JMLT recently purchased this 44-acre historic farm adjacent to Mount Wanda, and is donating West Hills Farms to the John Muir National Historic Site. If not for your generous support, this vital wildlife habitat would have been developed as residential housing.
Congress moved halfway to final approval by passing U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 1289 — the John Muir National Historic Site Expansion Act —to authorize the acquisition. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D) and attracted wide bipartisan support. West Hills Farm will open to the public after U.S. Senate approval.
The property is linked to the Franklin Ridge corridor, which provides varied terrain and unbroken habitat for native wildlife, including the Alameda whipsnake — a federally listed threatened species — plus California red-legged frog and western pond turtle, as well as rich foraging grounds for Cooper’s hawk, white-tailed kite, northern harrier, golden eagles and red-tailed hawk.
West Hills Farm lies within the Alhambra Creek watershed, and protecting it means that valuable waterways and water quality are also preserved. Strentzel Creek, named after John Muir’s father-in-law, traverses the land and flows into Alhambra Creek.
The acquisition preserves the historic nature of the former fruit farm, and visitors will enjoy stunning views of Briones Regional Park and the Alhambra Hills from the property’s hilltops. John Muir often walked the farm’s trails with his two daughters to admire the coast live oak, blue oak, valley oak, and bay trees that grow there, as well as the native shrubs, perennials, grasses and annual wildflowers that punctuate its grassy hillsides.
The acquisition expands an extensive trail system for hikers, bikers and equestrians, including critical connections to the 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail and to nearby JMLT protected lands along the Franklin Ridge corridor. Under JMLT’s stewardship future generations will now share in the same delights as Muir’s daughters, exploring the lovely property’s plant and wildlife.
House OKs John Muir park expansion - Contra Costa Times - September 2015
Bill aims to protect East Bay land close to Muir's heart - San Francisco Chronicle -