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John Muir Land Trust Press Release | May 18, 2017

John Muir Land Trust Opens Newly Expanded Fernandez Ranch
1,185 Acres of Pristine Habitat Between Hercules and Martinez Now Includes Former Franklin Canyon Property

Martinez, CA — On June 3, 2017 John Muir Land Trust is holding a property dedication and public opening of its newly expanded, 1,185-acre Fernandez Ranch off Highway 4 near Hercules, CA. The 483-acre property formerly known as Franklin Canyon is merging into adjacent Fernandez Ranch and receiving visitors for the first time. This pristine natural landscape is an extraordinary public resource within minutes of some of the most densely populated areas of the East Bay.

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Martinez Tribune | April 21, 2017

John Muir Land Trust – a Contra Costa gem

The John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) protects the environment and saves land in Contra Costa County. JMLT is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is protecting the places that make Contra Costa special. The Trust focuses most of it’s attention on the part of our county west of I-680. Currently it permanently protects about 3,100 acres. This figure is growing!

JMLT’s Fernandez Ranch is located off Highway 4 near Christie Road. Fernandez Ranch has lots of hiking and riding trails. The existing ranch will be extended to a total of 1,185 acres when the contiguous Franklin Canyon is opened to public use – which will happen within the next few months.

JMLT’s newest acquisition is the 604 acre Carr Ranch in Moraga. This success story is wonderful in two ways. It’s a beautiful property and it shows JMLT active in the southern part of the county (see www.jmlt.org/carrranch.html). + More

KGO810 | April 9, 2017

John Hamilton: John Muir Land Trust Offers Spectacular Views and Myriad of Outdoor Activities in East Bay Hills

KCBS | March 30, 2017

Gift Of Land To Expand John Muir Historic Site Awaits Congressional Approval

There's a plan to expand John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez but it comes with a big bureaucratic catch. John Ramos explains.

JMLT and EBMUD Celebrate Carr Ranch Partnership | March 15, 2017

MORAGA, CA -- John Muir Land Trust and East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) celebrated the launch of their partnership to preserve Carr Ranch by hosting community leaders, elected officials, supporters and stakeholders for a morning event that ended with hikes to view the property. This unique partnership is protecting vital watershed land that is an important local source of high-quality drinking water for East Bay residents.

JMLT and EBMUD signed a Conservation Agreement in late 2016 to protect the property in perpetuity. Under this agreement, EBMUD’s role is to preserve the watershed on the property, protect wildlife habitat, maintain open spaces and natural scenery, and preserve historical ranching heritage. JMLT will manage permanent public access to Carr Ranch for light recreation such as hiking, wildlife viewing, on-leash dog walking and equestrian activities.

Carr Ranch will open to the public in late 2017.

Read more:

EBMUD Press Release | Finding Solutions: East Bay Municipal Utility District and John Muir Land Trust celebrate permanent preservation of Lamorinda watershed land
Castro Valley Forum | EBMUD Buys Ranch Bordering Local Reservoir
Lamorinda Weekly | EBMUD Celebrates Carr Ranch watershed acquisition
East Bay Times | Moraga: Spotlight on preserved ranch land
abc 7 NEWS | CARR RANCH LAND BETWEEN MORAGA & OAKLAND UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP
KRON4 | EBMUD acquires 604-acre Carr Ranch for $4.47 million, will open to hikers

John Muir Land Trust Press Release | November 22, 2016

JOHN MUIR LAND TRUST ANNOUNCES CARR RANCH IS SAVED
604 ACRES PROTECTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EAST BAY MUNICIPAL UTILITY DISTRICT (EBMUD)

MARTINEZ, CA — John Muir Land Trust ( JMLT) announces Carr Ranch is saved. The 604-acre cattle ranch will be permanently protected in partnership with East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). Adjacent to the Town of Moraga, the property will be preserved as watershed land, essential wildlife habitat and open space for public enjoyment. An outpouring of donations from individuals, foundations, agencies and corporations reached the $7 million project goal needed to acquire the private property from the Carr family, who have owned the land for over a century. Contributing $4.5 million toward the purchase, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) will hold title to the property, and JMLT will provide public access and recreation.

John Muir Land Trust and EBMUD have signed a Conservation Agreement to protect the property in perpetuity. Under this agreement EBMUD’s role is to preserve the watershed on the property, protect wildlife habitat, maintain open spaces and natural scenery, and preserve historical ranching heritage. JMLT will manage permanent public access to Carr Ranch for light recreation such as hiking, wildlife viewing, dog walking and equestrian activities.

The undeveloped Carr Ranch property provides habitat for endangered reptiles and amphibians — and for large animals such as deer, American badger, golden eagle, and mountain lion. Its creeks and streams drain into the Upper San Leandro Reservoir, and from there into the homes of tens of thousands of East Bay families. Carr Ranch exemplifies the best of Contra Costa landscapes, an area known for some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. Terrain varies from hillsides and ridge tops to meadows and bottomlands; and the vegetation from coastal live oak and riparian woodlands to coastal scrub and annual grasses.

“We couldn’t have hoped for an outcome that better serves the public’s need for permanent protection and access to this spectacular natural landscape,” said Linus Eukel, Executive Director of John Muir Land Trust. Carr Ranch is an essential addition to the large protected area created by the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness and nearby watershed lands owned by EBMUD that drain into the Upper San Leandro Reservoir. Continued Eukel, “Carr Ranch offers spectacular views and clean drinking water that will benefit East Bay families for generations to come. And of course, permanently preserving critical wildlife habitat means that current residents — including threatened and endangered species — will benefit as well.”

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East Bay Municipal Utility District | December 2, 2016

A gift for the East Bay: EBMUD and John Muir Land Trust formalize partnership to save Carr Ranch

Unique collaboration permanently protects watershed land

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) and John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) announced a partnership today that saves 604-acres of gorgeous Lamorinda land for future generations.

The EBMUD Board of Directors voted unanimously and enthusiastically today to approve $4,469,600 to purchase the Carr Ranch property. The vote formalizes a partnership between EBMUD and JMLT to acquire the 604-acre cattle ranch from the Carr family, which has owned the land for over a century. Adjacent to the Town of Moraga and surrounded on three sides by EBMUD-owned lands within the Upper San Leandro watershed, Carr Ranch will be permanently preserved as watershed land, essential wildlife habitat and open space for public enjoyment. + More

East Bay Times | November 25, 2016

Moraga: EBMUD buys 604 acres to protect tap water quality

MORAGA — Nearly a square mile of scenic grazing land and oak forests in the Moraga hills is being purchased as a pollution buffer to protect a major East Bay drinking water reservoir and provide public hiking areas.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District agreed this week to spend $4.5 million to buy the 604-acre Carr Ranch from the John Muir Land Trust in an unusual partnership deal between the conservation group and public water supplier for 1.4 million people.

The water district will own and maintain the land to manage wildlife and protect against pollution and silt runoff into the Upper San Leandro Reservoir, a major drinking water source for EBMUD customers on the west side of the Oakland-Berkeley hills.

The Martinez-based land trust will manage the land to provide low-key recreation such as hiking, wildlife viewing and enjoying scenic views of San Francisco and Suisun bays. + More

East Bay Times | By Sam Richards | August 31, 2016

BREAKING NEWS - Contra Costa: John Muir Land Trust earns national accreditation

MARTINEZ -- It isn't as if the John Muir Land Trust has had any trust or credibility issues, having succeeded over a quarter century in preserving some 2,500 acres of open space, ranch land and wetlands in Contra Costa County.

But its new accreditation by the New York-based Land Trust Accreditation Commission should only help the nonprofit, with its offices in Martinez, do its work more effectively.

"We're not going to be doing anything differently," said Linus Eukel, John Muir Land Trust's executive director. "The accreditation essentially confirms what we've been doing, and positions us to go farther."

The nonprofit oversees 12 parcels of land, ranging from the Pacheco Marsh east of Martinez to the large (and adjacent) Franklin Canyon and Fernandez Ranch lands east of Hercules. The trust is negotiating to acquire the Carr Ranch property southeast of Moraga. Eukel said those talks are "going well."

Could the land trust's next target property be the hilly 297-acre Alhambra Highlands land south of Highway 4 in Martinez?

In July, the Martinez City Council and a Houston-based developer that controls the property -- still officially on track to become the 109-home Alhambra Highlands subdivision -- agreed to negotiate a possible sale of the land, part of it believed to be part of the estate of renowned naturalist John Muir. City officials said then that a land trust or other conservation group could be involved in any possible deal. Mayor Rob Schroder said this week it will be at least a yearlong negotiation process. + Continue reading

Also read:

DeSaulnier, Harris Introduce Bill to Expand John Muir National Historic Site | Press Release | U.S. House of Representative | March 30, 2017

Carr Ranch Saved | Lamorinda Weekly | November 30, 2016

EBMUD acquires 604-acre Carr Ranch for $4.47 million, will open to hikers | KRON4 | November 25, 2016

John Muir Land Trust recognized, accredited | Martinez Tribune | August 2016

Local Spots Celebrate National Parks' Centennial | Lamorinda Weekly | May 18, 2016

Readers help land trust raise $100,000 | Mercury News | April 28, 2016

Gala to Give Glimpse of Carr Ranch Property | Lamorinda Weekly | April 20, 2016

$25,000 challenge grant issued in Carr Ranch campaign | Mercury News | April 7, 2016