October 24, 2014

Keep development off John Muir’s hill

A curved oak tree 700 feet above sea level at the top of the 2,600-acre ranch that John Muir and his family used to own, overlooking the entire city and Bay. Photo by David H. Collier.

A curved oak tree 700 feet above sea level at the top of the 2,600-acre ranch that John Muir and his family used to own, overlooking the entire city and Bay. Photo by David H. Collier.

John Muir may roll over in his grave. At least his grave will be close enough to hear the bulldozers if the Alhambra Hills development goes ahead–on land once part of Muir’s farm in Martinez (only two months ago, I found a map proving the prominent ridgeline was owned by Muir himself), and on hills filled with rare ridgeline oak trees shaped by the wind, where Muir used to wander.

For over 30 years this land has hung in the balance. In 2011 the city approved construction of 109 homes here, but Richfield Investment Corp. (based in Houston TX) agreed to delay grading for two years to give preservationists time to find money to purchase the land. In April the time ran out. We must act now to save this ridgeline.

Our hope is that the city of Martinez will join forces with others to find financing to save the site.

WhatYouCanDo

Sign the petition at www.AlhambraHillsOpenSpace.org. We received over 2,500 signatures in our first two weeks, thanks to the involvement of the Muir family and a small group of concerned residents.

While you’re at the web site, please click to join our e-mail list if you have ideas or resources to help.

Jamie Fox, Alhambra Hills Open Space Committee

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