A large parcel of 150 acres of pastoral land in Alhambra Valley was at risk of subdivision and development, but at the time, no effective organization existed to defend it. The Martinez Regional Land Trust – which would eventually become the John Muir Land Trust – was incorporated in 1989 to protect this open space with a conservation easement.
Contra Costa County had granted a developer the right to build on 5-acre lots on the property, but he instead built the houses on 1.5-acre lots, creating 150 acres of open space with the intention of giving the development rights back to the county. But the county voided a scenic easement for the property, allowing the landowner to build there.
JMLT’s soon-to-be founders weren’t happy with the decision, and set out to form a land protection organization that could hold the development rights in perpetuity. In 1991, Stonehurst’s developer transferred the rights to the 150 acres of open space to the fledgling land trust, making it our first acquisition.
Today this beautiful area is open to Stonehurst residents, who enjoy walking the open space. The land will always be protected, providing recreational opportunities for families and habitat for native wildlife.
The Stonehurst property is located off Alhambra Valley Road outside Martinez. From Highway 4: Take the Alhambra Avenue/Martinez exit. Drive south on Alhambra Avenue about .3 miles. Make a right onto Alhambra Valley Road and drive approximately 2.5 miles (staying right at the “T” with Reliez Valley Road) to Vaca Creek Road. Make a right. The hiking trail entrance is 100 yards ahead on the left.