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Project Sponsors:

Franklin Canyon, John Muir Land Trust
Aug 7-9, 2015

Acalanes Ridge View

Project Background
One of the most important projects ever undertaken by John Muir Land Trust, Franklin Canyon is a 483-acre property comprised of rolling hills, deep canyons, and spectacular panoramic views in every direction. Combined with JMLT's Fernandez Ranch, which is immediately adjacent, Franklin Canyon creates a 1,185-acre preserve of permanently protected open space in which people, plants and animals can thrive.

Wooded hills on the property, visible just south of the John Muir Parkway (Highway 4), provide a scenic display rising behind the Franklin Canyon Golf Course. A segment of Rodeo Creek flows perennially in Franklin Canyon, as well as key tributaries that contain water much of the year. JMLT is the permanent owner and steward of more than one-fifth of the land within the Rodeo Creek watershed.

A fragile ecosystem preserves habitat for a variety of special-status species such as Cooper's hawk, northern harrier, California red-legged frog and western pond turtle. Riparian scrub along Rodeo Creek includes arroyo willow, thickets of California blackberry and short-spiked hedge nettle. This vegetation serves as a movement corridor for both aquatic and terrestrial species, providing relatively secure cover along its length.

The area is especially well suited for hiking, with paths that provide important connectors to the 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail and the 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail. Dogs will be welcome! The property offers a striking and peaceful contrast to densely developed areas in nearby Hercules.

Trail Description
Nearly two miles of new trail will be constructed in order to open Franklin Canyon to the public. V-O-Ca lis responsible for building a section of that trail through sensitive riparian areas where careful hand work is required. The section is densely forested, so virtually all of the work will be shaded. The current plans also call for installation of two small bridges ("boardwalks") and a number of steps.

Level of Effort
Hiking: moderate
Manual Labor: mixed

Camp
Camping is open to volunteers Friday and Saturday nights. Food is also provided for volunteers from breakfast Saturday through lunch Sunday. While camping is optional and participants are able to participate for one day, this will be a unique opportunity to relax after the work day and camp in a festive atmosphere with other volunteers.The camp and staging areas will be at the picnic and staging area for Fernandez Ranch. Access is via Christie Road, which is a small road that can be accessed from eastbound Highway 4 only.

Carpooling, Public transportation and Parking
We encourage participants to carpool to this project.

Driving Directions

From I-80: Head east on Highway 4. Take the first exit after the Franklin Canyon Golf Course onto Christie Road. Use caution; Christie Road is a minor exit off of Highway 4. Fernandez Ranch is .7 miles down Christie Road on your right.

From Martinez: Head west on Highway 4. Take the Franklin Canyon Exit. Turn left and merge onto Highway 4 eastbound. Take the first exit after the Franklin Canyon Golf Course onto Christie Road. Use caution; Christie Road is a minor exit off of Highway 4. Fernandez Ranch is .7 miles down Christie Road on your right.

Preliminary Schedule
Friday
5pm - Registration and camping opens
Saturday
7:30am - Registration, light breakfast, and lunch prep begin.
8am - Morning greeting, announcements, stretching and safety talk. Project begins.
12:30pm - Break for lunch on trail.
3:30pm - Head back to camp.
4pm - Drinks, appetizers and socializing. Showers available.
6:15pm - Dinner and entertainment.
Sunday
8am - Registration, hot breakfast, and lunch prep.
8:30am - Morning greeting, announcements, stretching and safety talk. Project begins.
11:30am - Break for lunch on trail.
1:30pm - Head back to camp to pack gear and truck.
2pm - Celebrate the work and say goodbyes.

What to bring and wear
For your safety and protection from hazards, please be prepared with the following items:

  • Water, sun hat, and sunscreen. You will NOT be allowed on the trail without a water container.

  • Plates, utensils, coffee mug and a cup.
  • Work Gloves (if you do not have work gloves V-O-Cal can provide a pair to use).
  • Sturdy shoes or boots with tread. Working in sandals or open-toed shoes will not be permitted.
  • Day pack to carry water and lunch.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Insect repellent, allergy medicine, etc.
  • A change of clothes for each work day and for lounging at camp to minimize the spread of poison oak.
  • IF CAMPING: bring a tent, sleeping bag, folding chair, flashlight, and other camping gear. A coffee mug is also necessary. Also bring a change of clothes.
  • Meals
    V-O-Cal provides all meals for volunteers from breakfast Saturday through lunch Sunday. Vegetarian options are available for all meals.

  • Please bring your own reusable plates, coffee mug, cups and utensils. To minimize waste from our projects, we ask that you bring your own dishes. Hot water and soap are provided.
  • A continental breakfast is served Saturday morning.
  • Lunch is prepared before hitting the trails. You break for lunch on the trail around 12:30.
  • Please arrive at camp by 7:40am to register, eat breakfast and prepare your lunch.
  • Appetizers and beverages will be available at 4pm after the work day on Saturday. Dinner will follow at 6:15pm.
  • Hot breakfast is served Sunday.
  • Hazards
    HYDRATION/SUN EXPOSURE: The work site is exposed and it may be HOT. Wear a sun hat! Please drink plenty of water throughout the work day. If you feel tired or weak, let your crew leader know and take a break.
    POISON OAK: There is a risk of exposure to poison oak at at the work site. Have your crew leader point some out to you if you don't know what it looks like. Clean with Tecnu after the workday and be cautious when handling your dirty clothes.
    SNAKES: Snakes are present on the property. Use caution when walking the trails and when picking items up off the ground.
    TICKS: Ticks are always a hazard so it is important to check during and after the project.
    SHARP TOOLS: Please listen to your crew leaders tool safety talk and observe proper tool use throughout the day.

    View other V-O-Cal Projects.