Almost home... Permanent win closer for oaks measure!


Permanent protection from development on 430 acres of oak woodlands and savanna in California's East Bay hills has moved a step closer to becoming a reality.

The Superior Court of Contra Costa County recently ordered a writ of mandate instructing the City of Richmond to cure a single inconsistency in the city's general plan. This would allow for final resolution of a measure to effectively preserve the unspoiled lands overlooking San Francisco Bay.

Local groups and citizens have fought to enact the Richmond Hills Initiative since 2017, when they submitted a ballot measure to the Richmond Registrar of Voters. Up to that point the hills had been the subject of decades of struggle against development plans on the steep, seismically unstable slopes above El Sobrante Valley. Forests Forever collected thousands of the signatures that were required to qualify the initiative.

In addition to oak woodlands, at stake are nine streambeds and their riparian zones, as well as vernal pools and wetlands, and a wide array of native wildlife, including rare and endangered species. With final enactment of the measure the area, adjacent to Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, will be open to hiking and low-impact uses that preserve the natural integrity of the area.

The initiative was unanimously approved the City Council of Richmond in 2017, a move that rendered unnecessary an expensive ballot measure campaign. However subsequent court appeals tied up the measure. In October 2019 the First District Court of Appeal on a 3-0 vote overturned a lower-court ruling that had invalidated the measure.

The recent writ of mandate issued by the superior court gives the City of Richmond until about mid-October to clean up details in the general plan.

For the forests,

Paul Hughes
Executive Director
Forests Forever

Your contribution today will help California's forests thrive!


  • Here are two maps of the protected initiative area.
  • The initial Forests Forever action alert announcing our victory before the Richmond City Council is here.
  • Click here for the full First District Court of Appeal ruling reversing a Superior Court's invalidation of the initiative. This appellate decision has now become a statewide precedent.

Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places