University Heights Update From:
The Escondido Creek Conservancy
University Heights, as we all know, is a critical piece of open space that could either be a wonderful asset to our community–502 acres of open, protected space, with hiking and horse trails in a pristine habitat–OR could become the first of many dominos to threaten our community with a proposed development of upwards of 1000 houses on our northern border stretching from San Elijo Hills to Harmony Grove. Please take a moment to read the appeal from The Escondido Creek Conservancy who is on the verge of making a breakthrough on this property, but need our help to do so. They are short $24,034 to pay the option fees on this property which buys them time to find the remaining public agency buyers to keep this property out of developer hands. Please, take a moment to make a contribution to help keep Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove rural.
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
― Gary Snyder
In the dramatic countdown to the year end deadline to purchase the 502 acre property on the edge of Elfin Forest known as University Heights, here is the latest update from The Escondido Creek Conservancy (TECC). Read more
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.