$3 Million to Preserve Cowell Ranch (CA)

Governor Gray Davis and the State Legislature approved $3 million as part of California’s 2001-2002 fiscal year budget that will be used to protect 4,000 acres of open space in Contra Costa County. An 18% population increase in the county over the last decade threatens existing agricultural and land currently used for open space recreation.

SACRAMENTO, 7/31/01 – The Trust for Public Land today commended Governor Gray Davis and the State Legislature for approving $3 million to protect the Cowell Ranch in Contra Costa County as part of the state’s 2001-2002 fiscal year budget. The Cowell Ranch funds were added to the budget at the request of Senator Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) and Assembly Member Joe Canciamilla (D-Pittsburg).

“We are fortunate to have state leaders with a such an incredible vision and who truly care about California’s park and recreational areas,” said Rachel Dinno, Government Relations Director for the Trust for Public Land. “We commend Governor Davis for approving these funds and Senator Torlakson and Assembly Member Canciamilla for championing the preservation of Cowell Ranch.”

The preservation of scenic Cowell Ranch, which includes 4,000 acres of open space in the eastern portion of the county near the town of Brentwood, provides a visible victory for the residents of Contra Costa County who have worked to improve their quality of life and the environment in the East Bay. With its rolling, oak-studded hills, vernal pools, wildflowers and spectacular views of Mount Diablo, Cowell Ranch is one of the remaining precious open space resources worthy of conservation.

The protection of Cowell Ranch is critical to providing recreational opportunities for this growing Bay Area region. Contra Costa County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state with an 18% population surge over the last decade. As a result, much of the existing agricultural and open space land is threatened by development.

The $5 million was added to the budget at the request of Senator Torlakson and Assembly Member Canciamilla. The funds are part of a budget package that address this need and significantly increases funding to protect parks throughout the state.

“Senator Torlakson and Assembly Member Canciamilla lead the charge in the state legislature to increase funding to protect Contra Costa’s open space. Their leadership in land conservation is making a major difference throughout California,” said Dinno.

The budget signed by Governor Davis includes funding to preserve coastal lands, conserve threatened wildlife habitat and create additional recreational opportunities for Californians by expanding state parks.

“Governor Davis has made a significant investment in protecting California’s magnificent landscapes,” said Dinno. “His leadership and dedication to the protection of our parks will preserve our state’s tourism economy and these invaluable resources for present and future generations.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, wilderness areas and natural, historic and cultural resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide including the Orinda Oaks and Wildcat Canyon in Contra Costa County.