Mark Twain famously said, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”
In that spirit, FODR is urging our members to support the acquisition of two properties near Daley Ranch as permanent open space. Due to the very recent and extremely generous bequest of a long-time supporter of Daley Ranch, the FODR Board is excited to be able to support this acquisition. The Escondido Creek Conservancy (TECC) spearheads this effort, see Escondido Creek Conservancy .
The $50,000 represents the largest expenditure of FODR funds in our nearly 20-year history. FODR’s goal of Preservation aligns perfectly with this campaign, which will provide critical connectivity for wildlife habitat with Daley Ranch and the surrounding open spaces. Rick Mercurio, FODR Secretary, and Kevin Barnard, TECC’s President, are both excited about the project, but we need your help.
The proposal would preserve 1,000+ acres in northern Escondido in the upper Escondido Creek watershed, to create a 7.5+ mile protected greenbelt extending from Highway 15 to Mountain Meadow across Daley Ranch to Lake Wohlford. TECC has entered into contracts with the owners of two iconic properties: the 694-acre Mountain Gate property in the Hidden Meadow area, and the 282-acre John Henry Ranch near Lake Wohlford. At one time approximately 147 homes were proposed for Mountain Gate, and in recent years there were attempts to develop the John Henry Ranch. Instead, with your help, the properties can be preserved forever. TECC is also in discussions with the owner of another property in this area whose land, if also acquired, would link all these properties to Daley Ranch, Lake Wohlford and Bottle Peak, creating one of the most significant protected areas in North County! Barnard and Mercurio agree that saving land enhances our quality of life by improving water quality, protecting wildlife habitat and preserving our views, while also preventing the addition of thousands of car trips to our already overburdened roads. TECC needs to raise over $11 million in the next three years to preserve these properties. Much of that will come from public and private grants that they work to secure. However, whenever TECC saves a property it first incurs carrying costs, such as appraisals and option payments, so it can keep the property from being sold or developed while fundraising is underway. TECC is currently paying option payments and other costs for these important properties. According to Barnard, TECC has not lost any properties in contract nor has TECC missed any option payments. “In the decade or so I’ve been with TECC we have a 100% acquisition record with any property we’ve gotten into purchase option,” he wrote. “I’m not aware of any property purchase TECC was involved in for the years prior to me being on the board in which TECC failed to complete the purchase.” TECC’s 2016-2017 private fundraising target for this effort is $1 million. Your tax deductible 2016 gift will be doubled by FODR, which has agreed to “match” your contribution. TECC supporters have repeatedly worked miracles with their donations by successfully arranging for the purchase of thousands of acres of open space in the Escondido Creek watershed. For example, for every $1 supporters have donated, TECC has been able to leverage that donation into $82 through public and private partnerships. Your donation of any amount is tax deductible. Visit Escondido Creek Conservancy to see a photo gallery and map or to donate online. Your contribution in 2016 will help TECC make the payments they need to keep control of these properties until they can raise the balance of the funds! Thank you in advance for your donation to The Escondido Creek Conservancy to Save 1000 Acres! Please contact us at 760-471-9354 or Escondido Creek Conservancy to answer any questions about this important campaign. You may also send a check, payable to TECC, with FODR in the memo line, to TECC, PO Box 460791, Escondido, CA 92046.