Summer 2014
Reata Park and Event Center is Open

More Open Space Projects on the Way

Thank You Donors 
and Volunteers!


Volunteer Spotlight - 

Harrison Taylor



In July, Open Space Foundation Vice President Dick Paulsen was honored as the 2014 "Man of the Year" by the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his outstanding volunteer efforts that make our city a better place.

Congratulations to Dick on this well-deserved honor!


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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.

Reata Park and Event Center is Open
Welcome to Reata Park
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos 
The wait is over! After more than 7,000 volunteer hours donated by Open Space Foundation (OSF) volunteers along with generous donations from the community, the Reata Park and Event Center is now open to the public. 

Located on the corner of Ortega Highway and Reata Road, this beautiful 18-acre park completes the final piece of the city's 132-acre open space purchase that also includes the RMV Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano and a dedicated land conservancy area. OSF volunteers were instrumental in raising the funds and volunteer support needed to turn this unused property into a dynamic, accessible, and sustainable park and event center. The property's nearly 100-year old historic ranch house was also refurbished and now serves as the park's Welcome Center.

Mayor Sam Allevato and
OSF Vice President Dick Paulsen
at the dedication ceremony

©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos  
More than 200 people attended the city's dedication ceremony and grand opening celebration on May 31st. The ceremony celebrated the significance of the park and the collaborative effort that went into creating it. Speakers included Mayor Sam Allevato, OSF Vice President Dick Paulsen, OSF board member and Tree of Life Nursery owner Mike Evans, and Rancho Mission Viejo Executive Vice President of Ranch Operations Gilbert Aguirre. Also in attendance was
Barbara Critchlow, a descendent of the Tow family, who once lived in the house that was renovated as part of the project. Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed activities, food, and demonstrations as they toured the new park.
Bicyclists enjoying the trails
at Reata Park

©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos  
Since Reata Park opened, it has been enjoyed daily by bicyclists, hikers, equestrians, dog wakers, and picnickers. 
In addition, the first large group event was held at Reata Park on June 21st. A seminar on the "Elements of Horseshoeing" was presented by renowned farrier Gene Armstrong. A Professor Emeritus at Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo, Mr. Armstrong has shod horses for over 40 years, is Journeyman Certified, and has been inducted into the American Farriers Association Hall of Fame. Reata Park offers the perfect setting and facilities to host prominent events such as this exciting lecture. 
We hope you are enjoying this latest gem in the city's open space! But we are not stopping here. Read on to learn about the other exciting projects the Foundation will be bringing to you in the future!

More Open Space Projects on the Way

With four large, successful projects completed, the Open Space Foundation is working on new ideas to make your open space more accessible and enjoyable. 


The Foundation recently provided $10,000 in funding to the city to build a shade structure at the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park. The structure will cover a portion of both the large and small dog areas and provide comfort to pets and owners on warm days. 


The metal barn at Reata Park may be transformed into a History Center
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos 
A Phase 2 development project is also being discussed for Reata Park. The Foundation is working on plans to transform the large metal barn into a fully functioning History Center. Improvements being considered include adding air conditioning, restroom facilities, and a large wall display showing the history of the land and the buildings. The upgrades will not only make this structure more accessible for large indoor events, but also preserve and celebrate the remarkable history of the property. Once the plans are developed, the Foundation will present them to the city for approval.


The Foundation also continues its obligation to all of the projects it has worked on. Keeping an eye on the maintenance, landscaping, and evolving needs of park visitors is important to ensuring your open space remains accessible.

Thank You Donors and Volunteers!
None of our work would be possible without our wonderful donors and volunteers. Your donations, whether through annual membership, in-kind donations, or corporate gifts, are instrumental in allowing us to achieve our mission. 

The Open Space Foundation is grateful to have been one of the proud recipients of funds from the annual RMV Rodeo, which donates its proceeds to local non-profit organizations. The RMV Rodeo, taking place this year on August 23 and 24, is the richest two-day rodeo in the nation and is great entertainment for the whole family. The Foundation offers its deepest thanks to the RMV Rodeo for its generous support over the years. Your contributions to our community have made a big difference!

Volunteers donated over 7,000 hours to build Reata Park
The other key to our success is our volunteers. They have donated thousands of hours to our projects. Volunteers do it all - such as building fences, weeding, and painting - in addition to handling all of the administrative paperwork. Without these tireless citizens, none of our open space projects would become a reality.

Thank you for your support! Every dollar and hour you give go right back into our community to ensure that our open space is preserved for future generations. If you haven't already become an annual Open Space Foundation member, please visit our website and join today!
Volunteer Spotlight - Harrison Taylor
Harrison Taylor

While walking his dog in the Northwest Open Space last year, 24-year-old Harrison Taylor noticed a group of Open Space Foundation volunteers putting the finishing touches on the new Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park. After speaking with them and learning about the Foundation's mission, Harrison immediately asked, "How can I help?"


That chance meeting more than a year ago began Harrison's unwavering commitment to the Open Space Foundation. He began volunteering on the Reata Park and Event Center in the early stages of the project, and has since worked there nearly every Saturday and occasional weekdays as well. In the hundreds of hours he has contributed, Harrison has worked on everything from building fences and shade structures to assembling benches, trash enclosures and pulling electrical wires. No matter what the task, he approaches it with the same level of enthusiasm and perseverance.


For Harrison, volunteering runs deep in his family. His father, John Taylor, is a San Juan Capistrano city council member and former mayor. John's long history of public service also includes volunteer work with the Peace Corps, youth sports, and Big Brothers of Orange County. His mother, Marianne Taylor, was named San Juan Capistrano's Community Service Leader of the Year in 2010. She is the executive director of Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens, a non-profit organization that provides horticultural education, and emotional and physical rehabilitation through gardening at Los Rios Park. Harrison also serves on the Board of Directors for Goin Native, donating his talents as the Vice President of Resource Development.


Harrison Taylor volunteered hundreds of hours at Reata Park

Working full-time as an outside sales account manager at Gexpro, a large electrical distributor, Harrison's free time is limited. However, he always finds the time and energy to give back to his community. "I truly get more out of volunteering than I give," said Harrison. "It's a great feeling to work with your hands and build something that will be enjoyed by so many people."


Born and raised in San Juan Capistrano's Los Rios District, Harrison is deeply committed to his community and passionate about helping others. The Open Space Foundation offers its heartfelt thanks to Harrison Taylor for his hard work, enthusiasm, and dedication toward our mission of making our city's open spaces accessible to all.