Fall 2014

We're Going to Reata Park and Event Center!

Video Offers Birds Eye View of Reata Park

Dog Park Visitors Have it Made in the Shade

Your Donations Make these Projects Possible



 It's official! Reata Park and Event Center has been recognized as an outstanding "Recreation and Athletic Facility" by the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). 

The City of San Juan Capistrano will receive an APWA BEST "Project of the Year" award for Reata Park at an awards ceremony in December. 

This significant award recognizes public agencies for outstanding capital improvement projects and public works programs.


Due to major road construction on Ortega Highway this fall, a temporary fire substation opened recently at Reata Park and Event Center.  

The substation, paid for by the Orange County Fire Authority, gives emergency responders a staging area closer to residents on the east side of the 5 Freeway. 
It will remain in place until the road construction is completed later this year.


"Thanks to the efforts 
of the Open Space Foundation, many of our residents, myself included, are able to walk our dogs in a wonderful rural setting that is complete with a natural creek bed and wildlife corridor, native oak trees and meandering trails. 

On any given day, it is not unusual to see your friends and neighbors interacting with nature thanks to the foresight of our residents and efforts by our Open Space Foundation making it accessible." 

-Mayor Sam Allevato


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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.

We're Going to Reata Park and Event Center!
Visitors can access miles of trails from Reata Park
Since opening on May 31st, Reata Park and Event Center has become a popular destination for residents and visitors. Whether stopping by for a stroll, picnic, or one of the many public events, the park has already become a beloved fixture in our community.

Open Space Foundation volunteers donated thousands of hours to make Reata Park a reality. Designed to be multi-use, it now attracts hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, and nature lovers. Friends Hallie and Julia were recently touring Reata Park on horseback. "This is a fun area and a good spot to ride from," Hallie remarked. "There are hours of trails that you can connect to from here."

Several events have been held at the park since it opened, including the Equestrian Coalition lecture, Las Vaqueras BBQ, weekly church group meetings, and the Dana Hills High School 12th Man Club fundraiser benefiting local military and veterans. In addition, Reata Park has already been the site for two weddings, indicating the special place this location holds in the hearts of the community.

Fiesta Association volunteers prepare for annual BBQ
On October 18th, the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association held it's annual Farewell to the Swallows BBQ at the Pavilion area of Reata Park. The BBQ attracted approximately 100 guests and is one of eight events that lead up to the annual Swallows Day Parade. "This is our first year at Reata Park," said David Faylor, Fiesta Association president and parade chairman. "It's a beautiful place and we are excited to have the extra room that the park provides." The popular event featured great food, live music, and colorful decorations provided by Fiesta Association volunteers.

Marianne Taylor 
Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens (GNTG) hosted its first free Interpretive Garden Walk and Talk on October 25th. GNTG Executive Director Marianne Taylor and her team of docents led group tours of the park, highlighting the extensive native plant garden and sharing stories of the area's history. 


"Our Interpretive Garden programs at Reata Park give people a connection to the land while also giving them a connection to their own gardens," said Marianne. We encourage them to implement some of these native plants in their own landscape, reduce or remove their lawn, and save precious resources."


In an ongoing effort to equip and educate the community, GNTG and Saddleback College horticulture students are working together to bring a wide variety of programs to Reata Park on native plant use, water conservation, and aiding the environment through habitats. Future Interpretive Garden Walk and Talks will be held on Saturday, November 15th and Saturday, December 13th at 10:00 am and 11:30 am, as weather permits.

Docents lead an interpretive garden tour through Reata Park

Reata Park and Event Center is open daily to the public. 

For more information on upcoming public events or to book an event in one of the outdoor or indoor areas, please contact city Community Services Department representatives Gil Leon at (949) 443-6393 or Gloria Ruelas at (949) 234-4567.

Video Offers Birds Eye View of Reata Park
If you haven't had a chance to visit Reata Park and Event Center yet,  
you can now see what you've been missing! Visit our website to watch the new video, created by volunteer Justin Thomas Ostensen, which highlights the park's unique features and provides stunning aerial views of this beautiful public open space. 

New video offers stunning views of Reata Park and Event Center

Dog Park Visitors Have it Made in the Shade
New structures provide shade for dog park visitors

Visiting the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park just got even cooler! Open Space Foundation volunteers raised $10,000 to donate to the city to build shade structures at the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park. The shade structures, which were installed in October, cover a portion of both the large and small dog play areas and provide comfort to pets and owners on warm, sunny days. 


Isabelle cools off at the drinking fountain
The Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park has been a popular destination in our community since opening in August 2013. San Juan Capistrano r
esident Kim and her dog Isabelle, a seven-month-old pug mix, visited the park's small dog play area for the first time on a recent Saturday. "This is the perfect place for Isabelle to socialize with dogs and people," said Kim. "We are working on training her and plan on coming here often." 

Indo loves coming to
the dog park

German shepherd Indo was busy playing with owner Danielle and friends in the large dog area. Although Danielle splits her time living in San Juan Capistrano and Costa Rica, these dog park "regulars" have come to the park at least twice a week for the last few months. "It's such a big open space with great trails nearby," said Danielle. "When Indo sees us driving into the park, he gets so excited and can't wait to get out of the car to play." Indo and Danielle spend up to two hours each time they visit the dog park, often enjoying lunch on the picnic tables or walking on nearby trails.


Kim and Isabelle 

Hundreds of residents and their pets are enjoying our city's beautiful public open spaces, like the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park. These previously unusable spaces have been made accessible by the efforts of Open Space Foundation volunteers. By clearing away invasive weeds, building fences, parking lots, and other amenities, residents can now fully enjoy our open space with their friends, families, and pets. All at no cost to the public. Now that's something to wag your tail about!

Your Donations Make These Projects Possible
Projects like Reata Park and Event Center and the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park are made possible through generous donations from the community. The Open Space Foundation is 100% volunteer-run. Our volunteers physically do most of the work - such as building fences, benches, and parking lots - as well as handling administrative paperwork and contracts. Your donations go directly toward purchasing building supplies and covering costs for professional contractors when required. 

If you donate to the Open Space Foundation, you are making a direct investment in your community. And it's easy to do! Please visit our website to make an online donation, become an annual member, or to volunteer.

With your support, we will continue to work on exciting new projects that make our open spaces usable and accessible by all.