How one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s toughest neighborhoods is creating new recreational, health and economic opportunities for its residents.
Richmond, CA. August 9, 2021 — Getting its name from three railroad tracks that form its boundaries, the Iron Triangle section of Richmond, California, has a reputation for being the “wrong side of the tracks.” Poverty, crime, gangs and pollution have held this community back, depriving its youngest residents of safe places to play.
Over the last 30 years, California’s land conservation community has protected millions of acres of forests, grasslands, rivers and working lands that define the State’s natural grandeur and abundance. It is a remarkable achievement. However, as California’s population becomes increasingly diverse and urban, the need to provide accessible open space and safe places to play in communities like the Iron Triangle has become apparent and urgent. Yet, the traditional approach to conservation is not up to this new challenge—a 2015 report by the California Council of Land Trusts noted that: the state’s land trusts generally do not reflect the demographic make-up of California; existing protected lands are not readily accessible to most Californians; and they do not provide the range of outdoor experiences many Californians seek. In short, we have been challenged to find a new approach to conservation, one that marshals our resources, expertise, and funding to create new parks and open space that meet the needs of urban and other underserved communities.