During the late 1960’s citizens of Walnut Creek began to express their concern over the potential development of the hills and ridgelines within the city. When a development in a portion of Shell Ridge was proposed in the early 70’s a grassroots effort began. Citizens overturned the development in a referendum and created a formally designated committee that formed a plan to purchase and protect open space. The result was the formation of Contra Costa Service Area R-8, approved by voters in June of 1974, providing $6,750,000 to acquire open space land in and around Walnut Creek.
The original plan identified approximately 2500 acres of parks, open space, and trail easements to be protected. Later purchases and dedications have brought that number up to 2726 acres and the City of Walnut Creek now also manages land for the City of Concord and the Muir Heritage Land Trust as well.