The Sycamore Valley was inhabited by the Bay Miwok Tatcan tribe when, in 1772, Fr. An expedition led by Captain Pedro Fages, Juan Crespi noted the good quality of the land in the San Ramon Valley and considered it to be a good location for a Franciscan mission. Ultimately, the mission was located in Fremont today, and the valley of San Ramon was used as a grazing land. Around 1850 the first Anglo-Americans had come to the valley to farm. Since the main road ran through the San Ramon Valley between Mission San Jose and the Benicia State Capitol, businesses were encouraged to establish themselves in the area. The area was developed as a prosperous farming region by Sycamore Valley farmers in the last half of the 1800's.
In 1850 the first American settler near the Preserve of today is recorded as Leonard Eddy. But the Wood family started a farm in 1862, and over five generations came to own and farm most of what is today's Preserve. Sycamore Valley land use had changed to homes by the turn of the twentieth century. Much of the hilly ridge lands were dedicated to open-space preserves, including the Preserve. In 1989 the Park District acquired the 328-acre southern portion of the Preserve known as the Sherburne Hills Unit, located south of Camino Tassajara. In 1998, the District acquired 255 acres north of Camino Tassajara from the Town of Danville, and another 106 acres from the developers of Wood Ranch, bringing the northern Short Ridge Unit of the Preserve to 361 acres. Today Sycamore Valley's gross acreage is approximately 696 acres.
The Sherburne Hills Unit is almost entirely grassland, and the Short Ridge Unit is predominantly grassland with scattered oak savanna with valley oak trees, coastal live oak, and buckeye. This habitat supports gopher snakes, racers, Northern Pacific rattlesnakes, acorn woodpeckers, scrub jays, black-tailed titmouse, Western bluebirds, Northern orioles, lazuli buntings, and loggerhead shrikes (which also occur in the South Unit). The northern unit's mature woodlands shelter breeding red-tailed hawks and big-horned owls, and provide cover for California quail, wild turkeys, and gray fox.
The steep sloping gullies of the Preserve drain into Sycamore Creek. In addition to many ponds found in the Preserve, these seasonal drainages provide small wetland habitat for garter snakes, Pacific tree frogs, and red-legged frogs. The drainages also house raccoons, striped skunks, deers, coyotes, and species of birds including ruby-crowned kinglets, chestnut-backed chickadees, vireos, warblers, red-winged blackbirds, and great blue herons. Northern harrier, Cooper's hawk, and white-tailed kite are among the raptors seen hunting in the Preserve.
This amazing landmark in Danville, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Mount Diablo State Park
- Las Trampas Regional Wilderness
- Eugene O'Neill Natl Historic Site
- Museum of the San Ramon Valley
- Sycamore Valley Park
- Hap Magee Ranch Park
- Osage Station Park
- Iron Horse Regional Trail
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek California! Stop by for a visit anytime!