Hockey Meets Habitat Preservation for New County Parkland

Unique Partnership Purchases 1,157 Acres in Mt. Hamilton Range
from former San Jose Shark Owen Nolan

Santa Clara County, California | November 01, 2012

Representatives from the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department, The Nature Conservancy and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) announced today the purchase of 1,157 acres that will become part of Joseph D. Grant County Park. This property contains prime Alameda Creek Watershed habitat. The purchase of Nolan Ranch from former San Jose Shark Owen Nolan protects these lands from future development through a conservation easement and paves the way for future plans to open up the property to public recreation. 

"I'm proud to be part of the effort to expand Joseph D. Grant County Park and help protect clean drinking water and recreational opportunities for future generations," said Owen Nolan, property owner and former San Jose Sharks captain. 

“It is inspiring to see this partnership come together to craft a deal that will not only protect this spectacular property for all time but also ensure that the public has access to it,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “This property acquisition creates the only county park that is more than 10,000 acres in size. The addition of this landscape to the county’s park system will not only increase opportunities for future trail development but also support 70 miles of wild lands from Pleasanton to the Pacheco Pass and connect it to several thousand acres of Lick Observatory lands on top of Mt. Hamilton by the University of California.” 

Nolan Ranch supports a dizzying number of special plant and animal habitats. Biologists have confirmed the presence of California red-legged frog, San Francisco dusky-footed woodrat, grey fox and several sensitive plant communities.

"The Nature Conservancy is excited to be in a partnership that has all the right ingredients for a giant win. Expanding the park protects nature and open space while providing trails, clean drinking water and compatible grazing for people and ranching," said Mike Conner, The Nature Conservancy's central coast program director. 

Located within the southern Alameda Creek Watershed, the property includes approximately five miles of Sulphur and Smith Creeks that drain to Isabel Creek and the Arroyo Hondo, which flows directly into the SFPUC’s Calaveras Reservoir.

Calaveras Reservoir is our system’s largest Bay Area reservoir and is a crucial source of drinking water to our 2.6 million customers,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly, Jr. “By protecting the land and the animals and plants that depend upon it, we also protect the quality of a major Bay Area water supply.”

Funding for the $2.6 million purchase of the property has been equally shared by The Nature Conservancy (from grants through the Living Landscape Initiative Challenge Grant Program of the Resources Legacy Fund and the California Coastal Conservancy), the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Watershed and Environmental Improvement Program and the County of Santa Clara Park Charter Fund

The Nature Conservancy, through an endowment funded by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, will monitor the conservation easement in perpetuity. Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department will own and manage the property as part of Joseph D. Grant County Park. Future park development will be planned in collaboration with the project partners, ensuring that the protections of the conservation easement are incorporated in future park design.

About the Partners

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide.

The Coastal Conservancy is a state agency that works with the people of California to protect and improve the coast and San Francisco Bay. The conservancy has helped open more than 100 miles of coast and bay shores to the public and preserve more than 300,000 acres of wetlands, wildlife habitat, parks and farmland.

The Living Landscape Initiative is a collaboration among five land conservation organizations active in and around Silicon Valley. The Nature Conservancy, POST, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Save the Redwoods League and Sempervirens Fund are all working together to protect the region’s natural benefits, including clean air and water, local farming and working lands, biodiversity and habitat protection for wildlife, scenic beauty and public enjoyment of natural lands. Grants from Resources Legacy Fund with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation funded development of the Initiative’s vision and goals.

The mission of the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department is to provide, protect and preserve regional parklands for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations. The Santa Clara County Parks System is funded by the Park Charter. The Park Charter Fund was established by the voters of Santa Clara County in 1972 and remains a dedicated funding source for acquisition, capital improvement and management of the County of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation System through FY 2021. Learn more about the Joseph D. Grant County Park at

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is a department of the City and County of San Francisco that owns and operates the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, which provides drinking water to 2.6 million people in Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. The Watershed and Environmental Improvement Program is a 10-year, $50 million program to proactively manage, protect and restore environmental resources that affect or are affected by our system operations. Follow us at

Keep up with Owen Nolan on Twitter: @OwenNolan11 and @Sportsman360TV.

Photos are available at   Username: sfpuc-docs, Password: wsip


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Kathleen Goldstein
The Nature Conservancy

Gwen Mitchell/Laurel Anderson
Santa Clara County

Betsy L. Rhodes

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