One of the most important projects ever undertaken by John Muir Land Trust, Franklin Canyon is a 483-acre property comprised of rolling hills, deep canyons, and spectacular panoramic views in every direction. Combined with JMLT’s Fernandez Ranch, which is immediately adjacent, Franklin Canyon creates a 1,185-acre preserve of permanently protected open space in which people, plants and animals can thrive.
Wooded hills on the property, visible just south of the John Muir Parkway (Highway 4), provide a scenic display rising behind the Franklin Canyon Golf Course. A segment of Rodeo Creek flows perennially in Franklin Canyon, as well as key tributaries that contain water much of the year. JMLT is the permanent owner and steward of more than one-fifth of the land within the Rodeo Creek watershed.
A fragile ecosystem preserves habitat for a variety of special-status species such as Cooper’s hawk, northern harrier, California red-legged frog and western pond turtle. Riparian scrub along Rodeo Creek includes arroyo willow, thickets of California blackberry and short-spiked hedge nettle. This vegetation serves as a movement corridor for both aquatic and terrestrial species, providing relatively secure cover along its length.
Public access to Franklin Canyon is scheduled to begin in the near future. The area is especially well suited for hiking, with paths that provide important connectors to the 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail and the 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail. Dogs will be welcome! The property offers a striking and peaceful contrast to densely developed areas in nearby Hercules.
Hercules gift helps preserve Franklin Canyon | San Francisco Chronicle | July 2010
Hercules land bought, to remain open space | Contra Costa Times | July 2010 (PDF)
Keep It Wild | Contra Costa Times | September, 2009 (PDF)
Group to buy rest of canyon property | Contra Costa Times | August, 2009 (PDF)
Conservationists secure rest of Franklin Canyon | San Francisco Chronicle | August 2009