One of the most mesmerizing views that quaint little Oakland CA has to offer is the amazing Lake Merritt. It’s considered a large tidal lagoon, and from the lake, you can see an amazing view of several major buildings in the nearby downtown Oakland. Among the notable traits of the lake, it’s officially the first wildlife refuge in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark.
Lake Merritt has a rich history that’s deeply rooted in the local culture of Oakland. Originally, it had been apart of the San Francisco Bay but was later incorporated into Oakland. At first, it served as sewage disposal for the local town, but as this was unpleasant for property owners who lived near it, it was instead turned into a lake by mayor Samuel Merritt. Merritt did this by building a dam to regulate the water level and salinity of the lagoon, thereby transforming it into a lake. The wetlands surrounding the lake remained, and were a hospitable area for migrating birds. It posed a problem for the residents of the growing Oakland area, as hunters came into the area after the birds. The gunfire in close proximity to Oakland homes made the hunting disturbing because of its noise, but also dangerous to the local residents. In response to this, Lake Merritt was declared the first wildlife refuge in the nation, which banned almost all hunting in the area. Reforms with the intent of further beautifying the lake went into effect later between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Local planners had begun adopting the notions of the City Beautiful movement, which would lead the agenda on their plans for beautifying the lake. Soon, they declared the lake and it’s surrounding shore a city-owned park and began tearing down homes built along it. They replaced the homes with ornate lawns featuring imported trees, while other areas saw to the construction of an intricate pergola. Eventually, the wetlands that made the lake a wildlife refuge had long disappeared as the area became rapidly developed. Around 1925, they sought to construct a series of bird islands for the migratory birds that inhabited the area. The islands were constructed of dredged silt, and infrastructure was built to ensure the safety of the birds’ habitat. Keeping the lake clean and free of pollution is an ongoing struggle for the lake, even to this day. Local storm drains are still designed to irrigate into the lake, which causes trash and nutrient pollution in the water. The lake is largely cleaned by volunteer efforts, who manage to keep the lake at relatively clean levels and remove thousands of pounds of trash on a monthly basis. To this day, Merritt Lake is a core part of the local Oakland culture and heritage. It keeps Oaklanders in touch with the natural environment of the bay area while enriching their sense of living with ornate, publicly maintained parks. If the effort that’s been put into the lake over its long history isn’t a sign of civic pride, it might be hard to say what is.
Getting to Central Bay Roofing & Restoration from Lake Merritt Oakland