These carefree times came to an end when notice came by letter in November 1968, that
development of the property would soon begin and that it would be necessary to remove the
horses. But what to do and where to go?
Historically, all land acquired over the years by the EBMUD for protection of the San
Pablo reservoir from pollution of the drinking water supply was tightly controlled.
Watershed lands were fenced and closely patrolled to keep out trespassers. By the middle
of the 1950’s because of increasing population, considerable pressure was building for the
district to sell much of the land considered by some people to be excess to the district’s
needs. Fortunately, most residents did not favor that course of action and preferred that
the lands remain pristine. There was sentiment, however, for opening the properties for
public enjoyment through the building of trails for hikers and horses and for controlled
boating and fishing in the reservoir.
Most of the lands down hill from the San Pablo Ridge to the San Pablo Dam Road and
beyond, had been leased for many years to Mr. Frank Dutra, a long time rancher of Orinda,
for cattle grazing. Mr. Dutra died about 1968, and his family gave up their lease. So it
was an opportune time for the Orinda group to discuss with EBMUD officials the use of part
of the property to graze the Orinda girls’ horses. Dorothy Bolt, whose daughter Hillary
had a horse pastured at Altarinda, and Bob Lewman got in touch with Bill Hartman, Land
Superintendent of the EBMUD, who advised them on procedure to follow. Hartman, along with
Harry Dano, also of EBMUD, was helpful to the Orinda people on developing rules and
regulations for use of the property in order to comply with the EBMUD’s lease
requirements. Mrs. Bolt sought the help of an attorney friend who prepared a draft
articles of incorporation for a new Orinda Horseman’s Association to meet district
requirements. Mrs. Bolt personally carried the papers to Sacramento for filing and
approval by the state.