Mount Diablo, Los Vaqueros
& Surrounding Parks
Featuring the Diablo Trail
What is waterproof, tearproof and has 15,000 more acres of protected lands? Save Mount Diablo has released the second edition of the “Mount Diablo, Los Vaqueros & Surrounding Parks, Featuring the Diablo Trail” map. The original map was the first to show the entire Diablo Region with nearly 40 parks and 520 miles of trails. With 15,000 more acres of protected lands, a lot of updates were needed both in the cartography as well as in the size of the map itself. As with all non-profit projects, the map wouldn’t have been possible without volunteers. This one required a father son duo.
Mike McCormack was happy to lend his skills, “For the past year and a half, my son Tommy and I have been working on Save Mount Diablo’s volunteer map committee to produce an update to our highly popular and ground breaking regional outdoor recreation map.” Mike, who chaired the map committee, and his son, Tommy, spent hundreds of hours updating land statuses and trails with Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a skill Tommy learned before graduating from college a few months earlier.
The new map details more than 110,000 acres of protected land throughout Central and Eastern Contra Costa County and portions of Alameda County. “No other map shows all of the Diablo area parks in a unified design and in regional context”, remarked Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo’s Land Programs Director. “The map illustrates what has been accomplished and what private lands still need to be protected.”
New and Improved
The updated map is 60% larger but designed to open and close efficiently with accordion folds. The map displays protected lands and trails within the Diablo wilderness which is roughly bounded north to south from Suisun Bay to Highway 580 through the Altamont Pass, and west to east from Highway 680 to the Byron Highway. Of the 338,000 acres shown, over 110,000 are now protected. This new edition shows recently preserved lands including:
• Protected lands in the Tassajara Valley area.
• East Bay Regional Park District and East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy lands connecting Mount Diablo to Black Diamond Mines and expanding preserves in the Vasco corridor.
• Contra Costa Water District’s mitigation lands for the Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion.
• The Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Plan’s parks and open space adding over 3,500 acres.
• 18 parcels purchased by Save Mount Diablo, including several along the Marsh Creek corridor, as well as the Thomas Home Ranch property on the southern edge of Pittsburg.
The Diablo Trail
As in the original 2007 map, this map presents the 30-mile Diablo Trail, including an elevation profile. Save Mount Diablo wanted to create a map that specifically details the Diablo Trail as it winds through six different open spaces—Shell Ridge Open Space, Diablo Foothills Regional Park, Mt. Diablo State Park, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, the Los Vaqueros watershed, and Round Valley Regional Preserve. “The inclusion of the trail demonstrates more clearly the connections of parks across Mount Diablo from Walnut Creek to Brentwood and Livermore” Adams explained.
The map also shows a proposed route for a 60-mile “Diablo Grand Loop.” Due to the increased size of the 2012 map, this envisioned route is now shown in its entirety on a single side. Most importantly, with the acquisition of several key parcels since the 2007 map printing, the last remaining gaps in unprotected lands were closed. The Diablo Grand Loop is now complete although sections of the trail aren’t yet open to the public. However, Save Mount Diablo’s Advancement Director, Julie Seelen, is excited for the expanded recreational opportunities for the community, “We hope to be able to have to print a new edition of the map because more lands have been protected and more trails are open to the public. Especially once the Diablo Grand Loop is entirely accessible to the public. For now, we celebrate the preservation of these additional lands acquired through all of our collective efforts: Save Mount Diablo’s donors and volunteers, and our partners”
A project this large required a combination of skills and support. Although the McCormacks had generously volunteered their time and skills, they needed software to allow them to compile information from multiple parks, agencies and areas. The map was created using Esri’s GIS mapping product, ArcMap. “We used the software to make numerous park, trail and parcel additions to the map. The grant will continue to provide us with the capability to create and update maps. “
Save Mount Diablo’s new map will be publicly available to purchase beginning October 1st at Save Mount Diablo’s office, located at 1901 Olympic Boulevard, Suite 320 in Walnut Creek, for $10.00, or by mail for an additional $2.50 in postage and handling (total $12.50).
Buy the new map now
The Original Diablo Wilderness Map
Save Mount Diablo’s New Regional Recreation
By Seth Adams & John Kelly
Save Mount Diablo has produced the first regional trail
map of the Diablo area including Mount Diablo State Park, Los Vaqueros
and thirty-six other parks and preserves. The map is full color, double-sided,
waterproof and tearproof. Our volunteer map committee walked hundred of
miles of trails with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) units and worked
for two years to document all of Diablo’s parks and trails for the
first time in the most accurate Diablo map ever created.
Funding was provided by REI in two grants totaling
$9,000. This map is the first to give a sense of the full scale of land
preservation around Mount Diablo, to spotlight the 30-mile Diablo Trail
and to show all of the regional trail connections between the various
state, regional and local parks.
Map Design Elements: A Tour of Save Mount Diablo’s
New Regional Recreation Map
SMD’s new Diablo Map challenged the entire map
committee with the monumental task of presenting a large amount of information
accurately and in a user-friendly format. Over two years time, numerous
decisions were made in terms of the colors, the design features, and the
visual hierarchy found on the map. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at
some of the design and content issues encountered in the mapping process
that will give you a deeper appreciation of the volunteer map committee’s
Read the press release or Diablo Watch article.