Hidden Hillside



Waiting to be discovered by YOU. Help support our unique neighborhood native park! 


View from Vicente Hillside Open Space

The Vicente Canyon Hillside Foundation (VCHF) mission is: “…to preserve a natural area within the cities of Berkeley and Oakland as permanent urban open space not for future development, to be open to the general public, to be actively managed as a fire safety demonstration zone, for the restoration of native plants and animals, for compatible recreation and for the enjoyment of natural beauty…”

 The annual get-together of the Vicente Canyon Hillside Foundation was “a smash hit,” said Georgia Wright, VCHF president. “As long as the group stays financially solvent, this land will remain open and undeveloped.”  



In 1976 like-minded residents of The Claremont Hills purchased the 2 1/2-acre parcel overlooking Vicente and Alvarado Roads. The property had been slated for construction of 25 houses. Instead, the “Hidden Hillside” has become a model for other native parks in the area. Open to the public, the open space features deer paths and trails, grassy slopes, native vegetation and fabulous vistas — including views of SF Bay. There are also several wood-bench seating areas provided by neighbors. Children and dogs on leash are welcome.







Claremont Hills residents range in age and tenure: Danny Aarons (center) was born, raised - and still lives on Vicente. New residents are: Peter Maag (left) and family.

In order to continue the preservation and enjoyment of this Hidden Hillside, more tax-deductible memberships are required. Dues pay for the following expenses: maintenance of the hillside so that it does not become a fire hazard, upkeep on the community vegetable garden, clearing footpaths of poison oak, repair of the stairs on the Vicente easement access, liability insurance, and city assessments from Berkeley and Oakland. “In addition some legal expenses were paid last year,” explained Georgia. “As a result, our expenses now run a little bit more than our annual income.



Alvarado neighbor Marcia Tanner (left) is greeted by Les Goldner (right) who hosted the VHCF party with his wife Elaine Cooper (not shown) at their home

 Georgia outlined two ways to hold membership: (1) Full voting membership is $250/year for four years or $1000 one-time initiation fee.  After that, yearly dues are $100 per member household or $200 for owners of property contiguous to the land. (2) Annual members pay $100 per year if not contiguous, $200 if contiguous. The annual membership meeting occurs on the first or second Sunday of June (with a party, of course!)

For more information contact Georgia (pictured standing at far right) at gwright188@earthlink.net or Bill McClung (seated in white) williammcclung@mac.com  Bill is happy to take you on a private tour of this native park.

6 Responses to “Hidden Hillside”

  1. Joyce sasse Says:

    Gréât sunny day and nature walk. & I found my secret garden. Merci

  2. Peter Scott Says:

    Julie: Thanks for your communication, your community support and your continuing energy & enthusiasm. It is important to guard against overdevelopment in our hills and I like the aesthetic relief of open space….” Best Wishes and good luck, Peter.

  3. Lynn Hovland Says:

    I’ve often wondered: How does one get to this Edenic place (which I’ve never seen) without crossing private property?

    • Lynn,

      Thank you for your response! There is a legal easement to the native park — off Vicente near Grand View — up the wooden stairway along the property line at 146 Vicente. Perhaps Bill McClung will organize a tour or two of the open space. There’s so much to see and learn and take in. By the way, the organization really needs more members and financial support to survive. We pay membership dues of $100 per year.

      Thanks for subscribing to my blog! I’m honored.

  4. David Kessler Says:

    Julie, Thanks for calling the attention of the community to the Vicente Canyon Hillside Foundation! Helping to keep this patch of greenery maintained adds to the beauty of the North Hills and helps keep all our homes a bit safer.

    • David,

      Yes, the hillside offers so much in so many ways to our neighborhood. Perhaps we could have a North Hills Community Assn outing in the spring and have a picnic lunch meeting on the Hidden Hillside! Local residents deserve the opportunity to see for themself how special this native park really is. And it belongs to everyone.

      Thank you for your continued support.

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