Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate is a Blue Frontier project that defeated plans for a mega-casino on a natural 422-acre headlands in Richmond California and now works on public access, restoration and educational field trips for local youths.
Blue Frontier Campaign is working to Restore and Protect Point Molate in Richmond California on San Francisco Bay.
A short video on Point Molate produced by UC Berkeley Journalism students.
Richmond, California includes 422 acres of green space and submerged eel grass meadows known as Point Molate, facing San Francisco Bay. For years, the city council planned to sell this land to a private company for a Mega-Casino development with high-rise parking and 4,000 slot machines; it would have been the biggest gambling site west of Las Vegas.
Point Molate is an example of the resilience of nature left unpaved, rapidly reclaiming its terrestrial area as hilly coastal grassland. It is range-managed by mule deer, coyote and wild turkey with colossal Toyons – Christmas Berry shrubs – live oaks, federally protected Suisun Marsh Aster, native Molate Blue Fescue (a unique local bunchgrass horticulturists have bred for landscaping), coyote brush, wild mint, Dutchman’s pipe vine and its rarely seen companion, the pipe vine swallowtail butterfly. Point Molate could be the third emerald jewel of Bay-facing green parks, along with the Presidio of San Francisco and Fort Baker in Marin.
To help fight the casino plan and work on a better future for Richmond, Blue Frontier supports a local volunteer seaweed group, Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate (CFSPM).
After years of promises unrealized, support for the mega-casino shifted from 5-2 to 4-3 council members. Finally they agreed to put a non-binding referendum, titled Measure U on the November 2010 election ballot that for the first time would let the citizens of Richmond vote on whether they supported a casino complex on their undeveloped waterfront.
When the people finally got their say they rejected the pro-casino Measure U. in November 2010 (see Victory for Point Molate) voting 58% to 42% against the Casino scheme. Shortly thereafter the council voted to end their relationship with the casino developer. On Earth Day 2014 the Mayor, Executive Director of Blue Frontier and others re-opened the public beach at Point Molate that had been closed to Richmond residents for 10 years. Since then Blue Frontier and CFPM have led several high school field trips to Point Molate for the underserved students of Richmond. We’ve also worked with the city, Trust for Public Lands and others to expand protection and restoration of this world class natural headlands for the people of Richmond, the Bay Area and the world. The battle to save Point Molate is described in David Helvarg’s book, The Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair with the Sea (affil link).
The Point Molate victory showed what a dynamic coalition of environmentalists and politically active citizens with deep roots in their community can achieve.
On April 19, 2014 the beach park at Point Molate had its grand opening for the people and families of Richmond, becoming publically accessible for the first time in more than a decade. Mayor Gail McLaughlin, Blue Frontier’s David Helvarg and other park supporters performed the ribbon cutting ceremony. Hundreds of other people enjoyed the day with picnics, hikes, a fireboat water salute and Latin Jazz band.
Three days later on Earth Day 2014 Helvarg and Sherman’s Lagoon cartoonist David Helvarg spoke to an assembly of students at JFK High School in Richmond and a few days after that held our first Point Molate field trip for 40 JFK biology students. The students expressed amazement and excitement in learning about and discovering their own waterfront history, botany, nesting Ospreys, pizza picnic and upland hiking. In 2015 a second field trip to Point Molate for a chemistry class was organized by Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate with a focus on water quality testing, climate change and history. Plans are now underway to make Point Molate a regular science and nature field trip opportunity for Richmond’s two underserved High Schools.
Some photos from Richmond High School Health Academy Field Trip to Point Molate – Friday Feb. 26
Blue Frontier and Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate are continuing to work with the city and others to restore Point Molate as a world-class natural and recreational area for all the people of Richmond, the Bay Area and the world. For more information contact our project partners at CFSPM Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.