April 18, 2018. MARTINEZ, CA — John Muir Land Trust ( JMLT, jmlt.org) announces the Campaign To Save Almond Ranch, an effort to protect a stunning 281-acre property south of downtown Martinez that has been a top priority of land conservationists for decades.
JMLT has the privately-owned cattle ranch under contract and is seeking to raise $4 million by the end of 2019. Saving Almond Ranch from development — the alternative outcome — would preserve an intact habitat corridor for wildlife, connect important major trails for the very first time, link large conserved landscapes, and open the property’s beautiful rolling hills along the Franklin Ridge to hikers, dog walkers, cyclists, bird watchers, equestrians, and nature lovers of all ages.
“Almond Ranch is the proverbial ‘missing piece,’” says Linus Eukel, Executive Director of John Muir Land Trust. “All of the benefits of conservation literally intersect here. The ranch protects habitat and clean water, offers close-to-home outdoor recreation, and makes critical trail connections that have been on everyone’s wish list for decades.”
The Campaign To Save Almond Ranch is launched with a first commitment of $1 million from the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD, ebparks.org) using funds made available by voters’ approval of Measure WW in 2008 for high priority community park projects.
Almond Ranch adds one of the most important missing segments to the visionary 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail (ridgetrail.org) that seeks to encircle the entire Bay Area.
Almond is one of only two remaining acquisitions needed to complete the 50-mile Carquinez Strait Scenic Loop Trail around the waters and atop the rolling hills of two counties. Almond Ranch connects for the first time three large landscapes in Contra Costa County that comprise fully 18,000 acres of protected open space: the combined Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline and Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline (1,758 acres to the north), Briones Regional Park (6,255 acres to the south), and the 10,000-acre area to the west known as the Franklin Ridge Wildlife and Trail Corridor that JMLT defined for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife fifteen years ago.
JMLT has been acquiring properties along Franklin Ridge since its founding in 1989. Almond Ranch is described as the “missing heart” at the intersection of six of these: Dutra, Gustin, Sky, Stonehurst, Mount Wanda, and West Hills Farm. Adding Almond would create a 1,380-acre integrated landscape that offers delightful recreation for human visitors and an unbroken wildlife corridor for the myriad species who thrive here.