Tucked into suburban Lafayette, the 20-acre Batwing property is a wonderful example of a neighborhood park-in-the-making, one that gives people everyday access to the natural beauty of the East Bay just steps from their homes. So named because its shape resembles a flying bat, the property offers steep trails for young explorers and quiet sanctuaries of moss-covered trees for folks seeking a moment of peaceful reflection.

In early 2019, Lafayette City Council voted unanimously to spend $1.8 million to acquire the hilly property with the assistance of John Muir Land Trust. Once zoned for a maximum of 40 housing units, Batwing will instead help the city to achieve nearly half its goal of adding 44 acres of new parkland. “This decision represented one of the most historic actions the City Council has taken in decades,” said Mayor Cameron Burks.

The acquisition illustrates the vital role that land trusts play in local conservation. First, JMLT negotiated a purchase agreement with the landowner. With the property under contract, JMLT then conducted necessary due diligence by commissioning geotechnical reports, a phase 1 environmental assessment, and title research. JMLT identified funding sources, including an East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) Measure WW grant sourced from a $500 million bond extension approved in November 2008. JMLT will soon acquire the property and convey it the City of Lafayette. JMLT and the city will then work collaboratively on opening Batwing for public access.

At the announcement, Lafayette Parks, Trails and Recreation Director Jonathan Katayanagi said, “We’re delivering walkable parks for everybody. Neighbors can finish their dinner, grab their kids and their dogs, and go out to this open space.”

A healthy park system offers diverse opportunities for outdoor recreation. In Lamorinda, JMLT has protected 604-acre Carr Ranch, a pristine addition to a large wilderness refuge. We’re raising funds to protect Painted Rock, the potential anchor of a centrally located 505-acre community park that would be enjoyed by hundreds of visitors daily. Batwing is a smaller, delightful neighborhood park. The goal is to do many more.


Batwing is not yet open to the public. Please sign up for JMLT e-news for updates on progress.