Homeowners near Mission Peak in Fremont are getting fed up. Visitors to Mission Peak Regional Preserve have gotten so numerous that there is a constant flow of traffic, parking in front of driveways blocks homeowners from leaving, and trash left around the area, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. There are times when as many as 3,000 people will be on the peak, which is meant to accommodate 500 people at the most.
East Bay Regional Park Supervisor Gordon Willey said, “Some days it’s like a rock concert. Ten years ago this was just a quiet little park. But now, with social media, for some reason, it’s just blowing up. Imagine, if you will, you just spent $2 million on a home in this quiet area, and then you find you’re in the middle of the Alameda County Fairgrounds. It can be a very noisy, crowded scene here.”
Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison added, “It’s bad. It’s to the point where people in that neighborhood are trapped in their houses. That park is a tremendous asset to our community, but at this point something has to be done.”
It’s not just the inconvenience for neighbors that is a problem; hikers up the Hidden Valley Trail, a 3-mile hike rising 2,000 feet without much shade or resting spots, often wind up needing paramedics. On busy weekends, paramedics can get up to five calls a day. Animals are another problem; five dogs died of dehydration on Mission Peak last year.
District police Lt. Lance Brede said, “There’s no shade, and no water, and sometimes people overestimate their abilities. They get halfway up and then we get a phone call. It pulls our resources away from other things.”
The peak is near two freeways, with a tremendous view, and boasts a pole at the top marking the end of the journey. Numerous selfies on social media feature hikers standing next to the pole.
District officials have attempted some solutions, including getting more serious about the park curfew and encouraging hikers to visit other trails. In July, they even put up a 15-by-12-foot electronic message board that listed the hours the park was open and warned of citations for violating them. But Brede said that the board was still not enough, asserting, “We had that message board there for seven days, and we still had people disregard the rules.” 500 citations at roughly $300 each were issued in July, as well as 1,000 warnings. The bulk of the citations were for people staying too late to see a full moon or sunrise.
Willey also said that the pole at the summit might be removed.