El Dorado East Regional Park

El Dorado East Regional Park is an expansive natural space close to downtown. It’s one of the best parks in Long Beach and the largest near the city. And it’s a favorite place to escape the hustle and bustle of city streets. A four-mile bike and pedestrian path winds throughout the park area, connecting two stocked fishing lakes and other park amenities, including playgrounds, picnic shelters, and a model aircraft flying area. The El Dorado Dog Park is popular with pet owners, and the El Dorado Nature Center provides educational displays and local artwork on the walls. It’s a small cost of admission to drive a vehicle into the park throughout the week, with higher rates on the weekends. On the other side of the San Gabriel River, El Dorado West City Park is free to enjoy and features a popular 18-hole disc golf course.

Area Il is north of Spring Street and east of the river, south of Wardlow Road, and contains 165.8 acres. In September 1966, work was started on the improvement of El Dorado East Area ll. On February 6, 1971, this area was opened to the public including the lakes, which occupy 7.6 acres of this section. Area Il is improved with an archery range, which was completed in 1971. It was the site of the 1984 Olympic competition. Area Il also contains overnight camping facilities, a lake with paddleboats, group picnic areas and bicycle and walking trails. The lake is named for Milton B. Arthur, a Recreation Commission member for 14 years, who is credited with leading the acquisition of the site for an El Dorado Park before it was developed for homes. Area Ill is north of Wardlow Road, and has a total of 203.6 acres. Work started on area Il in 1971. In July 1974 Area Ill of El Dorado Park was opened to the public Area Ill is improved with group picnic areas, Alamo and Coyote Lakes, a model train ride, a fire station designed by Louis S. Miller, and bicycling and walking trails. The fire station, located in the park just off of Wardlow Road, was controversial at the time it was built, but was necessitated by the refusal of the developers of the El Dorado Park Estates housing development to dedicate land for a fire station in that development. Area Ill also includes “Glider Hill”. Created by the excavation of the lakes, this site was intended to be an amphitheater overlooking the lake that was never built.

The site has been popular with model airplane enthusiasts since it was created. In 1975, five miles of bicycle trails were added in El Dorado Regional Park areas Il and Ill. This trail was dedicated to Mrs. Billie Howe Boswell, a popular Dean of Women and physical education instructor at Long Beach Community College who was killed by an automobile while bicycling near the park. The northwest corner of the park was the site of many proposals for facilities for the park that were never built. As such, it was never completed and is primarily an open turf area used for parking during large events in the park. In 1990, the Sycamore Grove group picnic area and playground was improved with funding from the federal Land Act. The regional park benefited with 1,000 trees planted with funds from the County Parks Bond Act of 1996.

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