Spring 2012

A Look Back at 2011

More Projects on the Way in 2012

Volunteer Spotlight - Steve Estrada

We Need You!

Register for Your 2012 Membership Today 


Special thanks to our
2011 Founding Members whose generous contributions during the inaugural year of our membership program allowed us to reach greater heights:

Sam & Vicky Allevato 
Diane Bathgate 
Mike Barth 
Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort 
Jodie Cerruti
Robb Cerruti
Coast Soccer League
Robert Cordoza 
Greg Dillion 
Colleen Edwards 
Mike Evans 
Matt Gaffney 
Brad Gates 
JES Engineering Contractors 
Jezowski & Markel 
Michael & Kimberly Johnson 
Karen Julian
Rick Julian
Tom & Barbara Lunnen
Anthony & Melinda Moiso 
Bart Moore 
Mark Nielsen 
Dick Paulsen 
Tom Ostensen 
Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, LLC 
Robert R. Redwitz & Co. 
Warren and Janet Siegel 
Sierra Soil Products, Inc. 
SJC Equestrian Council 
E. Stewart and Associates

Brad Gates, President
Dick Paulsen, V.P. 
Mike Barth 
Greg Dillion 
Mike Evans 
Matt Gaffney 
Virginia Kerr 
Tim Neely 
Mark Nielsen 
Tom Ostensen 


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.

A Look Back at 2011

San Juan Capistrano has a proud tradition of protecting and preserving its beautiful open space. Voters overwhelmingly passed measures in 1990 and 2008 authorizing the city to purchase private, development zoned land and rezone it as permanent open space. As a result, the city has acquired hundreds of acres over the past several years for open space preservation.


As valued as the city's public open space is, it often lacks two critical elements - accessibility and usability. This land often requires trail, habitat, and public amenity improvements and the city lacks funding for many of these projects. To address this need, a group of local citizens took the initiative to establish the San Juan Capistrano Open Space Foundation in January 2009. It's mission - to acquire, promote, preserve and maintain the city's open space land resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations.


Buoyed by strong community support, the Foundation experienced a banner year in 2011. Thanks to the help of more than 50 volunteers and your generous donations, we made huge strides toward our goal of making our city's open space accessible to all.  


In the summer of 2011, the Foundation completed the Northwest Open Space (NWOS) Staging Area. The city acquired this 68-acre
NWOS sign
Monument sign welcomes visitors to the NWOS 
parcel in 1990 through the use of a bond measure passed by the voters of San Juan Capistrano. This property sat fenced and vacant for 20 years, unable to be used by the public. Leveraging donations and more than 50 enthusiastic volunteers, the Foundation established a new multi-use staging area that includes 3,000 lineal feet of split rail fencing, 700 feet of irrigation, watering troughs, picnic tables, trash receptacles, a hitching post, doggie bag station, a new driveway entrance, and a monument sign. The site is now open daily and has become a popular location for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and picnickers. The Foundation donated the completed improvements to the city in January 2012. 


More Projects on the Way in 2012

Following is a peek at what's ahead for the Foundation this year:


2C Ranch Staging Area

Previously leased from J.F. Shea Company by local equestrians and cattle operators Cap and Peggy Crowl, 2C Ranch is a 109-acre site  

Mayor with volunteers
Mayor Kramer with Foundation volunteers at 2C Ranch site

purchased by the city in 2009 and is located in its northwest open space. This winter, Foundation volunteers began installing numerous improvements, such as adding split rail fencing, picnic tables, a watering trough, a hitching post, and a monument sign. In addition, the site was cleared of invasive species of plants and weeds. While working at the site, volunteers have noticed local residents passing through the area with their children, dogs, bicycles, and horses. The 2C Ranch Staging Area is scheduled for completion in spring 2012. Once all improvements have been made, they will be donated to the city.


Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park

The 2-acre site for the dog park is named after beloved local veterinarian Joe Cortese and is located in the city's northwest open space. Once the city approves the final design plan, which is expected to happen in February, Foundation volunteers will be allowed to move forward with construction and improvements. Anticipated completion date for the dog park is late summer 2012. Again, once improvements have been made, they will be donated to the city. 


Parcel 8 - Lemon Grove

The 16-acre site is located at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park on Ortega Highway off Riata Road. The City Council approved installation of water lines, irrigation and the planting of three rows of orange trees along Ortega Highway. Installation is scheduled to begin in April.This parcel and its ultimate design are still being reviewed by the city. 


Volunteer Spotlight - Steve Estrada
Steve Estrada
Outstanding Foundation volunteer Steve Estrada 

Local Dog Whisperer Steve Estrada takes open space to heart volunteering his time as a caretaker for the Northwest Open Space Staging Area. The 17-year resident visits the site daily keeping the weeds down, changing the water in the horse troughs weekly, closing the gates during the rains, watering the oak and orange trees and dragging the staging area with a makeshift harrow to repair ruts made by kids spinning donuts in their cars. Steve is the owner of "Gone to the Dogs" specializing in behavioral training of young dogs for private owners as well as for law enforcement agencies.


We Need You!
Do you like to roll up your sleeves and work outdoors? Would you like to donate equipment, building materials or cash to help us make the city's open space accessible and usable for everyone?
volunteer building fence
Foundation volunteer working on open space improvements



It's not too late to join our volunteer corps. Not only do we need your contributions to purchase materials to make these spaces usable, we also need your help clearing dead brush, weeding, and installing hitching posts, park benches, picnic tables, and watering troughs. We are looking for volunteers with construction skills, as well as donations of grading equipment, building materials (i.e. concrete, fencing, etc.). Please email us to volunteer and/or for more details.  


Register for Your 2012 Membership Today
Your tax-deductible annual membership is one of the best and easiest ways that you can support the SJC Open Space Foundation. The Foundation is a grassroots organization of citizens who want to make the city's open spaces accessible for all to enjoy. It is completely run by volunteers and there is no overhead, so your donation goes directly toward building and installing open space improvements.  


There are many benefits to becoming an SJC Open Space Foundation member, such as: 

  • Sponsor recognition in select Open Space Foundation publications    
  • Subscription to the Open Space Foundation's quarterly e-Newsletter
  • Advance notice of public events
  • Invitations to events and activities for members only
  • Membership certificate
  • And the knowledge that you helped by contributing to usable open space for you and your family 

Join or renew now. Membership fees are tax deductible. For more information and/or to register online, please visit the SJCOSF website