Tag Archives: Escondido Creek

Volunteer to Help Preserve North County Land and Provide Outdoor Education!

Volunteer to Help Preserve North County Land and Provide Outdoor Education!

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, CA (August 1, 2019)

Who: The Escondido Creek Conservancy (Conservancy) is partnering with Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD) to recruit volunteers to help protect Escondido Creek and the Escondido Creek watershed. The Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust. Since 1991, the Conservancy has helped preserve over 4,000 acres of land for wildlife habitat and provides outdoor education to more than 5,000 children and adults annually. OMWD is a public agency providing water, wastewater services, recycled water, hydroelectricity, and the operation of Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (EFRR). The two organizations first partnered in 2009 to build the beautiful Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, and have been working together since then on many watershed protection projects and education programs.

What: Join us at our next Volunteer Open House and discover the many ways you can give back and get in touch with local nature. Volunteers can choose to hike and monitor trails, assist with school field trips, staff the interpretive center, perform trail maintenance with park rangers, or work with the Conservancy’s land managers to restore sensitive habitat.

Why: EFRR is almost 800 acres with only three rangers to monitor the land, while the Conservancy manages over 3,000 acres with a small staff of land managers, supplemented by volunteers. Volunteers are crucial in helping protect and restore these fragile open spaces so plants and wildlife can continue to thrive. Our volunteers have also been a vital part of the Conservancy’s education programs which provide outdoor experiences to local elementary and middle-school students.

Our volunteer network is a community of like-minded people who enjoy backyard barbecues, in-service meetings followed by “Conservation Conversations” on a wide variety of topics, and unique tour opportunities throughout the year. Recent tours include an EDCO Recycling Center, a Native American Eco-Village, and the California Wolf Center.

Where: The Volunteer Open House will be held at EFRR’s Interpretive Center, but volunteer opportunities are available throughout various preserves in Escondido. Limited parking will be reserved for those registered, and arriving early is advised.

When: The Volunteer Open House will be held on Saturday, August 10, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Please visit www.natureiscalling.eventbrite.com for more information or to register.

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Giving Back To Nature… and Myself: Elfin Forest Trail Patrol

Next Training on January 19th 9:00am – 12:00pm

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

8833 Harmony Grove Rd

Escondido, CA 92029

Start the new year off with a commitment to give back to mother nature and spend more time outdoors. The Olivenhain Municipal Water District and The Escondido Creek Conservancy (Conservancy) are recruiting volunteers for their next Trail Patrol Training on January 19th. Trail Patrol volunteers sign up for monthly hikes at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (EFRR) and the Conservancy’s neighboring preserves to help maintain trails and protect the natural open spaces we love.

“One of my favorite parts of serving on the Trail Patrol is a bit selfish. I sometimes need the motivation to make time for a good hike, so I look forward to my 3-hours-a-month on the Elfin Forest Trail,” says Cindy Pahl, one of our newest volunteers. “At the same time, I love my role as an ‘ambassador’ for Elfin Forest, which feels less selfish and more giving,” Pahl continued. Volunteers get to explore the beautiful, serene trails while assisting visitors and submitting reports to our rangers and land managers.

“When a trail issue is reported by a trail patrol volunteer, rangers quickly respond with action.  This results in greater trail sustainability and a safer recreation experience for our visitors,” says EFRR Park Supervisor, Jeff Anderson. EFRR provides an outdoor recreation area for 150,000 visitors a year. EFRR park rangers and Conservancy land managers heavily rely on trail patrol volunteers to be the eyes and ears for the Reserve and report their observations while on patrol. “Our volunteers help us track where invasive plant infestations need to be addressed, whether preserves are receiving inappropriate human use like fishing, pointing out trails that need repair, and making note of rare or amazing wildlife phenomena!,” says Conservation Land Manager, Hannah Walchak, who helps manage about 2,500 acres of land in the Escondido Creek watershed.

Whether you’re patrolling on foot, mountain bike, or horseback, there is a place on the team for you. Plus, there are many trail options for various mobility levels. And you don’t need to be a wildlife expert to join! We’ll tell you everything you need to know and provide you with your own uniform you can wear as you’re out exploring the trails. Our next training is Saturday, January 19th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm so don’t wait to sign up! You can register online at https://trailpatrol.eventbrite.com

Race against Time for The Escondido Creek Conservancy to Save Skyline West of Escondido from Development

Sleeping Lady Ridge Above San Elijo Hills-Photo Ron Forster

An opportunity has opened up to preserve the largest tract of remaining undeveloped land along Escondido Creek west of I-15 with the recent purchase agreement obtained by The Escondido Creek Conservancy (TECC) and the property owner. To save Escondido’s skyline from development, TECC is now tasked with finding the multi million purchase price before the agreement expires at the end of this year.

“This spectacular area has been on our wish list for more than fifteen years, said Steve Barker, TECC President. “But only now have all the pieces fallen into place – allowing TECC to lock up the parcels until the end of the year. This gives TECC time to broker a deal that will protect the land for the benefit and enjoyment of all County residents, now and into the future.”  The land, dubbed University Heights on development plans, due to it’s proximity to the California State University of San Marcos, and also known locally as “Sleeping Lady Ridge”, because the silhouette of the land resembles a sleeping woman – consists of 502 acres south of San Marcos and west of Escondido. It takes in the summit, southern slopes and a secluded valley below Mt Whitney, a prominent local high point. This pristine landscape supports the many plants and animals of the chaparral, sage scrub and oak woodland habitats. Located between the trail systems of San Marcos and those of the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and County of San Diego Parks and Recreation lands, Sleeping Lady Ridge represents a tremendous opportunity for connected outdoor recreation for hikers, bikers and equestrians – without the need for long travel distances.

At least two development schemes have been proposed for the land, with up to 1000 new homes suggested, the most recent ending in foreclosure – opening the door for TECC to preserve this valuable resource permanently. “Access to experiencing nature is an essential part of human happiness and health and TECC envisions these lands becoming part of a regional open space preserve. The close proximity to the densely populated North County Cities of Escondido and San Marcos will allow easy access, perhaps even a trail head at a nearby Sprinter station” Mr. Barker said. TECC’s task now is to assemble a coalition of green minded investors to assist in closing escrow this year. The long term goal is to transfer the acreage to County Parks and Recreation or a similar agency for permanent preservation. “Based on the natural value of this land and the interest by wildlife agencies in its preservation, we are very optimistic that long term permanent preservation is possible. Our critical challenge is to find the supporters for the near-term action to secure the land now” Mr. Barker stated. “All interested in helping out, in any way, no matter how small, should contact the TECC office on (760) 471 9354 or email information@escondidocreek.org or DONATE NOW.

About The Escondido Creek Conservancy
TECC is a local land conservancy which is dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and protection of the natural open space within the Escondido creek watershed. Since 1991 TECC has preserved hundreds of acres of open space through direct purchase or by working in partnership with its members, donors, landowners, government agencies and community groups. For more information visit www.escondidocreek.org.