Save Mount Diablo
Save Mount Diablo logo Save Mount Diablo shopping cart
About SMD Why We Care Lands Activities News How to Help Partners Contact

Mount Diablo - Blackbird Fields
  About SMD > History  
  » Mission  
  » Board of Directors
  » Staff  
  » Founders
  » FAQs  
  » History
·  Founding
·  Accomplishments
  » Mountain Star Awards  
  » Financials  
  Join Us  
  Sign Up  



The Founding of Save Mount Diablo

Extraordinary changes in land use development took place in Contra Costa County during the 1960's and helped lead to Save Mount Diablo's formation on December 7, 1971, during the rapid expansion of the environmental movement following the first Earth Day.

Public perception at the time was that the State Park included the entire mountain. The truth was the State Park stood alone at the summit and down to Rock City, a solitary 6,788 acres. Except for the drive to the summit, you could not easily get into the Park. None of the low elevation staging areas or trails existed, none of the city or regional open spaces had been created, and local environmentalists became increasingly alarmed as subdivisions started creeping up to the mountain's foothills. A flashpoint in these applications was the Scott development at Walnut Creek's Shell Ridge.

At meetings of local conservation groups Dr. Mary Bowerman, a student of the mountain's botany since 1930 and author of The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo, California, would rise to ask "What can we do to help save Mount Diablo." Finally Arthur Bonwell, Chairman of the Mount Diablo Regional Group of the Sierra Club, responded, "why don't we start a group to focus on expanding the State Park?" Bowerman provided the inspiration, Bonwell helped get things organized, and on December 7, 1971 a first meeting was held.

SMD was initially made up of representatives from organizations--city recreation commissions, hiking, biking and horsemen's clubs, an archery club, the AAUW, the Sierra Club, the Contra Costa Park Council, etc.--whoever it was thought might have an interest. The initial goal was to protect and preserve Mount Diablo, primarily by pushing for legislative attention and state park bond acts. It was decided to maintain a narrow focus on the mountain and to avoid other issues.

From the beginning, Save Mount Diablo responded to development applications, beginning with the Morgan Territory Estates project and the proposal for Blackhawk, seeking to stop development or preserve sensitive areas as a condition of its approval.

Before long, SMD decided that one of the best ways to spur acquisition would be to help raise money to acquire land. In 1976 the group made its first acquisition, 117 acres at the corner of Marsh Creek and Morgan Territory Roads, strategically expanding the State Park to the northeast.

Also from the beginning, Save Mount Diablo worked with other organizations and agencies to achieve its goals. It aided and encouraged the East Bay Regional Park District and various cities as they began creating preserves in the mountain's foothills. By the 1980s the group's focus had expanded from simply park expansion to secondary goals of the creation of wildlife and recreational corridors connecting the various parks.

Park management is a secondary goal for the group, but Save Mount Diablo has weighed in on many policy issues, including grazing and the removal of communication towers. It has built and sponsored a variety of recreational projects, such as the repair of picnic areas and the creation of campgrounds, and has restored habitat and species such as the endangered peregrine falcon. SMD's Board of Directors has gradually expanded the organization's Area of Interest as parks expanded and the group's capacity increased.

In 1980 SMD incorporated as a non-profit corporation. Over the years, SMD's 'representative' structure boiled down to a committed Board of Directors. In 1988 the group hired its first staff and in 1996 opened its first office. From a membership of 1,000 supporters in 1988, by 2001 the group included 6,000.

From a single park and 6,788 acres in 1971, high on the mountain's slopes, today forty parks and preserves are found on and around Mount Diablo, stretching from Walnut Creek to Brentwood and Livermore, totaling more than 100,000 acres.

Top of Page

Celebrating Years of Success:
A Summary of Accomplishments1971-2014

2014: Another 51 acres in the Morgan Territory area was purchased which included an arcing 3,100 foot section of Marsh Creek that inspired the property’s name: Big Bend. Our expanding Land department continued to monitor 51 planning agendas and 36 active development projects, including a proposal to annex Doolan Canyon to build at least 2,000 more houses in Dublin. In response, we helped form a coalition of Dublin residents and started a successful grassroots signature drive to create an East-side Urban Limit Line. We helped lead the “No on Measure T” campaign and defeated the developer’s “green-washed” version, which would have undone the Urban Limit Line and allowed development in the Canyon. Restoration began on one of Mount Diablo’s volcanic domes located on our Marsh Creek 6 property, beginning with demolishing the unstable structures, removing approximately 600,000 pounds of debris, and finally sowing seedlings of native bunchgrass. Our annual BioBlitz occurred in a portion of the Morgan Fire burn area, making the most of the unique opportunity for post-fire analysis. We also created the “Mary Bowerman Science and Research Program” to encourage scientific research on the mountain, and the pilot program awarded its first mini-grants to seven local researchers to study the mountain’s regeneration over the next three years. The overall Grand Prize winner of our second annual Scholastic Photo Contest, 8th grader Allen Abbot, was the guest speaker at our largest and most successful Moonlight on Mountain event yet, hosting nearly 600 guests.

2013: With the help of a generous grant from the Coastal Conservancy and a loan, we made the largest and most expensive purchase in our history: $7.2 million for 1,080-acre Curry Canyon Ranch. Curry Canyon Ranch is a key wildlife corridor and trail connector that’s surrounded by Mount Diablo State Park on three sides, and was previously the largest remaining unprotected canyon on Diablo’s main peaks.  After 15 years of defending Roddy Ranch with our allies, East Bay Regional Park District approved an agreement to purchase and permanently preserve the 1,885-acre property which is a confirmed endangered species habitat and important wildlife corridor in Antioch.  In addition to stewarding our own properties, we managed 590 acres for East Bay Regional Park District on our former Thomas Home Ranch and Irish Canyon properties.  We also maintained oak and buckeye tree planting sites at the Irish Canyon Riparian Restoration Project on behalf of the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy. Our first Scholastic Photo Contest for students in grades K-12 was hosted by Empire Realty Associates and received almost 400 entries. Nearly 500 people joined us for our unique Diablo 3D & Symphony event, featuring photography by Stephen Joseph and an original score written by Ron Paquette and performed by the Contra Costa Wind Symphony.  Assemblywoman Buchanan helped pass legislation to allow Save Mount Diablo to oversee the work and fundraising to restore the historic Beacon atop Mount Diablo on behalf of California State Parks. We surpassed our fundraising goal of $100,000 thanks to the monetary and in-kind contributions from hundreds of individual donors and businesses.

2012: When the State Park was unable to accept Lot 25 – a 5-acre section of Marsh Creek in the Morgan Territory area – due to budget cuts, we worked with the City of Clayton and the Diablo Pointe developer to transfer the property to Save Mount Diablo for preservation.  We also purchased our first property in the Tassajara area, Highland Springs – 105 acres carved by two beautiful steep stream canyons on the face of Highland Ridge. We transferred 135 acres of our Thomas Home Ranch property to the East Bay Regional Park District, the remaining 10.5 of which we held on to for continued restoration. Prior to the handover, 20,000 pounds of debris were removed and recycled, and 10 cubic yards of debris and hazardous waste were cleaned up from Kirker Creek. The second edition of our Diablo Regional Trail Map was updated to include 10,000 acres of newly protected lands. A GIS grant received from ESRI will allow staff and volunteers to continue to update maps with newly preserved lands and trails. Coalition work continued in response to the “Dublin Preserve” development project in Doolan Canyon and to ongoing efforts at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. We continued to defend the Urban Limit Line from the “New Farm” project in the Tassajara area and began a campaign to strengthen the Urban Limit Line countywide. In the community, Advancement Committee member Sue Ohanian worked with local plein air artists to curate a beautiful show for the Thomas Celebration and Art Sale which yielded funding and awareness for our land programs.

2011: We acquired four new properties, three of which are located on Marsh Creek in the Morgan Territory area – Marsh Creek 5, 6 and 7 (7.4, 5.74 and 7.6 acres, respectively).  The fourth property was the 145.5-acre Thomas Home Ranch, located at the intersection of Kirker Pass and Nortonville Roads just south of Pittsburg, which we acquired at an estate court auction by outbidding a potential developer. We monitored 42 planning agendas and responded to 32 land use projects, including the New Farm-Tassajara project and the Faria-Pittsburg project. Two communication tower building proposals were blocked to protect the natural beauty of the landscape and decrease threats to birds. We lobbied for Local Agency Formation Commission appointments, County Supervisor Redistricting, and State Park funding. We also helped create coalitions to respond to the “Dublin Preserve” development project in Doolan Canyon and to an Alameda County Solar Policy. Our continued involvement in the community coalition on the land use plan of the decommissioned Concord Naval Weapons Station resulted in  over 60% of the 5,000 acres designated as  parks, open space and a new regional park. Our stewardship team continued maintenance on our properties, including the installation of gates at Oak Hill and Moss Rock to prevent off-roading and illegal dumping. Our Dry Creek and Oak Hill properties were each provided with six car parking areas to allow easier trail access for us to lead public hikes. A pilot grassland restoration project was started at Mangini Ranch. With the help of an Eagle Scout and his friends, a trail was built on our Dry Creek property to allow access for a blue oak restoration project on the property.

2010: Three more properties were acquired: Dry Creek – 5 acres near Brentwood, Oak Hill – 40 acres between Viera and Wright Canyon, and a 20 acre property along Morgan Territory Road. The Irish Canyon property was transferred to the EBRPD with the help of the ECC Habitat Conservancy. The stewardship committee, guided by the newly hired Stewardship Coordinator, planted oaks and built trails on Irish Canyon and tended to some 500 natives that were planted on Marsh Creek IV. PG&E helped out by donating a pick-up truck to haul tools, materials, trash and sometimes event supplies. There were two efforts to change the voter-approved Urban Limit Line: Measure F in Brentwood and Measure W in San Ramon (threatening the Tassajara Valley). SMD teamed up with local residents and other environmental groups and defeated both measures. SMD was one of the major supporters of Proposition 21, the State Park Access Pass. The defeat of this measure means less funding for Mount Diablo State Park’s operations and maintenance. SMD successfully finished its first capital campaign to raise the funds needed to preserve Viera – North Peak forever.

2009: We finalized acquisition of Marsh Creek - IV, 2.65 acres including a stretch of Marsh Creek and a connection to another protected property. Our most important acquisition of the year was signing a purchase agreement for the Viera property, 165 acres on the slopes of Mt. Diablo’s North Peak - a high priority since 1971.  Viera is one of the highest points in the East Bay at 2,300 ft. and is inhabited by over 50 rare plants as well as unique and threatened animals. We increased our stewardship program involving hundreds of volunteers in 21 restoration projects on our properties including creating a new trail with the help of East Bay Trail Dogs and the REI – Brentwood store . Grants from REI and the HEDCO Foundation allowed SMD to purchase an Off-road Utility Vehicle to assist. We monitored 35 different weekly planning agendas and responded to 42 development projects around Mt. Diablo - from cell tower proposals all the way to the Los Vaqueros reservoir expansion. In four different projects, SMD defended against attempts to develop or encroach upon homeowner open space. As a part of the Community Coalition for a Sustainable Concord, SMD helped preserve a minimum of 3,200 acres of parks and open space from the Concord Naval Weapons Station reuse.  As a member of the Save Our State Parks coalition, SMD helped block the closing of over 200 state parks, including Mt. Diablo. Applications were withdrawn for 4 subdivisions – totaling 1,102 acres of rolling grassland in the Tassajara hills. These projects would have lead to fragmentation of wildlife habitat and corridors, while also impacting East Bay Regional Park District’s planned park. SMD formed a coalition to defend the Tassajara Valley from development threats outside of the Urban Limit line. Our first 50K run had 50 participants and rave reviews. The BayWood Artists captured Mt. Diablo in a year’s worth of paintings for a grand exhibit benefitting SMD’s land programs.

2008: SMD has protected six parcels (through acquisition and land use planning) totaling 399 acres. In addition we are about to transfer our 333 acre Chaparral Spring property to East Bay Regional Park District so that it can be opened to the public. We closed negotiations on additional properties in the Marsh Creek area including the 17 acre Marsh Creek II and the 2.65 acre Marsh Creek IV property.  We helped stop two attempts to break Urban Limit lines and have responded to 42 other development applications. SMD was one of the three largest donors to support the passing of Measure WW in Alameda and Contra Costa County. Measure WW includes about $65 million for land acquisition and recreation facilities around Mt. Diablo. In stewardship, we managed to work on 37 work projects on properties including building four new trails, repairing a pond, installing 3.5 miles of fencing and beginning oak restoration at Irish Canyon. Another great reason why preserving open space is beneficial was the discovery of two new wildflower species at Lime Ridge in Walnut Creek including the Lime Ridge navarretia and the Lime Ridge woollystar.

2007: In 2007 Save Mount Diablo closed escrow on Irish Canyon and Marsh Creek-I, preserving a total of 537 acres. The volunteer map committee worked for two years to produce the most accurate trail map of Mt. Diablo, Los Vaqueros and Surrounding Parks featuring the Diablo Trail. The map features 250,000 acres (90,000 of which are protected), and 520 miles of public trails highlighting the 30 mile Diablo Trail. Funding was provided by REI. SMD completed 42 work projects on our properties in an effort to clean up and restore the natural habitat and create recreational opportunities consistent with protection of those natural resources. We conducted BioBlitz on Irish Canyon and together with 16 volunteer scientists and experts counted 297 species in a 24-hour period. On Mangini we undertook a trash removal project, built fencing around sensitive habitat to protect and allow natural restoration. We installed a monument on Mangini in appreciation of the Mangini Family’s help in preserving the Ranch. The East Bay Trail Dogs helped build new trails on Chaparral Spring and Mangini and maintained trails on Young Canyon. Two board members were honored for their extraordinary volunteer efforts: Scott Hein, was awarded the Threads of Hope award from Diablo Magazine and Don de Fremery was awarded the Oliver Kehrlein Award given by the National Sierra Club.

2006: SMD completed the Mangini Acquisition with the help of Gary Bogue, EBRPD Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation and numerous donors. Other acquisitions included purchasing the 18 acre Young Canyon property, completion of the Gateway Conservation Easement, and signing the purchase agreement for Irish Canyon . “Speak of The Devil: The Unexpected Landscape of Mount Diablo” is published as an educational guide about Mt. Diablo, and supplement to Bay Nature magazine. SMD assisted with the passage of Proposition 84 to provide $5.4 billion for water quality and land conservation, and passage of Measure L to create a county urban growth boundary that will be in effect for 25 years. We also helped to successfully oppose Prop 90.

2005: The 33 acre Brandt property, part of the canyon adjacent to SMD’s Wright Canyon, was preserved. In Alamo, 62 out of 100 acres are preserved when the 39 unit Humphrey project is proposed, including funding for preservation of 193 additional acres. SMD takes over sponsoring the Mount Diablo Challenge, a 10+ mile cycling race to the summit. All of the funding has been raised for the 36 acre property at the State Park's Northgate entrance -- a visual, recreational and wildlife corridor gateway to the mountain. On April 26, the Contra Costa County Planning Commission approved a redesign of the 221 acre Fox Ridge Manor project at the corner of Cowell Ranch State Park. 211 acres are being preserved, including the flood plain of sinuous Briones Valley creek. We started the acquisition process of the historic 207 acre Mangini Ranch adjacent to Lime Ridge Open Space. The Mangini Ranch contains the headwaters of Galindo creek, a beautiful oak woodland bowl filled with rare plants. SMD ended the year by relocating to a larger office space enabling it to work more efficiently with staff and in office volunteers. The Mt. Diablo Buckwheat is rediscovered after being presumed extinct for almost 70 years. Sadly, SMD Co-Founder Dr. Mary Bowerman passed away in August of 2005.

2004: Ended 16 years of work to preserve the more than 3000 acre Riggs Canyon, when the 232-acre Jones property at the canyon mouth was protected with a conservation easement. Fundraising was completed for the 36 acre Gateway property easement- $1.56 million. We aided EBRPD in additions of 160 acres (Shapell-Elworthy) to Morgan Territory Reg. Preserve; 320 acres (Ennes) to Black Diamond Mines; and 617 acres (Souza) to Vasco Caves. We reached agreement with Lemke Company and Clayton over the Claretian Seminaries site, with a dedication to Mt. Diablo State Park and a major precedent, removal of an existing house to restore the Mt. Diablo Creek corridor. The 4000-unit Sand Creek Specific Plan (FUA#1) in Antioch was tabled. SMD supported Measure J, the successful renewal of the County's transportation sales tax, with major environmental components and requiring cities to adopt voter-approved Urban Growth Boundaries like the County's Urban Limit Line. Our 33rd Anniversary, Moonlight on the Mountain, raised more than our goal of $100,000 net; we honored Bob Duchi and Stephen Joseph with Mountain Star awards. Our events schedules included more than 120 hikes and other events celebrating the mountain. We received a grant from REI to publish a new trail map including the Diablo Trail and mapped a route for the 60 mile "Diablo Grand Loop," which will be possible if two small areas are preserved. We began leading hikes at the new 4,000 acre Cowell Ranch State Park, where 5,000 houses had been proposed. State budget cuts closed Diablo's Summit Museum and threatened the State Park; the Summit Museum was reopened. We completed histories regarding Walter P. Frick, who once owned much of the west face of Mt. Diablo; the preservation of Riggs Canyon; and the eye of Diablo, the summit beacon.

2003: In January SMD acquired the 20 acre Morgan Red Corral and the 63 acre Joseph Galvin Ranch. With the Mt. Diablo Gateway Alliance, the group had largely secured funding to acquire a conservation easement at the Gateway property. Cowell Ranch State Park was dedicated in May, and a monument to Jeremiah Morgan at the Red Corral in June. In July SMD's 427-acre Silva Ranch was added to Mt. Diablo State Park along with a new Tassajara Creek trail. SMD opposed the Los Vaqueros expansion ballot item. SMD added a fourth staff person to help with events and fundraising.

2002: More than 4,000 acres were added to Diablo preserves, including sensual 3,647 acre Cowell Ranch State Park, nearly completing a grassland, ridgeline corridor from Los Vaqueros to Black Diamond Mines. The Newry dedication added 184 acres to Black Diamond as an extension to the Ridge Trail there. A Montecito staging area and dedication was added to Lime Ridge at the old Sand Quarry. Two Seeno projects were stopped in Pittsburg and the company was penalized for violating the Endangered Species Act-including preservation of Seeno's 640 acre Morgan Territory Ranch and a $1 million fine. SMD continued opposition to FUA#1 and the County Open Space funding measure. In 2002 SMD expanded its Area of Interest to include the lands around Altamont Pass. Five peregrine falcon chicks fledged at Diablo.

2001: On December 10, 2001 SMD celebrated its 30th Anniversary. EBRPD honored the organization and its founders by naming the crest of Highland Ridge in Morgan Territory as “Founders Ridge." In 2001 it helped secure additional acreage at Highland Ridge, and acquired the Wright/Curry property, to provide a new entrance to the State Park from the east. Its land use efforts resulted in an addition to Lime Ridge Open Space. It helped the Trust for Public Land in fundraising efforts at Cowell Ranch and continued efforts related to a Contra Costa East County Habitat Conservation Plan, Tassajara development, Future Urban Area #1 and Roddy Ranch in Antioch, and the Montreaux project in Pittsburg.

2000: SMD helped fund the final part of Clayton Ranch, helped secure an addition to Diablo Foothills, and supported expansion of Brushy Peak. It helped in the new EBRPD Measure W effort and supported improvements in Regional Park grazing policies. It helped lead efforts to tighten Contra Costa County’s Urban Limit Line. Co-founders Arthur Bonwell and Dr. Mary Bowerman received Diablo Publication’s "Threads of Hope" Award for Lifetime Achievement and Seth Adams, SMD's Director of Land Programs, received The John Muir Memorial Association's "John Muir Conservation Award."

Top of Page

1999: SMD acquired the Silva Ranch, negotiated an 1123 acre easement at Roddy Ranch, extending preserved open space four miles toward Round Valley, and helped acquire and fund Turtle Rock Ranch. Its work resulted in the final Blackhawk dedication in the Blackhills, Oyster Pt. Area. It supported expansion of Brushy Peak, helped fund Clayton Ranch and helped secure additions to Diablo Foothills and Round Valley.

1998: Co-founder Mary Bowerman received Contra Costa County's "Women of Achievement Hall of Fame" award. SMD established new acquisition priorities including an expansion of its focus to include several new areas. It helped preserve Garaventa, the hole in the doughnut at Black Diamond Mines and a former proposed landfill site; negotiated a dedication at Athenian School and aided the EBRPD in the funding to acquire the first part of 1,030 acre Clayton Ranch. It also negotiated significant open space preservation along the Las Trampas to Mt. Diablo Regional Trail.

1997: Save Mount Diablo hired its first Executive Director, opened its first office, and completed an organizational planning study. The local council of the Boy Scouts of America presented SMD with an Award for Achievement in Environmental Enhancement and former president Susan Watson with "Environmentalist of the Year." It helped preserve Vasco Caves, after long involvement in the configuration of Los Vaqueros and the new Vasco Road. It led efforts to stop the Pittsburg Southeast Hills Annexation adjacent to Black Diamond Mines and aided opposition to Cowell Ranch and Tassajara developments.

1996: SMD celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Co-founders Arthur Bonwell and Dr. Mary Bowerman received a Chevron-Times Mirror Magazine National Conservation Award, former president Susan Watson received the Contra Costa Times "Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement", and the organization was awarded the State Dept. of Parks and Recreation's "DeWitt Award" and a League of Women Voters "Citizen of Achievement" Award. It preserved Lower Sycamore Canyon in the Blackhills and supported the creation of Brushy Peak Regional Preserve. It aided in a three year East County Biodiversity Pilot Study.

1995: SMD conducted a strategic planning study. It aided in the expansion of Round Valley and helped secure the Round Valley staging area from the S.H. Cowell Foundation. Its land use efforts resulted in significant dedications to Lime Ridge Open Space. Seth Adams, SMD's Director of Land Programs, received a "Star of the Greenbelt" award from Greenbelt Alliance.

1994: SMD acquired 333-acre Chaparral Spring, the first effort to connect the State Park north to Black Diamond Mines, and aided in the expansion of Round Valley.

1993: SMD helped preserve and provided funding for further expansion of Morgan Territory RP into Riggs Canyon at the Musco/MAM property. It stopped development at Chaparral Spring - for a second time and helped improve the new Concord General Plan. Its land use planning efforts helped lead to the acquisition of the Newhall North & South properties for Lime Ridge Open Space. SMD officially proposed the 30-mile "Diablo Trail" across six open spaces from Walnut Creek to Brentwood and Livermore.

1992: SMD received the first Helen Crocker Russell Award from the San Francisco Foundation and was a finalist for a "Take Pride In America" Award. It acquired Three Springs, helped acquire land at the Morgan Territory staging area and proposed a Mt. Diablo to Black Diamond Mines corridor. It helped improve the Contra Costa County Hillside Ordinance, and began a nine year effort on the Sand Quarry project in Concord. It completed the 4th year of the Peregrine Falcon reintroduction program.

1991: SMD celebrated its 20th Anniversary and received a "Take Pride in California" award from the State. It stopped development at the Wirthman property at the Highland Ridge connection from Mt. Diablo State Park to Morgan Territory Reg. Preserve, allowing EBRPD to acquire this corner connection and allow trail access. It continued to lead support of the Mt. Diablo State Park General Plan and began a 5-year effort related to Clayton's Marsh Creek Specific Plan, holding off most of it until the Urban Limit Line was tightened. It began a nine year effort opposing development at Clayton Ranch, which was subsequently acquired by the EBRPD. It stopped proposed development at Chaparral Spring, which it later acquired, at Newhall North, which was later acquired, and of the Mariani property at the mouth of Riggs Canyon and on Highland Ridge.

1990: SMD supported the Black Diamond Arata acquisition in Markley Canyon. It helped improve the Northgate Specific Plan, aided Walnut Creek citizens with a growth control measure and its Measure N Park Bond, and helped lead the Measure F County Urban Limit Line effort. It organized support for Prop. 117- the Mt. Lion Initiative.

Top of Page

1989: SMD acquired the 631-acre Morgan Ranch in Riggs Canyon and on Highland Ridge, allowing the first connection from Mt. Diablo State Park to Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, further expanded with support of the Cardoza acquisition . It helped preserve Oyster Point. SMD helped in the fight against three Contra Costa landfill proposals, led preservation efforts at Rancho Paraiso, Crystyl Ranch, Athenian School and at Blackhills. It sponsored a referendum at Crystyl Ranch, resulting in 330 acres of open space.

1988: SMD hired its first staff, helped lead local efforts to qualify and pass the Prop. 70 CalPAW Parks Bond and Contra Costa efforts to pass the EBRPD Measure AA, providing significant new funding for the state and regional parks. It reintroduced peregrine falcons to Mt. Diablo. It aided Clayton creek preservation efforts and helped preserve sections of Mt. Diablo Creek, Camp Force in Lower Rock City, Perry in Riggs Canyon and on Highland Ridge. SMD helped lead the fight against the Diablo Foothills Freeway and three Contra Costa landfill proposals and pushed for the creation of Round Valley Regional Preserve. It also negotiated a 500 acre scenic easement at Clayton Valley Farms and pushed for recreational planning at Los Vaqueros. It helped organize support for the new Mt. Diablo State Park General Plan, limiting grazing- although SMD supports grazing at other parks and its own properties. It led the first backpacking trip on the proposed "Diablo Trail", made possible by recent acquisitions between the State Park and Morgan Territory.

1987: SMD conducts a fundraising and organizational expansion study. It began preservation efforts at Riggs Canyon, helped preserve Jackass Canyon, Castle Rock with the EBRPD, part of Curry Canyon, Blackhawk Ridge, and the addition of Bogue Ranch to Diablo Foothills.

1986: SMD helped preserve part of Curry Canyon, additional lands along Coyote Creek, and Morgan Territory Ridge

1985: SMD helped preserve more land in Pine Canyon for Diablo Foothills. It participated in the Contra Costa General Plan Congress.

1984: SMD helped in the transfer of the Black Point area from the BLM to the DPR, secured Land and Water Conservation Funding for the historic Soto Ranch acquisition and helped preserve part of the Shell Ridge, Briones to MD Trail area. It sought county review of the communication tower policy.

1983: SMD helped preserve the remainder of Mt. Olympia and Rhyne Canyon. It supported AB2099/ Prop 18 1984 State Parks bond.

1982: SMD attained designation of Mt. Diablo as a National Natural Landmark. It helped preserve Emmons Canyon, Rhyne Canyon and supported further expansion of Black Diamond Mines at Nortonville. It sought restoration of trails funding eliminated by the state legislature. It opposed subdivision of the Musco property in Riggs Canyon and on Highland Ridge. It attained grazing management improvements at the State Park.

1981: SMD celebrated its 10th Anniversary. It helped create Concord's Pine Hollow Open Space and negotiated dedication of the Regency Meadows Open Space. It opposed development at the Claretian Seminaries site in Clayton and secured legislative funding for acquisition.

1980: SMD incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It helped preserve North Peak and Prospectors Gap, Long Ridge, and more of Pine Canyon. It worked for improvement in the State Parks Commission State Park System 1980 Plan, opposed urbanization of Morgan Territory and development of the Newhall property (Lime Ridge), and supported down zoning in the Tassajara Valley. It supported the 1980 State Bond Act and urged recreation at the proposed federal Los Vaqueros reservoir. Its land use efforts led to the first of the Black hawk dedications of the Blackhills in the vicinity of Southgate Rd., Dan Cook Canyon, Wall Point, and Jackass Canyon, the largest dedication to that point to the State Park system, increasing the state park's size by nearly 25%.

Top of Page

1979: SMD opposed Bogue Ranch in Alamo and worked with EBRPD on a later dedication, responded to Pine Hollow and Clayton developments, and gained improvements in the new County Quarry Ordinance. It opposed PG&E high tension lines through Black Diamond and the State Park, resulting in their relocation outside of the Preserve. It supported designation of State Funding for the Las Trampas to Mt. Diablo Trail, Senator Nejedly's SB-547 1980 State Park Bond, his SB-5 appropriation for Clayton Oaks and Assemblyman Boatwright's appropriation from the 1974 state bond.

1978: SMD attained designation of Mt. Diablo as a State Historical Landmark, helped preserve the Oyster Point area above Blackhawk, and the Falls Trail area of Mt. Olympia. After the 1977 Mt. Diablo fire, it convinced the Contra Costa Times to use funds raised for revegetation instead for a disabled accessible "fire interpretive trail" near the summit. It opposed the Mountain Meadows development in Morgan Territory.

1977: In August, the largest fire in many years burned across Mt. Diablo’s north side. SMD helped preserve Macedo Ranch, Pine Ridge, and supported expansion of Black Diamond Mines. For the first time, it began consideration of an open space connection from the State Park to Black Diamond Mines and urged EBRPD to enlarge the Preserve into the Clayton area. It secured $2.25m in SB 341 for State Park additions at Pine Canyon. It proposed a Lime Ridge Trail from Concord BART to Mt. Diablo, the first effort to create a Lime Ridge connection. It requested and supported a new CC County Communication Tower Policy.

1976: SMD made its first direct acquisition, the “Corner Piece” — 117 acres at the corner of Morgan Territory and Marsh Creek Roads, miles from the State Park. It pushed for the creation of Diablo Foothills Regional Park, helped preserve Perkins Canyon, Pine Canyon and aided in the preservation of Coyote Creek at Morgan Territory. It aided local efforts for bond funding leading to the creation of Lime Ridge Open Space, secured $2 million for Mount Diablo in SB 1455 and supported the Prop. 2-State Park Bond Act. It opposed widening of Marsh Creek Road and new communication towers on North Peak (ultimately filing a lawsuit) and supported a new Contra Costa County 'Open Space Easement' ordinance.

1975: SMD helped preserve the remainder of Mitchell and White Canyons and pushed for the creation of Morgan Territory Regional Preserve and the expansion of Black Diamond Mines to include Nortonville. It supported Walnut Creek acquisition at Shell and Lime Ridges, secured Land & Water Conservation funding, and opposed the Curtola subdivision in Diablo.

1974: SMD began its first "April on the Mountain" hike and event series to popularize Diablo area open space. It supported the 1974 Park Bond Act with funding for state and regional parks and a local Walnut Creek bond for city open space. It opposed Blackhawk, a development below Donner Canyon and an Arroyo del Cerro flood control project, and pioneered the County's ridgeline and open space dedication policy.

1973: SMD helped preserve Donner Canyon, part of Mitchell Canyon, and pushed for the creation of Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and Shell Ridge Open Space, including support of state and local bonds for acquisition. It advised the East Bay Regional Park District on the first acquisitions for Diablo Foothills Regional Preserve. It began leading the open space preservation effort at Blackhawk, at the Bryan Ranch development (leading to the dedication of Emmons Canyon) and supported Senator Nejedly's SB 956 with funding for Lime Ridge Open Space, and use of County open space revenues for acquisition. It helped in the effort to stop County ground squirrel poisoning, which had been impacting rare predators

1972: SMD established priorities including the preservation of the mountain's major peaks and expansion of Mt. Diablo State Park to Morgan Territory and Highland Ridges. SMD also lobbied for creation of the County Tree Preservation Ordinance and opposed the Morgan Territory Estates development.

1971: Save Mount Diablo is convened on December 7, 1971, Pearl Harbor Day, at Heather Farms Garden Center in Walnut Creek. The organization immediately began lobbying for legislative funding, in this case specifically for passage of and funds from the Park Bond Act AB 3066.

Top of Page

  Credits | Legal StatementCopyright 2012 Save Mount Diablo. Designed by Alison Martin. Funded by Clif Bar.