Richmond activist Whitney Dotson to resign from East Bay Park board

Local dignitaries and park officials surround Whitney Dotson to celebrate the renaming of Breuner Marsh, a 60-acre wetland at Pt. Pinole Regional Park, to Dotson Family Marsh in November 2016.

Whitney Dotson, an environmental activist known for his efforts in successfully leading community resistance of shoreline development near his Parchester Village home, has announced that he is retiring from the Board of Directors for the East Bay Regional Park District, a role he’s held for 10 years.

Dotson’s last board meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 17, the park district announced.

In 2016, Breuner Marsh at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline was renamed Dotson Family Marsh in honor of the Dotson family’s advocacy for local environmentalism. Whitney Dotson, his father and members of Parchester Village long-resisted proposals to turn the shoreline park into housing, an airport, industrial complex or transit center. In 2011, following a three-year eminent domain case, the land was acquired by the Park District and underwent a $14 million restoration to tidal marsh.

As the Park District director, Dotson supported significant projects such as the Atlas Road Bridge at Point Pinole, completion of the Bay Trail between Pinole Shores and Bayfront Park, restoration of Albany Beach, the soon-to-be completed Bay Trail segment between Berkeley and Albany, and the aforementioned Dotson Family Marsh.

Dotson is president of the North Richmond Shoreline Open Space Alliance, and vice-chair of the Parchester Village Neighborhood Council.

“Director Dotson has been an invaluable member of the Park District Board,” said East Bay Regional Park District Board President Ayn Wieskamp. “His passion for his community, for social justice, and for the environment have served his district well, and I will miss him and his good humor.”

Park District General Manager Robert Doyle called Dotson a “tireless advocate for protecting the shoreline, expanding shoreline access, and environmental justice, with a career spanning over 60 years.”

Dotson said parks and health “are my passion.”

“I’ve been blessed to be able to bridge both of them as a board member for the East Bay Regional Park District for the last 10 years,” he said.

Director Dotson’s ward includes the communities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Kensington, part of Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo. Parks in Ward 1 include Brooks Island, Kennedy Grove, McLaughlin Eastshore, Miller/Knox, Point Isabel, Point Pinole, Sobrante Ridge, Tilden, and Wildcat Canyon.

The Park District is now beginning the process of filling Dotson’s position on the seven member board, which meets twice per month at Park District headquarters in Oakland.

Applications for the post must be submitted to the Clerk of the Board, East Bay Regional Park District, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland CA 94605 no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Emailed applications will not be accepted. Applicants must be over age 18, reside in Ward 1, and be registered to vote. The Ward 1 director position will be up for election in 2020.