By Carolyn Jones, July 28, 2010
So many tears - of grief, of rage, of joy - have been shed over Franklin Canyon, you'd think the creeks would overflow.
But the 20-year emotional rollercoaster is finally over. The 483-acre property near Hercules, together with its sister parcel, 702-acre Fernandez Ranch, are forever saved from development thanks to a last-minute gift from the city of Hercules.
"I had prayed for years that those houses and hotels would never get built. And then, lo and behold, the people of Hercules agreed with me," said Susan Fernandez, a sixth-generation Pinole resident whose family had raised wheat and cattle on the land since the 1850s. "I still can't believe it."
In an anxiety-fraught deal that came down to the final hours, the Muir Heritage Land Trust secured $3.3 million to buy Franklin Canyon from overseas investors who had hoped to build a development called Green Park, consisting of 1,000 homes, hotels and a shopping center. More than 3,000 oak trees were to be removed. + Continue reading
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
Muir land trust bags parcel, erasing development plan | San Francisco Business Times | August, 2009
Land trust to buy 423 acres near Hercules | San Francisco Chronicle | August 2008
Open space to stay that way (pdf) | Contra Costa Times | August 2008
Open space victory (pdf) | Contra Costa Times - OpEd | August 2008
Keep It Wild (pdf)| Autumn 2008 Horizons Newsletter