Tesla historic resources need protection

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This rich array of historic and natural resources can provide a valuable destination for site appropriate recreation and study.�  The qualities of the Tesla Park land provide an unparrelled setting for outdoor environmental and historical education for k-12 schools as well as college and university field research.� The location of the Tesla Park land between the Tri-Valley region of Alameda County and western San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties allows it to serve these growing metropolitan areas where few current natural, information pills
historic or low-impact recreation options exist, hospital especially for the Central Valley. The State Parks Department has identified the goal to improve recreational opportunities for underserved Central Valley residents.�  Tesla Park directly meets this objective and� can literally be a geographic recreational bridge between the Tri-Valley region of Alameda County and the Central Valley. East Bay Regional Parks has recognized the important potential of the Tesla Park land and identified it as an area of interest.

Tesla Mt. D vista

Because of unique range of historical, here
cultural, geographic, habitat and biological resources contained in Tesla Park, and the destructive impacts of Off -Highway Motor Vehicle (OHMV) use, including at the adjacent Carnegie (State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), Friends of Tesla Park is working� to develop Tesla� Park separate from Carnegie SVRA with no off-highway motor vehicle use. Some of the features that Tesla Park could include that can be designed to protect and preserve the landscape are:

  • Preservation and interpretive development of the historic Tesla town site andÃ? the surrounding village sites andÃ? minesÃ? 
  • Hiking trail system and interpretive development throughout park to historical sites, Native American cultural sites, wildlife/plant viewing, and scenic routes
  • East-West link to other East Bay and San Joaquin Valley trails between the Bay Area an Central ValleyÃ? 
  • Dedicated preserves for rare and endangered wildlife and plants
  • Picnic sites
  • Controlled bicycle and equestrian trails, includingÃ? bike and equestrian route links between Livermore Valley and San Joaquin Valley

There are various models for the the management and operation of Tesla Park, for example: operate as a traditional non-OHMV State park; operate as a State park managed by East Bay Regional Parks; transfer to East Bay Regional Parks or other regional authority for management and operation.�  Development of the park under any alternative� operational and management scenario will take time given limited budget resources.�  But the Tesla Park land is already public land owned by the State and under the control of the the State Parks department.�  The first step to making Tesla Park become a reality� is� to redesignate its intended use from a Off-Highway Motor Vehicle site to a low impact non-OHMV park and preserve.�  Then the� long term process to� build public and private support to develop the park land for appropriate use can begin.� 

This is a great opportunity for our communities.�  We must first protect and preserve the Tesla Park land; then we can begin the process to establish the appropriate use and management plan that ensures this unique and special� landscape is protected for for all and furture generations.� 

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CASSP training set for December 5-6, visit

By Dan Mosier

State laws (California Environmental Quality Act and California Public Resources Codes) mandate that prehistoric and historic resources on public land must not be disturbed, cheapest
destroyed, or removed. The historic resources on the Alameda-Tesla expansion property of the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area are supposed to be protected by these laws. But no laws can actually protect historic sites without continued monitoring and enforcement.

An effort to protect historic resources on public land in California is being conducted by the California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program (CASSP). This program was established in 1999 by the Society for California Archaeology to increase and promote protection of archaeological and historical sites through site monitoring, education, research, and public awareness. Since its inception, CASSP has trained over 600 volunteers who help to monitor over 125 sites throughout California.Tesla Overview

CASSP partners with archaeologists, public land management agencies, Native Americans, and citizen volunteers. The archaeologists who work for public land management agencies do not have the time or resources to monitor all of the sites on their lands. Through CASSP, archaeologists supervise the site stewards, who act as additional eyes and ears in the field. Citizen volunteers become site stewards through two-day training workshops offered by CASSP. Site stewards commit to making regular visits to their assigned sites to note changes, inspect for damages, and report vandalism and trespassers. They do not have any law enforcement responsibilities. But when a problem is caught at an early stage, then the agency can take action to repair it and prevent additional loss, before it becomes more serious and expensive.

Archaeologist Phil Hines (now retired) implemented CASSP in 2003 to help monitor the prehistoric and historic sites on the Alameda-Tesla expansion property. From 2002 to 2003, Hines and his crew recorded all of the prehistoric and historic sites on the property. Then in September 2003, Hines asked Beth and Chris Padon of CASSP to conduct a training workshop at Tesla. This spawned six new site stewards for the Tesla property. A second CASSP workshop held at Tesla in December of that year, brought over a dozen site stewards to help Hines conduct archaeology at one of the sites. Here, site stewards enjoyed the opportunity to learn the hands-on techniques of the archaeological excavations and recordings.

Site stewards have since reported on several acts of vandalisms, including lootings, dumpings, and graffiti, as well as trespassing. The rangers at Carnegie Park respond when notified of trespassers on the property. Damage by looters have been repaired by rangers and volunteers. Fences have been installed around sensitive historic sites that were exposed to damage.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer site steward for CASSP can register for future training workshops by contacting Beth Padon at [email protected]. The next training workshop will be held on December 5-6, 2009, in Sacramento with fieldwork at Tesla. The fee is $25 per person. For more information about CASSP, visit their website at www.cassp.org. This is a great opportunity to join those who are serious about protecting historic resources while learning about their history.

Dan Mosier is a local historian who has written several books and articles about Tesla and Carnegie.