observe. 

They also provide for the kind of unstructured outdoor recreation that benefits people of all ages. The shoreline is great as a nature park. As a park full of ball diamonds, it’s windy and exposed, and it will never have enough parking (unless the rest of the park is paved over for the lot). It doesn’t make sense to ruin acres of potential habitat to create ball fields. 

Ball field supporters also ignore the fact that Eastshore is a state park, not a local or regional one. As such, it is charged with developing recreation opportunities that serve the needs of a wide range of state residents, not only those that live in Berkeley and will be able to make use of it for Little League games. No other state parks provide ball fields. A state park that preserves scarce Bay habitat is not the place to make an exception. 

Instead, Berkeley and Albany need to do what other cities do without the help of state parks, and provide enough municipal playing fields. 

- Jonna Anderson