As an international gateway, our airport and seaport operations bring
economic value to the world. Here at home, we're bringing social and cultural
value to the region. Middle Harbor Shoreline Park offers Oakland its first public beach. The views are some of
the most magnificent in the area and the park contains an amphitheater
for events and performances.
Since World War II, military use has restricted public
access to the shoreline of the Middle Harbor. As part of the Port's Vision
2000 seaport program, the public has regained access to the former naval
ship basin. Agencies, community representatives and scientists worked
together to design the habitat restoration for the more than 150-acre
water area of the harbor and the integration of the park with the habitat.
Middle Harbor became an ecological reserve of shallow bay and shoreline
habitats for many species, such as Dungeness crab, flatfish, anchovy,
herring and perch.
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park (MHSP) is a 38-acre shoreline park built and operated by the Port of Oakland for the community, with more than two miles of pathways encircling Middle Harbor Basin. The planning and design of this park was done with extensive community involvement, which identified key goals for the park. Primary goals included creation of a place for learning about the local history, natural environment, maritime activities and stewardship for the environment. In addition, MHSP provides unprecedented access to the shoreline, with associated views of the bay, natural habitats and maritime activity.
In its natural state, Oakland's waterfront was covered by hundreds of acres of salt marshes and shallow tidelands. These tidal wetlands provided food, shelter, and other benefits to a wide variety of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects, and mammals. Dredging and fill for military, Port, and commercial uses have greatly reduced the habitat in size and quality. By 1935, fill had extended some areas of the Oakland shoreline nearly two miles into the bay. Middle Harbor is located on some of these former tidal wetlands, most of which were underwater at high tide. The Port of Oakland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working on a project to restore shallow wildlife habitats to Middle Harbor.
The 180-acre Middle Harbor Enhancement Area adjacent to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park restores shallow water habitat and provides habitat enhancement, including eelgrass, in the former Navy Fleet Industrial Supply Center. These efforts provide an opportunity for the study of marine biology and habitat restoration efforts.
During your visit, you may see some of this work underway. Dredged sediments from the Oakland navigation channels have been used in the Middle Harbor Enhancement project, and a jetty has been constructed near the mouth of the harbor to reduce tidal energy and promote revegetation.
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is situated in the heart of an active container seaport. Visitors can see the direct loading and unloading of a ship, and observe the different pieces of equipment it takes to move cargo. For nearly a century, the Port of Oakland has managed the efficient movement of goods and people in and out of the region. The nearly 1,100-acre seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S. and the third busiest container port on the U.S. West Coast. It includes 24 berths and 36 cranes, of which 30 are post-Panamax size, including 15 super post-Panamax size capable of handling the latest-generation ships. The Port of Oakland is primarily an export port, shipping such products as agricultural commodities, meats, waste paper and metal, cotton and lumber. Containers arrive and depart on large ships that circumnavigate the globe. Containers are moved on and off ships with large gantry cranes to terminal trucks, and are stored in the terminal yards prior to placement on a train or truck for distribution to its destination.
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is built on the site of the former Oakland Naval Supply Depot, an important supply center for the Navy's Pacific Fleet from World War II until 1998, when the depot was closed and transferred to the Port of Oakland. This 541-acre facility was equipped with dozens of warehouses with a combined floor area of over 7 million square feet. The Naval Supply Depot that stood on this land played an important role in the World War II war effort--civilian and military workers processed and shipped a wide variety of cargo, including aviation material, electronics, weapons, clothing, food, fuel, lumber, and medicine and medical equipment.
Building 122, which has left its "footprint" at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, played an important role in the Supply Depot's processing and shipping activities. This structure was a 190,000-square-foot warehouse (4.3 acres) built as one of two primary storage and supply facilities for the Navy's Pacific Fleet. Its irregular shape allowed for rail service on all sides. You can find the footprint of Building 122 by finding the clues in the park's landscape: look for a "ghost" structure marked by wall markers, zig-zag walls, and changes in pavement (even in the parking lot).
Most of the other buildings on the Supply Depot were warehouses and offices. The Supply Depot had its own fire and police stations, library, post office, bank, cafeteria, chapel, bowling alley, movie theater, coffee roasting plant (which at its peak supplied all of the armed forces in the Pacific), several lounges, Naval and Marine barracks, and housing for officers and their families. This self-contained "city" was connected by 42 miles of train tracks and 26 miles of paved roadway.
Middle Harbor itself was dredged to create a 40-foot-deep berthing area for naval ships, and fill was placed to create the land for the depot. Oakland was chosen as the site of this important supply center because of the city's extensive rail and highway connections leading almost directly to the bay and its shipping lanes. The Oakland Naval Supply Depot even had its own internal railroad transportation system with a roundhouse and rail car repair shops.
Views of the bay that have not been available to the public for the past 100 years are now abundant throughout the park. Visitors may use the free viewing binoculars at Pt. Arnold and in the observation tower.
See live entertainment in an amphitheater that overlooks San Francisco Bay.
Explore the Chappell R. Hayes Memorial Observation Tower, named to honor the West Oakland leader. The tower offers fantastic views of the Oakland Estuary and the Port's shipping activities.
Take a moment to read the interpretive signs throughout the park for an interesting insight into the history of the site, the environmental resources here and the adjacent maritime activities.
The park remains open for all visitors from 8am to dusk, year around.
Bring your own blanket for lawn picnicking or select a picnic table with a BBQ pit. Picnic areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All picnic sites are wheelchair accessible. Please note that ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE PARK. No dogs, fireworks and child jumpers are allowed in the park at any time. If you are a group of 200 or more, please contact Ramona Dixon at 510-627-1634 or email at email@example.com
for prior approval.
There are just under three miles of pathways that are available for pedestrians and bicyclists to explore the shoreline and inland areas of the park. These pathways are extensions of the regional San Francisco Bay Trail, and connect directly to the adjacent Port View Park and the West Oakland neighborhood.
The park's shoreline pathways allow for excellent wildlife observation year-round. Numerous shorebirds, diving ducks, and sea birds can be seen just off shore. Year-round residents include the Forster's tern, western gull, double-crested cormorant, and brown pelican. Summer visitors include the Caspian tern, least tern, California gull, Canada goose, and snowy egret. Winter visitors include the common goldeneye, ruddy duck, bufflehead, scaup, western sandpiper, dunlin, surf scoter, Western/Clark's grebe, and eared grebe. Interpretive panels with photos of these birds can be found within the park.
While nearby ship traffic always seems entertaining, the feeding and grooming antics of waterfowl are fascinating. During your visit here, take time to look for the many species of birds that find food and refuge in this area. As the habitat is restored and improved, many animals will return, giving us the chance to observe wildlife in the city.
Cast out a line at Pt. Arnold for great fishing opportunities. A California State fishing license is required to fish at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, with the exception of fishing from the pier at the end of Port View Park, where no California State fishing license is required.
The Port of Oakland has partnered with Stepping Out Stepping In to offer environmental education, exploration and nature play at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park to elementary, middle school students and adults.
Stepping Out Stepping In provides hands-on environmental education programs designed to meet science standards for each grade. Their programs focus on the ecology and cultural history of the San Francisco Bay and teach the students a greater sense of understanding why the Bay is an important habitat worth protecting. We also teach various other related aspects of the park including maritime industry, cultural railroad, and Navy Depot history.
Low-income schools located in West Oakland may be eligible for free bus transportation. Apply on-line by going to www.steppingoutsteppingin.org
There are wheelchair accessible parking areas, drinking fountains and restrooms in the park. All picnic sites, the Port View Park, the observation tower and port operations viewing area at Western Pacific Mole are wheelchair accessible.
- From San Francisco:
Take I-80 east (Bay Bridge/Oakland) to I-880 south toward Alameda/Airport/San Jose. Exit onto West Grand Ave./Maritime Street. Continue straight, then turn right onto Maritime Street. At the BART tracks, turn right onto 7th Street. Continue straight on 7th Street to the stoplight at Middle Harbor Road. Proceed through the intersection and take the first right turn into the MHSP parking lot.
- From the East Bay:
Take Hwy. 24 west to I-980 west, towards Oakland. Exit at the 11th/12th Street off-ramp onto Brush Street. Continue straight, and turn right (northwest) at 7th Street. Continue straight on 7th Street and past Maritime Street to the stoplight at Middle Harbor Road. Proceed through the intersection and take the first right turn into the MHSP parking lot.
- From the South Bay:
Take I-880 north towards Oakland. Take the 7th Street exit towards West Grand Ave. Turn left onto 7th Street. Follow 7th Street, heading west, past Maritime Street. Continue straight on 7th Street to the stoplight at Middle Harbor Road. Proceed through the intersection and take the first right turn into the MHSP parking lot.
- From the North Bay:
Take I-80 west to I-880 south towards Alameda/Airport/San Jose. Exit at 7th Street/West Grand Ave. Continue straight, through the light and along the frontage road to the light at 7th Street. Turn right onto 7th Street, heading west, past Maritime Street. Continue straight on 7th Street to the stoplight at Middle Harbor Road. Proceed through the intersection and take the first right into the MHSP parking lot.
- Public Transit:
AC Transit Bus Line 13 no longer services the middle harbor area. Port Staff are seeking alternative solutions through grants and partnerships.
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