Volunteers Take Painted Rock A Step Closer To Becoming Lamorinda’s Newest Public Park
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2022
Contact: Linus Eukel, Executive Director
(925) 228-1130 direct, (925) 788-7525 mobile
New Trail Is Built By Volunteers for Outdoor California and John Muir Land Trust
MARTINEZ, CA – Unfazed by lack of shade and high temperatures over the weekend of May 19th-22nd, nearly 70 sweaty volunteers laid out the path, hauled rocks, dug dirt, removed plants, levelled out bumps and turns, and smoothed the ground for a delightful half mile of new trail that takes visitors from the top of Painted Rock in Moraga northerly to hundreds of adjacent acres that will open to the public in the near future.
Over 50 people worked the trail on Saturday, and on Sunday some 20 new volunteers provided the fresh energy to push to completion. A dozen industrious volunteers in camp and kitchen provided essential food, water, and enthusiastic logistics support. Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary contributed very generous funding. Acalanes Union High School District provided a base at Campolindo. This convenient location offered unusual luxuries such as soft grass, running water and bathrooms. Pleasantly exhausted overnight campers enjoyed outdoor games, a delicious dinner, and joyful music wafting through the refreshingly cool evening air.
The new trail was accomplished by yet another hugely successful collaboration between Volunteers for Outdoor California (V-O-Cal, v-o-cal.org ) and John Muir Land Trust (JMLT, jmlt.org) whose respective missions are simply made for each. JMLT acquires private land to protect in perpetuity as natural space open to the public and for protection of wildlife. V-O-Cal provides a large-scale volunteer workforce for trail construction and major renovation, habitat restoration, and related land stewardship activities that are essential for public agencies and nonprofit organizations such as JMLT to fulfill their visions. It is a powerhouse collaboration that produces enormous community value thanks to the many who generously contribute their time and money.
“Anyone who walks the trail will see a wonder that last Friday would have been almost impossible to envision,” says Eliot Hudson, Project Lead for V-O-Cal and Board Member of JMLT. “I am so proud of our volunteers! The biggest challenge was undoubtedly working in the hot sun. Everyone on the trail made amazing efforts, often stretching beyond what they thought they could do. On Sunday evening our crews were sweaty, dirty, exhausted and so happy!”
Painted Rock is best known as the place where generations of high schoolers have painted school-spirited messages for the motorists passing below. This highly visible and beloved landmark near the border of Moraga and Lafayette is being transformed from a literal signpost along Moraga Road into the anchor of a new public resource for the community —a 505-acre park open for everyone to enjoy.
This weekend’s project is another key step in that evolution, as the new trail will become the main route by which visitors will stroll from 935-foot Painted Rock summit down the slope to access the delights of the full park below. In the summer of 2019, thousands of donations from enthusiastic local residents raised the $2 million needed for John Muir Land Trust to acquire the 84-acre property. In the near future, conservation easements on an adjacent 421 acres—arranged by the Town of Moraga with the developers of residential construction nearby—will be added to complete a 505-acre park. This will be a place for respite, trail walking, stunning scenic views, natural habitat, and light recreation.
JMLT’s vision for Lamorinda is even bolder. The land trust is currently campaigning to Save Harvey Ranch, the 143-acre natural backdrop to Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga. If JMLT raises $4 million from the public by end of year, Harvey Ranch will become a new gateway into 15,000 acres of wilderness. Says Linus Eukel, Executive Director of JMLT, “It is a breathtaking vision. Imagine walking from the northern end of Painted Rock along delightful trails south to Harvey Ranch, and then along its spectacular ridgeline into the huge wilderness of Las Trampas Regional Wilderness and the San Leandro Watershed beyond. We thank V-O-Cal and everyone involved for another step forward. We’re halfway toward raising the funds we need to acquire Harvey Ranch. The enthusiasm of our supporters and volunteers gives us great hope that we can accomplish the big vision. Fingers crossed!”
About John Muir Land Trust
John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) protects and cares for open space, ranches, farms, parkland and shoreline in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. In a generation, John Muir Land Trust has become one of the leading forces for conservation in northern California. With 3,500 acres protected, many beautiful places in the East Bay are permanently preserved for recreation, wildlife habitat, and spectacular scenic views. JMLT believes that the vitality of our open spaces is essential to the health of our earth, air, water, native plants, and animals — and all of us. jmlt.org
About Volunteers for Outdoor California
Volunteers for Outdoor California, (V-O-Cal) provides a volunteer workforce for large-scale trail construction and renovation projects, habitat restoration, and related land stewardship activities on public lands in partnership with public agencies and other nonprofit organizations. V-O-Cal provides the project planning and volunteer supervision for our land manager partners. A typical project accumulates hundreds of planning hours and provides the equipment, trained crew leaders, and quality control monitoring for the project itself. v-o-cal.org