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Your Help is Urgently Needed

John Muir Land Trust is one third of the way through our current campaign to protect the most threatened properties in the East Bay Hills — a landscape that defines our region’s rich natural heritage. These hills are a treasured resource running north to south through Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. They are beloved by millions today, and essential for the health and well-being of generations to come. We need your help.

Imagine a large jigsaw puzzle on your family dining room table — a beautiful photograph of these hills — but with many missing pieces. Help fill those in. Recent acquisitions such as beautiful Carr Ranch demonstrate that we can do this together. JMLT is entering contract on new acquisitions and actively negotiating more. Your support keeps us moving forward.

The East Bay is Most at Risk

The Bay Area’s sizzling economy and surging housing market put enormous development pressure on precious natural lands. Contra Costa is the single most threatened county. The populations of Alameda County and Contra Costa County will experience a 30% increase over the next thirty years. That is the equivalent of adding three times the current population of Marin County to the East Bay(!)

A landmark study* projects that nearly 300,000 acres of Bay Area land are at risk of sprawl development over the next 30 years. Contra Costa has 1 of every 5 acres of those threatened lands. That’s 62,000 acres. Contra Costa has 41% of the area’s at-risk critical habitat lands, and the most land at high risk in the next ten years — enough to cover an area the size of the city of Concord. The East Bay lags in percentage of land protected: while Marin comes in first (56%); Contra Costa (26%) and Alameda (22%) are less than half that.

Why This is So Important Now

Fragmented habitat is one of the greatest threats to our wildlife. The East Bay Hills form a permanent regional preserve of connected ecosystems of ridgelines, riparian valleys, oak woodlands, and open grasslands. This unbroken habitat shelters special-status species such as mountain lions, golden eagles, western pond turtles, the threatened Alameda whipsnake, and the endangered California red-legged frog. Acquiring critical parcels will help keep it intact.
Watershed lands absorb and filter rainwater, then feed local rivers, streams, ponds and reservoirs. The waterways in our hills are unusual in that they are largely open and in their natural state, making them an exceptionally pristine source of clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands of East Bay families.
Trail Connections, Land Connections
Public parks and preserved open space are vital to the health of a community. What’s truly special in our area is that the East Bay Hills are woven into a well-designed fabric of connectors and trails that criss-cross our community. Each new acquisition adds vital new connections.
Preserving the Magic of the East Bay
A bucolic buffer for mind and spirit, our hills give kids a chance to experience nature. Any parent of a child with a smartphone knows that today’s youth are the generation most at risk of losing a personal connection to the outdoors. These lands provide a daily reminder of the natural beauty around us, and why we have chosen to live here. Protecting them preserves the character of our community for generations to come.

A Unique Moment in Time

The stars in our universe are aligned in way we may not see again. JMLT is working with highly motivated and conservation-minded sellers who want their land to be preserved. In a gesture of extraordinary generosity, these owners are granting JMLT options to purchase at greatly reduced prices. We can seize this moment now or lose it.

Over the years, JMLT supporters have made possible a wonderful string of successes. Fernandez Ranch was just expanded. Our successful $7 million campaign for Carr Ranch — a success that you made possible — was celebrated when Carr Ranch opened to the public a few weeks ago. It is a gateway to over 15,000 acres of spectacular wilderness within minutes of our homes — in a major metropolitan area no less.

We Urgently Need Your Help

We’re on a roll. You can help. In a world of uncertain outcomes, it is certain that we can do this together.

*At Risk: The Bay Area Greenbelt; Greenbelt Alliance, May 2017