Welcome. This website is dedicated to Lake Merritt, one of the most unique urban spaces in the United States. Its 3.4 mile heart-shaped shoreline in the center of a very diverse city is the place for man and nature to migrate, meet and mingle daily. It also is home to the oldest designated wildlife refuge in the United States dating from 1870.
Check News&Updates for up-to-date lake-related information.
Important websites and volunteer organizations in support of the lake and its park are listed on the Lake Merritt Links.
LakeMerritt.org grew out of the Lake Merritt Project, an ongoing photo study of the lake, park and its people. Birds, Gardens and People webpages showcase the lake's diversity and include access to extensive photos and special videos.
Notable, non-commercial groups and agencies as well as local news and info sites are in Sites of Interest. Public Art works in the Lake Merritt area are featured Art. Further information on park activities can be found on the Oaklandnet city link.
Use Contact for LM questions, comments, or suggestions.
Sixty-two storm drains and 8 creeks flow into Lake Merritt, which is actually a tidal lagoon and subject to the rise & fall of SF Bay tides.
Only rain down the storm drains!
LM History: In 1867, Dr. Samuel Merritt donated 155 acres of dammed tidal water from the headwaters of Indian Slough, it became known as "Merritt's Lake" and later Lake Merritt... Sometimes called the Jewel of Oakland, Oakland is the only city in the United States with a salt water lake in the downtown metropolitan area. Originally part of the San Francisco Bay, in 1869, Oakland Mayor Dr. Samual Merritt donated money to build a dam at the 12th Street bridge, across the "neck" of the inlet, thus creating the present day lake... In 1925, Lake Merritt's "Necklace of Lights" is lit for the first time during the Dons of Peralta Water Festival. There are 126 lampposts, each given by an organization or an individual. The lampposts and 3,400 pearly bulbs shone until 1941 when World War II blackout conditions are enforced. In 1963, the Wildlife Refuge at Lake Merritt was registered as a National Historic Landmark... The brackish lake water, which consists of fresh water and salt water, is eight to ten feet deep, supporting and residing as a home to shrimp, fish, birds (migratory and residental), clams, and crabs. LM history excerpt from City of Oakland