In May of 1967 Dr. Albert Byrne, a Los Altos Hills native, donated a 55-acre
nature preserve to be used in establishing the Albert Byrne Charitable
Foundation of the Nature Conservancy. In appreciation of his generosity, the
Nature Conservancy established the Albert Barnitz Byrne Preserve.
|Cresting the summit of Byrne Preserve|
Dr. Byrne's own personal history is both colorful and interesting. The son of
pioneer residents of the Los Altos Hills area, Dr. Byrne left home as a young
man to mine silver in Nevada and later to do surveying in Oregon. In his thirties
he attended college and became a doctor. After practicing as a physician for a
time, he volunteered for service in the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil
War. After returning to the United States, he served for many years as a doctor
on Indian reservations before retiring in Texas.
In January of 1968 the Town of Los Altos Hills agreed to the purchase of the
land subject to the stipulation of Nature Conservancy that it remain in its natural
One of the conditions of approval was the agreement by the Town of Los Altos
Hills that it would provide a connecting corridor linking it with Duveneck's
Hidden Villa Ranch and its associated open space. Through the efforts of local
residents, a 21-acre corridor was purchased that fulfilled this requirement.
Commenting on the acquisition of the corridor, renowned conservationist and
author Wallace Stegner said,
"This corridor will be of inestimable value to the whole community,
for it will provide open space, erosion control, walking and horse
trails, and that intangible but indispensable benefit we call 'visual
amenity' —the pure pleasure of seen beauty."
The Byrne Preserve open space is available for grazing of a limited number of
horses on a year round basis and together with neighboring Westwind Barn
offers the community a welcome refuge from the hectic pressures of Silicon
Valley—be they strollers, serious hikers, joggers, or merely those seeking a
moment of solitude in a pastoral setting.