Category Archives: San Elijo Hills News

The Escondido Creek Conservancy Saves 79 Acres. Creates New LeoMar Preserve in Olivenhain.

The acquisition further supports preservation efforts that began with the Conservancy’s “Save 1,000 Acres” campaign in the upper Escondido Creek watershed, and honors two of the Conservancy’s founders.

The Escondido Creek Conservancy has continued its commitment to creating wildlife corridors in North San Diego County as part of its on-going Missing Lynx campaign. The recent purchase of 79 acres of land adjacent to the Gaty reservoir in Olivenhain will serve as the centerpiece of the Conservancy’s newest wildlife sanctuary, called LeoMar Preserve, named to honor Leonard Wittwer and Martha Blane, two Conservancy founders instrumental in the success of the now 30-year old land trust.

Escrow closed on May 7th, 2021. The purchase price was $2,054,000, consisting of a grant awarded to the Conservancy from the State of California Wildlife Conservation Board (propositions 68 and 84) and a sub-grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s section 6 of the Federal Endangered Species Act. The acquisition and conservation is a result of State, Federal, and local collaboration.

“Leonard and Martha understand the intrinsic value of the native coastal SoCal sage scrub and chaparral habitats that once covered most of southern California. They have committed a great part of their lives to ensuring that as much as possible continues to thrive. It is an honor for the Escondido Creek Conservancy to be able to name a preserve after them,” said Betsy Keithley, a member of the Escondido Creek Conservancy Board of Directors.

Leonard Wittwer has been on the Board since 1991. He has been central to the growth of the Conservancy’s land protection program, and currently serves as board president. Martha served as the very first board president, at a time when it was uncommon to see women in non-profit leadership roles. Both Leonard and Martha have devoted thousands of volunteer hours to the Conservancy over the past three decades. Their service is being acknowledged by the Board of Directors with the creation of this beautiful preserve in Olivenhain.

“Partners like the Escondido Creek Conservancy are key to helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fulfill its conservation mission,” said Jonathan Snyder, Assistant Field Supervisor for the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. “Conservation of this habitat will ensure plants and wildlife in the area continue to persist.”

The LeoMar Preserve is located in the lower Escondido Creek watershed in the Olivenhain community of Encinitas. It is home to sensitive habitats and threatened and endangered species including the coastal California gnatcatcher. Over the next few years, the Conservancy will be protecting additional properties and adding them to the LeoMar Preserve, managing the preserve for the betterment of California’s threatened and endangered species.

“Because of Leonard and Martha’s devotion to the Escondido Creek watershed, a piece of wild California will be preserved for all time, and will thrive, at the LeoMar Preserve,” said Ann Van Leer, the Conservancy’s executive director.

Visit to learn more about the Conservancy, to join the mission to enhance the lives of people and wildlife in the Escondido Creek watershed. More information about the Missing Lynx campaign can be found at:

San Marcos Creek Project holds “Coffee with the Creek” virtual public outreach

Project team uses COVID-safe measures to continue communication with community members

The City of San Marcos and the San Marcos Creek Project team would like to invite members of the public to their “Coffee with the Creek” virtual community meetings. During the event, the Creek Project Team will share project updates, answer questions from the community, and provide a look-ahead to upcoming construction activities.

The Creek Project team will hold two Coffee with the Creek events on June 10 from 6-8 p.m., and on June 12 from 10 a.m.-noon. Links to register for the event are available on Registrants are encouraged to submit their questions in advance on the RSVP page so their questions can be answered quickly during the event.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our team has needed to innovate new ways of reaching our community about this important project,” said Principal Engineer Lewis Clapp. “Through our Coffee with the Creek outreach, we get to bring together folks from our team and our community in a COVID-safe manner while still maintaining the casual and authentic feel of these kinds of events. Our team is looking forward to this event and sharing all the exciting updates surrounding the San Marcos Creek Project.” 

The Creek Project team will share project updates and a presentation at the top of each hour. Following the presentation, they will be available to answer questions asked by community members. Meetings will be hosted through Zoom. For more information about the San Marcos Creek Project, visit

Construction Alerts

The City also encourages members of the public to visit the project website and sign up for alerts to stay informed throughout project construction: 

·       Website: Visit for project information.

·       Text updates: Text SMCreek to 484848 to sign up for text updates.

·       Project hotline: Call 877-SMCREEK with any questions and a team member will respond within 48 hours.

·       Email: Email with questions or requests and a team member will respond within 48 hours.

·       Waze: We’ll also be posting alerts and closures on Waze during construction. Download the app so you can #KnowBeforeYouGo.

Para información y actualizaciones en español, por favor visite la página de la ciudad:

About the Creek Project

In addition to creating new outdoor spaces for San Marcos residents to enjoy, the Creek project will add the needed infrastructure to relieve long-standing flooding issues and improve traffic circulation while revitalizing and preserving the San Marcos Creek. The project will: 

  • Minimize flooding risks 
  • Preserve and enhance creek habitat
  • Build the new Paseo del Arroyo Park, trails and gathering spaces

Construction crews continue to make progress on the project, which started active construction in Spring 2020 and is expected to wrap up in Spring 2023.

San Marcos City Council names new San Marcos Creek Project park “Paseo del Arroyo”

At their meeting on May 25, the San Marcos City Council voted unanimously to name the new 3-acre park being developed as part of the City’s $104 million San Marcos Creek Project, “Paseo del Arroyo,” which translates to “Creek Walk” in English.  This action comes after a four-month process involving community input and review by the Parks and Recreation Commission before the name recommendation was sent to City Council. The San Marcos Creek team will continue to make progress on the project, including the construction of the new park, which is expected to be complete in Spring 2023.

“This park’s new name is something all residents of San Marcos can be proud of,” said Mayor Rebecca Jones. “This action taken by our City Council is a milestone in the San Marcos Creek Project that gives us the opportunity to look back on our City’s past while also envisioning the future of our community together.”

About the park naming process

The City’s Parks and Recreation Commission considered the following categories in their name recommendations:

  • Individual: The park is named in recognition of a community member who has contributed significantly to the quality of life in San Marcos or has provided a substantial donation towards construction and/or maintenance of the park, recreation or trail in the community.
  • Organization: The park name pays tribute to an organization which has provided a substantial donation towards construction and/or maintenance of the park.
  • Neighborhood / geographic location: The park name is identified by the geographic location, surrounding features or common name the area is known by in the community.
  • History and community character: The park name provides a link to San Marcos’ history and character.

Community members were able to send their recommendations to the Parks and Recreation Commission in February and March. After review of the proposed names and written narratives to support the nominations, the Commission narrowed their selection to two recommendations which they sent to the City Council.

The name “Paseo del Arroyo,” which translates to “Creek Walk,” was submitted by a community member who envisioned fusing the area’s Spanish Heritage into the park name.

The Parks and Recreation Commission agreed with these sentiments, stating in the staff report, “Our Hispanic community has also provided significant contributions to our city’s thriving economy. We feel it is prudent that this park’s name be in Spanish as an opportunity to reflect to our city’s shared heritage and represent the people that live in the heart of the city.”

About Paseo del Arroyo Park
The 3-acre park is adjacent to the San Marcos Creek and Discovery Street, between Bent Avenue and Via Vera Cruz. The new park will feature:

  • A .65-mile trail
  • A playground area
  • Interpretive signs
  • Vistas/Overlooks
  • 100, 15-gallon trees
  • Solar pedestrian lighting
  • Picnic tables and seating
  • Gathering spaces

The park was designed for nearby residents and guests to walk or bike to, so they can utilize the surrounding 1.2-mile trail, enjoy a small playground and take in views of the Creek. There is no plan for a parking lot or on-street parking spaces as part of this project. Its location will provide a new level of access to the Creek and the surrounding preserved habitat. Dogs, on leash, will be allowed along the trail and within the park.

About the Creek Project

In addition to creating new outdoor spaces for San Marcos residents to enjoy, the Creek project will add the needed infrastructure to relieve long-standing flooding issues and improve traffic circulation while revitalizing and preserving the San Marcos Creek. The project will: 

  • Minimize flooding risks 
  • Preserve and enhance creek habitat
  • Build the new Paseo del Arroyo Park, trails and gathering spaces

Construction crews continue to make progress on the project, which started active construction in Spring 2020 and is expected to wrap up in Spring 2023.

San Marcos Celebrates Bike Anywhere Week

The City of San Marcos’ Parks & Recreation Youth Commission is inviting San Marcos residents to celebrate SANDAG’s Bike Anywhere Week from May 16-22. Pledge to ‘Go by Bike’ and explore more than 1,644 miles of bikeways in the San Diego region.  

Alternative transportation methods including cycling and walking can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to a healthy lifestyle. The City of San Marcos’ 63-mile trail network is perfect for cycling, hiking, running, and more!

The City is currently working on community improvement projects including the San Marcos Creek project and the Twin Oaks Valley/San Elijo corridor paving project which will provide improved bike lanes for residents who enjoy traveling on two wheels.  

“San Marcos is a wonderful place to bike,” said Taylor Quach, San Marcos Youth Commission Chair. “The Youth Commission encourages people of all ages to learn about the many benefits that riding a bike provides for your health and the environment.”

Bike Anywhere Week 2021 includes bicycle activities for people of all ages. SANDAG’s iCommute program is hosting virtual events including bike yoga, fix a flat clinic and bike safety workshops. You can even find popular routes to ride and go on a self-guided adventure. The full list of activities is featured here.

How to participate in Bike Anywhere Week 2021:

  • Take the pledge: Pledge to GO by BIKE during SANDAG’s Bike Anywhere Week, May 16-22 and pick up a free t-shirt.
  • Log your bike trips in Love to Ride. Each trip you log will enter you for a chance to win giveaways.
  • Post a picture: Share a selfie in your Bike Anywhere T-shirt for a chance to win more prizes.

Bike bingo: Download an REI Bike Anywhere Bingo card (English | Spanish) and start exploring.

Tanis Brown receives San Marcos City Council’s Civic SMILE Award

Tanis Brown was presented with the San Marcos Inspiration, Leadership and Excellence (SMILE) Award by the San Marcos City Council at the May 11 City Council meeting.

She was nominated by Councilmember Randy Walton for her tireless volunteer work at the San Marcos Historical Society, Heritage Park, the North County Cemetery District, and her many other contributions to the San Marcos community spanning more than four decades.

“For more than 40 years, Tanis has volunteered her time to make our city a better place,” Walton said. “From serving on the Community Services Commission to help guide our Parks Master Plan, to her devotion to preserving San Marcos history as president of the San Marcos Historical Society, Tanis is a super volunteer and it’s an honor to recognize her for her work.”

About the San Marcos City Council’s Civic SMILE Award

There are often community members who rise to the top – clearly reflecting this San Marcos ‘Spirit of Service.’ That’s why San Marcos City Council members initiated the Civic SMILE Award recognition program in March 2021.

Six times each year, a community member is chosen by a specific City Council member to receive recognition and will be presented with a San Marcos Inspiration, Leadership and Excellence (SMILE) Award during a City Council meeting.

For more information about the recognition program: San Marcos Civic SMILE Award.

San Elijo Hills Real Estate Market Update for May 2021

The average home selling in San Elijo Hills is selling for 107% of the listing price in an average of just 12 days. The price per square foot in April $442 down from $466 in March. Currently, only 7 active homes for sale in San Elijo Hills and 26 homes are pending in escrow. With 22 homes selling in April. Low mortgage rates and historically low inventory of homes for sale make now the time to sell your San Elio Hills Home. Please call or text 760 496-8134 and we can talk about safely selling your home.

760-496-8134 (Call/Text)
Edward Philbrick: REALTOR Lic #01967137
Corcoran Global Living Lic #02109201  

Upcoming San Elijo Hills Park dog park maintenance closures

Maintenance work will begin next week at the San Elijo Hills dog parks. Renovations will be made to the turf and dog park areas to keep the park safe and enjoyable. The dog parks will be closed on these dates to allow the new grass time to get established:

Small Dog Park Closed: Monday, May 10 – Tuesday, May 11
Large Dog Park Closed: 
Wednesday, May 12 – Monday, June 7

Other dog parks will be open at Sunset Park, Montiel Park, and Hollandia Park. For questions, please contact the Public Works Office at (760) 752-7550.

Mountain Lion Sighting in San Elijo Hills

Warning-Mountain Lion Sighting

UPDATE from The San Elijo Hills Community Association (HOA)

The HOA received an email from the Principal at San Elijo Elementary School that parents have reported seeing a Mountain Lion along the trail near the back gate. 

Please be aware of this situation if you have students who walk to and from school.  

This area is also a popular trail for hiking and biking, so please keep an eye out. The following is from the Mountain Lion Foundation on what to do if you have a close encounter with a mountain lion:

Seem as large as possible: Make yourself appear larger by picking up children, leashing pets in, and standing close to other people. Open your jacket. Raise your arms. Wave your raised arms slowly.
Make noise: Yell, shout, bang your walking stick or water bottle. Make any loud sound that cannot be confused by the lion as the sound of prey. Speak slowly and loudly to disrupt and discourage the lion’s hunting instincts.
Act defiant, not afraid: Maintain eye contact. Never run past or away from a mountain lion. Don’t bend over or crouch down. Aggressively wave your arms, throw stones or branches, do not turn away.
Slowly create distance: Assess the situation. Consider whether you may be between the lion and its kittens, prey or cache. Back away slowly to give the mountain lion a path to retreat, never turning your back. Give the lion the time and ability to get away.
Protect yourself: If attacked, fight back. Protect your neck and throat. People have used rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches, walking sticks, fanny packs and even bare hands to turn away mountain lions.
**Since 2006 provides community news, photos, videos, and a directory of resources for residents of San Elijo Hills. The site is independent of the developer and the HOA and is run by local homeowners.

Save the date for the virtual 2021 San Marcos State of the City Address May 19

Mayor Rebecca Jones will share a compelling message about the community’s resilience and innovation at 11 a.m. May 19 during the 2021 State of the City Address, hosted by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce.

The State of the City Address is the community’s premier event that showcases the vision for the City of San Marcos. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this pre-recorded virtual event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Register here and you will receive a confirmation email with a link to view event.

“Despite all of the challenges of the past year, our brave healthcare workers, our businesses, our residents and our city services have stepped up in ways that have made us all incredibly thankful to call San Marcos home,” Jones said. “With renewed hope on our horizon, it is important to reflect on all that this thriving community has accomplished in the last year.”

This year’s event will also feature a video tribute to frontline healthcare professionals and local businesses who have adapted, survived and thrived despite unprecedented challenges.

Following the Chamber’s virtual event at 11 a.m. May 19, the 2021 State of the City Address will be viewable on the City’s website, on the City’s YouTube channel and on the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce’s website. It will also be rebroadcast on San Marcos TV beginning in mid-June on Cox Communications Channel 19, Timer Warner Cable Channel 24, AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

WHAT:                 2021 State of the City Address featuring Mayor Rebecca Jones

WHEN:                 11 a.m.-noon May 19

COST:                    Free

WHERE:               Register here to receive a link to view the virtual event

MORE INFO:       San Marcos Chamber of Commerce

San Marcos Parks & Recreation Department Highlights Mental Health Month

Beginning May 1, the City of San Marcos’ Parks & Recreation Department will be joining thousands of individuals, organizations, and communities across the nation to raise awareness for Mental Health Matters Month. Mental Health Matters Month is promoted by the State of California’s mental health movement, ‘Each Mind Matters,’ and is aimed at educating, increasing awareness, and uniting those who share a vision for improved mental health and equality.

“Our residents have endured multiple challenges over the past year from the long-term pandemic including extreme isolation for many,” said Cheryl Salazar, City of San Marcos Recreation Supervisor. “These unexpected events can impact our mental health. Thankfully, our community has resources to help manage some of this stress.”

The month-long campaign, featured at will show support and bring awareness to the topic of mental health by engaging residents in a range of virtual activities. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Matters Month is “Hope for Change.” 

Throughout May, resources from both ‘Each Mind Matters’ and the County of San Diego’s Behavior Health Services will be shared through the City’s social media channels. Connect with one another and share support by using the hashtags #HopeForChange and #MayMentalHealthMonth2021.

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