Fall 2013

Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park Now Open!

2C Ranch Dedication Ceremony

Exciting Developments at Reata Park and 
Event Center 

Sponsor Spotlight -
Olsen Pavingstone, Inc.


 It's not too late to help!
Your donations are making Reata Park and Event Center a reality. 
To donate to this project, mail your tax deductible check to the Foundation with a note designating your donation to Reata Park and Event Center improvements. 
For more information, please visit the  
Foundation's website.
 or send us an email
Thank you for your support!


Brad Gates, President
Dick Paulsen, V.P. 
and Treasurer
Tim Neely, Secretary
Mike Barth
Greg Dillion
Mike Evans
Matt Gaffney
Al King
Rhonda Kreger
Mark Nielsen
Tom Ostensen
Paul St. Pierre
Derek Ostensen, Conservation Consultant
Robert R. Redwitz, CPA


San Juan Capistrano
Open Space Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public benefit corporation that was established in
January 2009.

Our mission is to acquire and promote the preservation, restoration, expansion, improvement and public use of open space within the City of San Juan Capistrano to enrich the quality of life for area residents.

Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park Now Open!
Cheers, applause and wagging tails marked the city's grand opening of the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park on August 17. Hundreds of residents attended the event to be among the first to experience the first dedicated dog park in San Juan Capistrano.
White dog
Visitors enjoy exploring
the new dog park
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos
In January 2013, Open Space Foundation volunteers began construction on the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park, a 2.5-acre site located in the city's northwest open space. The dog park is named after beloved local veterinarian Dr. Joe Cortese, a passionate and proactive leader of veterinary medicine who made a lasting impact on all he encountered. 
Thanks to a major contribution from Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort, and generous donations from the community, Foundation volunteers were able to turn this space into another usable and accessible area in the city's open space. The park features play areas for large and small dogs, as well as picnic tables, benches and an access ramp for the disabled. 
Mayor John Taylor with aspiring Eagle Scout Ryan Gates at the dog park grand opening
The park also features a wooden staircase that connects the parking lot to the dog park area. The stairs were hand-built by local high school student Ryan Gates (no relation to Foundation president Brad Gates) as a community service project to earn his Eagle Scout ranking. Ryan, along with his team of family members and fellow scouts, spent many hours completing the staircase that will be enjoyed by the community for years to come.

A recent donation to the dog park will enable the Foundation to install a large shade structure between the large and small dog areas. Once the city has approved design plans for the structure, the Foundation will move forward with adding this desirable feature for park visitors.

Now open daily from 7:30 a.m. to dusk, the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park is a wonderful new open space area for the public to enjoy in San Juan Capistrano.

2C Ranch Dedication Ceremony
Community members show their support of the 2C Ranch Staging Area 
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos
On October 19, the City of San Juan Capistrano held a ceremony to dedicate 2C Ranch, an open space trail rest stop and staging area. Formerly leased by equestrian and cattle operator Cap Crowl, 2C Ranch is part of a 109-acre open space acquisition made by the city in 2008. 

When the city purchased the site, located at the end of Old San Juan Road, it was in disrepair and not easily accessible by visitors. Open Space Foundation volunteers raised funds, cleared away debris, and installed much-needed amenities, such as split rail fencing, picnic tables, a watering trough, and a hitching post. Also installed was a monument and plaque honoring 2C Ranch, the last working cattle ranch in the city.
Councilman Sam Allevato at the 2C Ranch Dedication 
©Eddie Perlas/
Epic Photos
Speakers at the ceremony included Mayor John Taylor, Councilman Sam Allevato, Dick Paulsen from the Open Space Foundation, and two of Cap Crowl's friends, Sonny Jensen and David Nath, who gave personal accounts of Cap Crowl's life and the history of his lease cattle operation. Councilman Allevato recalled riding through 2C Ranch more than 30 years ago and is pleased that it has been preserved for future generations. "You can ride your horse all the way from Dana Point to Rancho Capistrano on this trail," Allevato said. 
Councilman Allevato participated in the negotiations that led to the city's purchase of the land from Shea Homes, which had it slated for a housing development. The land is now held as permanent open space and preserves a critical section of the longest, continuous habitat and riparian corridor in Orange County. 
Exciting Developments at Reata Park and Event Center
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos
Foundation volunteers have been working from dawn to dusk over the past several months to create the Reata Park and Event Center. Read below to learn how this 18-acre site is being transformed into an accessible and usable section of the city's open space.
Native Plant Garden
The Native Plant Garden will be one of the many highlights of the Reata Park and Event Center. The Foundation is working with a team of horticultural experts who specialize in creating native plant environments. The garden's size and variety of drought-
tolerant plants will be on par with the Nature Garden at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles (considered one of the best native plant gardens in California).
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos



One hundred and thirty-five orange trees have been planted and existing trees have been trimmed as needed. In addition, seven California sycamores and 13 coast live oak trees will be planted. An arborist is onsite to ensure that very old trees are properly restored and nourished so that they may be enjoyed for many years to come.

Equestrian Area
Volunteers are currently working on creating a large arena and a round pen for equestrian visitors. In addition, 10 stalls, a water trough, manure disposal containers, ADA ramp, and additional equestrian parking will be available in this area. 
Event Area
The event stage, flag monument, and 3,000 lineal feet of fencing have been installed. Next, Foundation volunteers will be adding 20 picnic tables, BBQ pits, benches, trash and recycling containers, and two new shade structures. 
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos

Site Preparation 
The grading is nearly complete, and decomposed granite has been set on the roadways. Underground water, sewer and electrical lines have been installed and the irrigation system is nearly complete. All unsafe structures have been removed and two brand new restroom facilities have been installed. 
Historic Building (Welcome Center) Renovation
Renovation work has begun on a historic building on site that will be transformed into the new Welcome Center. The reconstructive work includes a new roof, fresh paint and underground electrical, phone and data lines. These improvements will strengthen the structure and make it a usable building while preserving its historical characteristics. 
Completion of Phase 1 construction is anticipated in early 2014. The Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the city that requires maintenance and security plans to be in place prior to the park's completion. Once all of the Foundation's improvements are completed, they will be donated to the city.
Sponsor Spotlight - Olsen Pavingstone, Inc.
Pernille Hjorth-Olsen is an expert at creating sustainable outdoor environments. As owner and operator of Olsen Pavingstone, Inc., a manufacturer of interlocking concrete paving stones, she helps homeowners, contractors and architects bring their outdoor hardscape vision to life through products that blend old world craftsmanship, high quality materials, and modern technology.

Olsen Pavingstone, Inc. has remained a family owned and operated business since Pernille's parents started the company in Denmark in 1971. They moved the company to San Juan Capistrano in 1986 and have been a fixture in the community ever since. After more than 40 years in business, Olsen Pavingstone, Inc. remains on the cutting edge of their industry. They recently opened the Infinity Showcase at their location on Ortega Highway, where industry professionals and 

homeowners alike can view all of their latest products in a comfortable showroom setting.

Pernille Hjorth-Olsen
As a long-time business owner and resident of San Juan Capistrano, Pernille supports conservation and preservation of the city's 
open space areas. Her company's generous contribution of paving stone materials to the new Reata Park and Event Center will enhance the accessibility of the area and lend to its beauty. The company's Infinity Cobble Collection pavers were chosen to blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape and roadways.
The Open Space Foundation offers our deepest thanks to Pernille Hjorth-Olsen and Olsen Pavingstone, Inc. for their generosity and support of our mission of making our open space accessible and preserving it for future generations.