East Bay Regional Park District board shuts down Chabot Gun Club

Problem of lead contamination 'is issue faced by all gun ranges,' district's general manager Doyle says

East Bay Regional Park District directors have voted unanimously to close the 53-year-old Chabot Gun Club near San Leandro and Castro Valley

because of extensive lead contamination.

The vote came at the end of a lengthy meeting at the Redwood Canyon Golf Course in Castro Valley that began Tuesday afternoon and extended into the evening and was attended by more than 400 people.

Among them were a large number of gun club supporters who spoke against closing the facility, which has operated at Anthony Chabot Regional Park since 1963.

In a memo to the board, East Bay Park Regional Park District general manager Robert Doyle recommended closing the gun club because the

site is contaminated with more than 50 years of accumulated lead and poses "significant risks to human health and the environment."

Doyle recommended giving the gun club six months to wind down its operations at the park but the directors voted to give the club 12 months.

"Allowing lead contamination to remain on public watershed lands is not consistent with the district's mission of environmental stewardship,"

Doyle said.

Doyle also said that because of the lead pollution and complex new regulatory requirements, managing stormwater "will remain an ongoing concern that will require substantial oversight and the long-term commitment of staff and consultant services."

The general manager said the problem of lead contamination "is an issue faced by all gun ranges that have historically used lead ammunition and a particular problem for public agencies who have leased public lands for such uses."

Doyle said other local shooting ranges have closed in recent years because of remedial orders from water control officials, including the

Peninsula Gun Club in Menlo Park and the Pacific Rod and Gun Club at Lake Merced in San Francisco.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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3 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 3, 2016 at 9:10 am

Bummer. But I understand. I was thinking about the years of lead the last time I was there shooting clays, but it is really a beautiful place to shoot. Now I'm stuck with Livermore's ugly field, or Coyote Clays..which is very nice..but very far.

6 people like this
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 3, 2016 at 9:36 am

This will not be the last gun club to be shut down. Get rid of the gun clubs, gets rid of the guns?

8 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 3, 2016 at 10:01 am

No Charlie. Get rid of lead, not guns. Go kick some football! Your gun rights are sage...we just don't want your lead in our ground water ala Flint.

Like this comment
Posted by FrequentWalkerMiles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2016 at 1:38 pm

FrequentWalkerMiles is a registered user.

Perhaps I missed it, does anyone have a source of actual report(s) that show lead in fact got into either the ground water or Lake Chabot?

11 people like this
Posted by BeFair
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 3, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Unfortunately, it really isn't a question of if, but when. Whatever level of contamination is in groundwater and Lake Chabot now will increase over time as the leaching that began over 50 years ago continues. Even if all of the metal waste miraculously disappeared today the dissolved lead that has already soaked into the ground and made it's way toward the lake will continue along that path with each new rain.
To have zero dissolved lead in the groundwater or lake there would have to be no corrosion of the metal exposed to the elements over 52 years and no runoff from rain contacting the corroded metal.

The toxic properties of lead have been known for decades, what had the Chabot Gun club done about cleaning up it's mess? Nothing. According to the Contra Costa Times: "It would cost some $2.4 million to $3.4 million to make improvements, plus another $190,000 a year in operating costs to keep the range open..." Web Link The Chabot Gun club contributes about $80,000 per year to the park (same article). The question is why has the park deferred to the club for so long? "Each additional year of shooting will cost at least $200,000 to clean up – costs that will fall upon the park district and the East Bay taxpayers who support it." Web Link
Lake Chabot is an emergency water supply for us. The club has had years to show a little responsibility. In my opinion the park has been handing taxpayers the bill for years to indulge the club. Enough is enough.

4 people like this
Posted by I know what you dont
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 7, 2016 at 4:42 pm

The lead is 15 times the amount that it should be in some places. when it rains it is worse. the range master deals in cash when he can so he really does not report all the money he brings in. the range is a nonprofit that brings in more than $400,000 per year ( public record). just look at the place, its all run down because he will not invest in the up keep. hell I would rather pee in the dirt than use the rest rooms there.

4 people like this
Posted by GEORGE
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

My wife and I love to take our 12 grandchildren for hikes throughout the Oakland Hills. With gun shooting concentrated at Chabot we feel safe.

If Chabot shooting range closes where does the District think those thousands of shooters are going out on their own to shoot? Right...the Oakland hills. (That is what my father and I did back in the 1940's).

I do not feel safe with the District turning lose thousands of shooters. That is going to virtually shut down the Oakland hills for hiking right after the first hiker becomes victimized by random shooting.

Personally, I am not as worried about the lead bullets in the ground at Chabot as I am of lead bullets whizzing over my head in the Oakland hills.

1 person likes this
Posted by FrequentWalkerMiles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2016 at 12:04 pm


Target shooters are for the most part extremely law abiding. Land in Oakland hills today is either privately owned or under the jurisdiction of the country and/or regional parks, and it's very unlikely those "thousands" of people will just pull up on the side of Redwood road or walk off a hiking trail and plink soda cans. It's not the 1940s anymore. I think you will find that since the 1940s many new laws have been put in place and believe it or not, people observe them.

Please check the regulations on the books first, before you do something illegal. You may even receive a jay walking ticket on park roads if you are not careful.

2 people like this
Posted by Sue Thayer
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

I'd like to thanks 'BeFair' and 'I know ...' for injecting some actual facts into the routine paranoia of the Town Square.

It's pretty simple, really. The Gun Club wasn't paying the full cost of its operation, because it never took steps to address ('internalize') the costs of cleaning-up its pollution. If it had, it would have had to significantly increase its prices -- not clear whether it would be a viable service under those circs. Not much different than a battery-maker discharging waste lead into a river -- it's wrong.

Charlie, you give gunners a bad name, and me the heebie-jeebies.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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