By Sandy Karp
West County residents looking for a quick escape now have the newly expanded Fernandez Ranch just a short drive away.
John Muir Land Trust recently held a public opening and dedication for the 1,185-acre property off Highway 4 near Hercules.
The opening involved adding 483 new acres of open space, formerly known as Franklin Canyon, to the scenic Fernandez Ranch property, which offers nature seekers 1.5 miles of ADA accessible paths, mountain biking trails, riding routes, three picnic sites and parking.
“I was just at FR…one of my favorite places to hike,” said Teresa Baker, a Richmond native and founder of the African American Nature and Parks Experience. “Any open space that we can protect from development we should.”
Fernandez Ranch explorers can experience various terrains such as forests, meadows, and wetlands; and possibly catch a glimpse of endangered species like Cooper’s hawks, northern harriers, western pond turtles, and more.
“All these spaces speak to history,” Baker said. “Once developed, stories/lives start to become faded memories.”
To enhance your Fernandez Ranch experience and hear about some of the memories Baker refers to, download the POINT by Canogle App. Through narration, the app can expose you to new information or transport you back in time with stories about the Ohlone people, the Gold Rush, and more. The app’s information database stretches far beyond Fernandez Ranch with tours around the Bay Area and other parks maintained by the Muir Heritage Land Trust including Mount Wanda.