Painted Rock Preservation Attempt Fails

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Painted Rock Preservation Attempt Fails

Sebastian Fojut, Staff Writer

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The Moraga town council recently considered donating $100,000 to the John Muir Land Trust (JMLT), a nonprofit organization that purchases land parcels for preservation purposes, to assist them in the purchase of  the Painted Rock area above the intersection of Moraga Road and Rheem Blvd.

With a 3-2 vote at the April 10 town council meeting, however, the council decided against the contribution.

JMLT needed the funds to purchase the Painted Rock for preservation lands after Roger Lee Poynts, the previous owner, passed away in 2014. His wife initially listed the property for sale at $15 million, but she agreed to mark the price down to $2 million if JMTL could raise the money by May 31.

Many view the Painted Rock as an important part of school culture. “A lot of kids like to paint the rock, and it’s a tradition among students,” said senior Tali Braun.

JMLT has raised $1.75 million of the necessary funds so far. “It’s amazing that we are able to raise $1.75 million from purely private sources,” said Executive Director of JMLT, Linus Eukel. “We are making great progress, but it will not be over until we have the required $2 million.”

If JMLT succeeds, Painted Rock would be safe from development in the future. “I believe this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure the Painted Rock property as a public park for our town,” said Moraga Mayor Roger Wykle, who 1st proposed the donation.

The money would have come from the Palos Colorados development funds, which are currently used to build houses near Los Perales Elementary School. “While not strictly set aside for open space and recreational opportunities, [the development funds] could have been used for this donation,” Wykle said.

JMLT may also create a cohesive hiking trail system stretching behind the rocks, provided they exceed their goal by enough. “It all depends on how much money we receive,” Eukel said.

Wykle said the proposal was rejected because “the town was set up originally as a limited services government and as such the town receives very limited funding. That is why the majority of the council did not vote for the donation as the funds are needed elsewhere.” While all members of city council agreed on the need for preservation of the land, some were concerned about the subtraction of funds from the development budget.

Although the city council was not able to do it, there is still a possibility that the land will be preserved. JMLT invites all individuals to donate to this cause by visiting jmlt.org.