Summer 2013

Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park is Near Completion

Reata Park and Event Center Construction Continues

Volunteer Spotlight -Ryan Gates
SJCOSF Sponsors Turn Dreams Into Reality
2C Ranch Improvements Donated to City
City's Open Space for 
the Public's Use

We've had a great response to our 2013 membership drive and are pleased to welcome many new and renewing members. Thank you for your support!

If you are passionate about improving and preserving our city's open space and are not a member, we hope you will join today. Please
for more details. 


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
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 is Near Completion
Finishing touches have been made to the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park and the Foundation's work is nearly complete.
Enclosures for large and small dogs have been completed
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos
In the last month, Foundation volunteers have installed doggie drinking fountains, chain link fencing, and gates for the enclosures. In addition, the stone memorial and wooden posts for donor recognition plaques have been placed on the site. 
In the next few weeks, the bronze plaques and name plates will be mounted onto the memorial and posts to recognize the generous donors who helped make this dog park a reality. 
Once we have completed all of the improvements to the dog park, the improvements will be donated to the City of San Juan CapistranoThe city will celebrate the grand opening on August 17th with dignitaries, volunteers and supporters.
We have many dedicated volunteers helping with this project, including local high school student Ryan Gates (no relation to Foundation President Brad Gates). An aspiring Eagle Scout candidate, Ryan is working on a special construction project at the dog park as a community service project. Read more about Ryan in the volunteer spotlight article below. 

©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos
Reata Park and Event Center Construction Continues
Pardon our dust! Phase 1 construction of the Reata Park and Event Center continues with numerous improvement projects underway. 
Gary Krudwig and crew set the stone for the park's entryway
A beautiful, new stone entryway has been completed with materials and labor from Gary Krudwig of Krudwig Masonry. In addition, 10 to 20 hard-working volunteers have turned out every Saturday to build 2,000 lineal feet of fencing next to San Juan Creek and 700 feet of rail fencing along Ortega Highway. Rough grading of the site is being completed by Mitch Perkin, Gary Brown and the crew from JES Engineering Contractors.
Coming this month, underground utilities will be installed and improvements will begin on the historic residential building that will become the park's new Visitor Center. Architectural drawings for this project have been generously donated by local architect Robert Lenz.
Volunteer build fence
Volunteers build a new fence at Reata Park and Event Center

Help us keep this exciting project moving forward! Your donations are critical to this effort. 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 emailThanks for your support!
Volunteer Spotlight - Ryan Gates
Ryan Gates
As San Juan Hills High School student Ryan Gates (no relation to Foundation President Brad Gates) knows firsthand, becoming an Eagle Scout is not an easy task. After participating in Boy Scouts for several years, he is completing the final steps to reach the Eagle Scout rank by working with the Open Space Foundation on a challenging service project at the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park.


Ryan, 15, volunteered to hand-build a 20-step, wooden staircase and an equestrian peeler fence that will connect the entrance of the dog park to the driveway above. With the assistance of Cindy Russell, a volunteer who coordinates Boy Scout service projects on behalf of the Foundation, Ryan first had to get approval from the Foundation board, scout leaders, and obtain a building permit from the city. In order to meet building code requirements, Ryan was required to add two sets of handrails as well. After meeting all regulations, he began work on the staircase in late June. His goal is to have the project completed by mid-August.

Ryan and Roxie
Ryan Gates and Roxie at the project site


Working with a team of family members and fellow scouts from Troop #724 in San Juan Capistrano, Ryan spends several days a week working on this project. He is also required to raise funds and in-kind donations to cover the cost of materials, a total of $2,000. He has raised 30% of the funds needed, and is actively looking for contributions to help him reach his goal. If you would like to donate to Ryan's project, please contact the Gates family at (949) 661-9377 or 


An active teen who enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping, golfing, sailing and fishing, working on a hands-on project in our beautiful open space is a perfect fit for Ryan. While the project is a challenging one, he relishes the teamwork and new relationships he has built in the process. He also enjoys contributing to the park that is dedicated to their former veterinarian, Dr. Cortese. 
The Open Space Foundation commends Ryan for his outstanding dedication, hard work and vision as he completes a project that will be enjoyed by the community for many years to come.

SJCOSF Sponsors Turn Dreams Into Reality
Contributions to the Open Space Foundation are critical to our success. Our sponsors, through generous cash gifts and/or donations of labor and materials, are key to bringing our open space improvement projects to fruition so that the public can enjoy these areas safely.
Sponsors such as SDG&ECapistrano Animal Rescue Effort,
J&M Concrete Contractors, and many more, are enabling the Foundation to bring more open space improvements to our community. Please visit the new Sponsor page on our website to view our growing list of supporters and learn about their unique contributions to our projects. If you or your company would like to become a sponsor, please contact us for more information.
2C Ranch Improvements Donated to City
2C Ranch memorial
John Holman with the new
 2C Ranch stone memorial
In May, the Open Space Foundation submitted a letter donating all of its 2C Ranch improvements to the City of San Juan Capistrano. The improvements include picnic tables, fencing, irrigation systems, a water trough, signage, and a stone memorial depicting the history of 2C Ranch. In addition Foundation volunteers contributed more than 500 hours of manual labor to this project. 

The Foundation is proud to have donated these services and improvements for the benefit and enjoyment of our entire community.

City's Open Space for the Public's Use

San Juan Capistrano residents are devoted to protecting the city's 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. 


Currently, 40% of our city is designated as open space - more than any other city in Orange County. However, these areas often lack two critical elements - accessibility and usability. The city doesn't have funding or staff available to make improvements that would allow public use of the land (i.e. meeting building code requirements, state/county/city regulations, insurance, etc.)


©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos

This is when the Open Space Foundation steps in. We not only raise money for professional contractors, building materials, and amenities (i.e. trash cans, picnic tables, restrooms, etc.), but also enlist dozens of volunteers who do hands-on work such as building fences, removing invasive weeds, and laying concrete for walkways. After our work is complete, the Foundation donates all improvements to the City of San Juan Capistrano for the enjoyment of current and future generations.


The Foundation has made huge strides and completed several successful projects in its first four years. With your continued support, we will continue toward our goal of making our city's open spaces accessible to all.