Land AcquisitionAdvising the City of Walnut Creek on open space land acquisition was one of the original purposes of the Open Space Foundation. This partnership continued from the Foundation's creation in 1979 until the mid 1980's when the original open space purchases were completed and the bond money spent.
The Foundation turned its attention to other things until JoAnn Hanna, a former Foundation board member, and Bob and Shirley Nootbaar, also long-time members, started a campaign to buy the Diablo Gateway property just above the Northgate area of town. Otherwise a subdivision would have been built there. Many partners contributed to the effort. The deal was completed in 2006 and the property was dedicated the following year. The East Bay Regional Park District holds the conservation easement that secures it as open space. The Foundation contributed $1000 to the effort in 2004 but was not otherwise involved. However, the experience caused us to realize that it was still possible to buy land that could enhance the Open Space.
Diablo Gateway seen across the Pine Creek Detention Basin with Mt. Diablo in the background. The 36-acre property is the flat bench to the right of the white buildings. Artists frequently paint the mountain from this area. A subdivision would certainly have ruined the view.
Mangini RanchOur open space was acquired to preserve quality of life by protecting viewsheds and preventing development. Ecology was in its infancy in the 1970's; concepts like wildlife corridors and landscape-scale preservation had not been invented yet. Because the City was a pioneer, our four open space units were not contiguous to other open space. Shell Ridge was connected when EBRPD purchased the land for Diablo Foothills Regional Park. Sugarloaf and Acalanes will probably always be islands.
A chance to make progress on connecting Lime Ridge arose when Save Mt. Diablo obtained an option on Mangini Ranch, which adjoins Lime Ridge on the east and almost touches Mt. Diablo State Park. We offered $10,000 from our new Land Acquisition Fund as matching funds during Gary Bogue's fundraising campaign for Mangini Ranch. Save Mt. Diablo completed the purchase in 2007.
Acalanes RidgeThis is our third and so far largest venture in land acquisition. It marks the first time we were involved in putting together the deal and the first time we had done any fundraising beyond asking for annual membership contributions. It increased our capabilities and our visibility in the community.
Acalanes Ridge is the 23 acres that sits at the top of the hill above Acalanes Open Space. It has a 360° view from Solano County to south of Livermore, some unusual wildflowers, and is important as part of the wildlife corridor. It had been on our acquisition list since the beginning, but it had never been for sale.
Invitation to the Acalanes Ridge dedication from Muir Heritage Land Trust. Photo © Steve Hutchcraft