Who We Are
photo: adam weidenbach

John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) serves the human and non-human residents of the East Bay counties of Alameda and Contra Costa by conserving land that supports the health and well-being of all. Thanks to you and a generous community of supporters, JMLT is celebrating our 30th anniversary.

Here’s a summary of 30 Years Ahead: A Brief History Of The Future, our reflection on a century of conservation in the East Bay and where we go next.

Our Actions, Their Future

The next three decades will be among the most dynamic we’ve ever seen. Forecasts call for the population in the East Bay to increase by 800,000 people over the next thirty years. This portends profound changes in the landscape as pressure mounts for more housing, more commercial services, and an expanding transportation footprint.

One implication is clear: land conservation is entering an endgame. What we achieve over the next few decades will fix the natural landscape of the East Bay for decades after that … in practical terms, forever. The good news is that we can shape what future residents will experience. That is a tremendous opportunity and a huge responsibility.

One hundred years ago, East Bay residents took that responsibility very seriously. They thought about us. It’s easy to take for the granted the natural paradise around us: the wild places that ring our cities and suburbs, the trails that intersect our neighborhoods, the untouched hills, the pristine watersheds, and our delightful parks. Making all this possible were ordinary people, yet also, visionaries who understood the need to experience nature nearby. They had us in mind when they set aside these remarkable places for our benefit.

"One hundred years ago, East Bay residents took that
responsibility very seriously. They thought about us."

Ninety years ago, these foresighted people said let’s take the surplus land created by the consolidation of the water companies, hire the firm founded by Frederick Law Olmsted, the most brilliant park architect of his day, and fulfill the vision the great man had imagined decades before. That idea became the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), the largest urban regional park system in the country.

Ninety years ago, visionaries said let’s petition for a state park that will protect our singular mountain and its surrounding lands. Let’s preserve forever Mt. Diablo and the sweeping views from its summit surpassed by few places on earth.

Over one hundred years ago, one local resident, our namesake, wrote the words that inspired the creation of our breathtaking national park system and set in motion the conservation movement in which we are all beneficiaries and participants.

And thirty years ago, a handful of neighbors sat around a kitchen table and launched John Muir Land Trust. They set our organization on a path to help achieve this grand vision for a place where people and wildlife, where thoughtful development and protected nature could exist side-by-side.

"And thirty years ago, a handful of neighbors sat around a
kitchen table and launched John Muir Land Trust."

We are doubly blessed: these visionaries did this for us, and we in turn, can do the same for generations yet to come. We live at a time when the social, legal, and technological resources allow us to make a huge and lasting difference in how future residents will live their lives.

Farms and ranches owned by families for decades are coming on the market. These critical missing pieces make conserved landscapes whole if protected, and irreparably scar them if developed. Smart development in the right places benefits us all. But, wild places such as Carr Ranch and Almond Ranch should endure as natural refuge. Not every farm and not every ranch will be saved. But, we can accomplish much. JMLT’s track record shows that. And what we do today could be impossible for our grandchildren decades hence.

"Our generation defines the landscape
that future generations—future us’s,
future we’s, future you and me’s—will inherit."

The grand vision imagined a century ago is not complete. The endgame is in sight. Our generation defines the landscape that future generations—future us’s, future we’s, future you and me’s—will inherit. Each new property is an opportunity to fill in a missing piece. Arm-in-arm with each other, inspired by those who shaped where we live today, we can make this grand vision a reality for all who come hereafter.

Let's get to work.

*To read 30 Years Ahead: A Brief History of the Future, please download here, or request a paper copy with an email to info@jmlt.org.