The City of Lafayette, CA wants to pave paradise and turn a half-acre nature oasis, Leigh Creekside Park (LCP), into an upscale, gated playground. Playgrounds are great, but not here. Nine out of ten neighbors and park visitors are opposed; many of them donated money in 1999 to create this quiet city park, to protect trees, the creek and the wildlife habitat.

Proposed plans would cut down trees, rip out modest pathways, excavate into tree roots, install concrete walkways, pour rubber fall-zone mats and erect ~52 ton concrete climbing structure with a bridge to a hunting observation platform, and more.

Environmental concerns include health of trees, the creek and the wildlife habitat. Help protect this pocket of natural beauty in the heart of Lafayette, now, and for future generations. LCP - Let it be.

Leigh Creekside Park is canopied with Cork oaks, Valley oaks, Coast live oaks, Incense cedars, Black walnut, California buckeye, and California bay trees.

Leigh Creekside Park is canopied with Cork oaks, Valley oaks, Coast live oaks, Incense cedars, Black walnut, California buckeye, and California bay trees.

Trees

"The existing park is a valuable asset to the city, given its unique natural features, historic oaks, creek and riparian area. Its location in a quiet neighborhood near downtown that offers respite for the community at large, in a unique peaceful setting."   --Steven Batchelder, Arborist and Forester

Las Trampas Creek runs along the western boundary of Leigh Creekside Park

Las Trampas Creek runs along the western boundary of Leigh Creekside Park

Creeks

"The green riparian areas near the creek are little ribbons of habitat used by migrating birds and a lot of our larger mesopredators, such as the mountain lion, coyotes, and the grey fox."  --Wildlife biologist, James 'Doc' Hale

Celebrating Nature and Art at Leigh Creekside Park, January 2017.

Celebrating Nature and Art at Leigh Creekside Park, January 2017.

People

"Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.... In nature a child finds freedom, fantasy, privacy."

-- Richard Louv, "Last Child in the Woods"

"Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time."

-- Katrina Mayer

 

"The only way to successfully preserve trees is by keeping development well away from trees. Anytime changes occur within critical root zones of established trees, such as soil compaction, root loss, or changes to traditional watering regimes, trees are negatively impacted." -- Steven Batchelder, Arborist and Forester

 

 
Majestic cork oak trees at entrance to Leigh Creekside Park.

Majestic cork oak trees at entrance to Leigh Creekside Park.

Hummingbirds nest in Leigh Creekside Park. (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Hummingbirds nest in Leigh Creekside Park. (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Leigh Creekside Park is habitat for Western Screech Owls, which often nest in tree cavities. (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Leigh Creekside Park is habitat for Western Screech Owls, which often nest in tree cavities. (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Leigh Creekside Park is habitat for "Allen's Hummingbird." The California Audubon Society describes its habitat as "brushy canyons, parks, gardens. Breeds in a variety of semi-open habitats, including open oak woods, streamside groves, well-wooded suburbs, city parks."  (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Leigh Creekside Park is habitat for "Allen's Hummingbird." The California Audubon Society describes its habitat as "brushy canyons, parks, gardens. Breeds in a variety of semi-open habitats, including open oak woods, streamside groves, well-wooded suburbs, city parks."  (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Red-shouldered Hawk, spotted in Leigh Creekside Park during March, is common to riparian habitats.

Red-shouldered Hawk, spotted in Leigh Creekside Park during March, is common to riparian habitats.

Leigh Creekside Park is habitat for the Western Tanager a migratory songbird.                    (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Leigh Creekside Park is habitat for the Western Tanager a migratory songbird.                    (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

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The riparian woodland and upper bank of Las Trampas Creek. 

The riparian woodland and upper bank of Las Trampas Creek. 

Habitat for the Wilson's Warbler includes thickets along Leigh Creekside Park's wooded creek, moist tangles, low shrubs, willows, and alders. (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

Habitat for the Wilson's Warbler includes thickets along Leigh Creekside Park's wooded creek, moist tangles, low shrubs, willows, and alders. (Photo: Beth Branthaver)

"In Lafayette the narrow valleys are laced with streams banded with lush trees which form protective habitats for wildlife. These Riparian Woodlands vary in width and form a tall, dense backdrop to all the lowland areas of the City. "

-- Lafayette's Tree Master Plan

 

The riparian zone extends from the creek into the upper woodland above the creek. With its unique habitat, the riparian vegetation provides forage for wildlife.  Riparian zones are important in ecology, environmental management, and civil engineering because of their role in soil conservation, their habitat biodiversity, and the influence they have on fauna and aquatic ecosystems.  In past years, efforts have been made to restore the riparian woodland of LCP.  Native plants have been re-introduced and invasive species removed.

 

 
A young raccoon fishing in Las Trampas Creek at Leigh Creekside Park, October 2017.  (Photo:  Paul Griffith)

A young raccoon fishing in Las Trampas Creek at Leigh Creekside Park, October 2017.  (Photo:  Paul Griffith)

Las Trampas Creek defines the western border of Leigh Creekside Park.  In September 2017, the water was low, after ~6 months with no rain.

Las Trampas Creek defines the western border of Leigh Creekside Park.  In September 2017, the water was low, after ~6 months with no rain.

The California Red Legged Frog, a threatened species, has lived in Las Trampas Creek and its riparian zone. Las Trampas Creek flows through Leigh Creekside Park. (Photo by Jim 'Doc' Hale)

The California Red Legged Frog, a threatened species, has lived in Las Trampas Creek and its riparian zone. Las Trampas Creek flows through Leigh Creekside Park. (Photo by Jim 'Doc' Hale)

Las Trampas Creek in October after seven months without rain.

Las Trampas Creek in October after seven months without rain.

Native, spring flowers in Leigh Creekside Park.

Native, spring flowers in Leigh Creekside Park.

This riparian woodland, above Las Trampas Creek, is a wildlife corridor. The proposed plans would cut down trees, excavate and compact the soil, pour concrete walkways and cover wide areas with rubberized fall-zone material which would smother tree roots and lead to a spiral of decline.  A >52 ton concrete climbing structure, suspension bridge, hunting observation platform would be built. A double wide spring rocker depicting an upside down pioneer log wagon, an adobe wall with an anvil, cash register, and signs. Playgrounds are fine, but not here!

This riparian woodland, above Las Trampas Creek, is a wildlife corridor. The proposed plans would cut down trees, excavate and compact the soil, pour concrete walkways and cover wide areas with rubberized fall-zone material which would smother tree roots and lead to a spiral of decline.  A >52 ton concrete climbing structure, suspension bridge, hunting observation platform would be built. A double wide spring rocker depicting an upside down pioneer log wagon, an adobe wall with an anvil, cash register, and signs. Playgrounds are fine, but not here!

Spring flowers bloom in Leigh Creekside Park.

Spring flowers bloom in Leigh Creekside Park.

The Western Pond Turtle, a California endangered species, lives in Las Trampas Creek. Habitat preservation at Leigh Creekside Park is important. (Photo by Jim 'Doc' Hale)

The Western Pond Turtle, a California endangered species, lives in Las Trampas Creek. Habitat preservation at Leigh Creekside Park is important. (Photo by Jim 'Doc' Hale)

Riparian area near Las Trampas Creek in Leigh Creekside Park

Riparian area near Las Trampas Creek in Leigh Creekside Park

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

-- Albert Eienstein

 

Playgrounds are nearby, within walking distance, while Leigh Creekside Park offers a different type of recreation. It's the only park of its kind in Lafayette, a "passive neighborhood park" where visitors of all ages and abilities can relax near the creek, explore, listen to birds, run, visit with neighbors, enjoy a picnic or read a book.

 

 
A quiet space for music.

A quiet space for music.

Seniors and people with challenges enjoy this park.

Seniors and people with challenges enjoy this park.

Leigh Creekside Park is a favorite venue for weddings and wedding photos.  Bride and groom with parents, September 23, 2017 .

Leigh Creekside Park is a favorite venue for weddings and wedding photos.  Bride and groom with parents, September 23, 2017 .

Adam and Tasha the dog.

Adam and Tasha the dog.

Picnic in Leigh Creekside Park.

Picnic in Leigh Creekside Park.

Adina and Ryan - board game in the park.

Adina and Ryan - board game in the park.

Heni with grandson, and Bodhi the dog.

Heni with grandson, and Bodhi the dog.

Qigong in the park.

Qigong in the park.

Children rolling a ball in the meadow.

Children rolling a ball in the meadow.

Warren and pet Spencer.

Warren and pet Spencer.

Ryan and Adina -- badminton in the park.

Ryan and Adina -- badminton in the park.

Slacklining in Leigh Creekside Park

Slacklining in Leigh Creekside Park

Ra'Bia and dog Quinci.

Ra'Bia and dog Quinci.

Park visitor, Mike, supports our park motto, LET IT BE on his T-shirt.

Park visitor, Mike, supports our park motto, LET IT BE on his T-shirt.