Be grateful for the folks behind the John Muir Land Trust—and consider donating to the Saving Contra Costa campaign if you can. This 25-year-old organization devoted to outdoor recreation and preservation of open space manages 11 properties comprising more than 2,000 acres of classic East Bay hills, ranches, streams and shoreline saved from development and offering multi-use trails for hiking, cycling, horses and dogs.
If Daisy stays close and has a reliable recall, she’s welcome to accompany you off-leash as you take in an intoxicating dose of fresh air. Some JMLT properties are diminutive (Acalanes Ridge above Lafayette, for example, comprises just 23 acres), while the Franklin Canyon–Fernandez Ranch complex in the Martinez-Hercules areas sprawls over 1,185 acres of permanently protected open space.
Public access to Franklin Canyon began earlier this year, with paths providing connectors to the Bay Area Ridge and San Francisco Bay Trails. Another collection of JMLT open-space gems lies in the collective Gustin Ranch, Sky Ranch and Dutra Ranch properties, which between them offer 480 acres of contiguous open space along Franklin Ridge.
John Muir, the beloved naturalist, lived in Martinez for years and often took his daughters, Helen and Wanda, wandering with him in the hills. Mount Wanda, offering views of the Carquinez Strait, Mount Diablo and other Bay Area landmarks, is named after the younger sibling.
Axel hiking Acalanes Ridge. Photo Credit: Karen Booth
Hiking Stonehurst. Photo Credit: JMLT
West Hills Farm. Photo Credit: JMLT