Friends of Daley Ranch Minutes

Annual Retreat, January 22, 2011

Present: Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Sally Thomas, Jerry Harmon, and Rick Mercurio

     Fred opened the annual retreat meeting at 10 a.m. at the home of Rick Paul. Rick Paul said that the state is now requiring the same sort of electronic tax filing system as the federal government. Therefore, he requested that FODR use the calendar year as our fiscal year for consistency and ease of filing. Rick M moved to do so, Sally seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

     Rick Paul shared photos he recently took of the area of Daley Ranch adjacent to Alps Way residences in the northwest corner of the ranch. Rick’s descriptions and the photos indicated that several illegal trails are being used in this area. The City has posted an “illegal trail” sign where it leaves the main trail, and they put some brush along that same illegal trail. But the problem persists. FODR made the City aware of our concerns with this problem a couple years ago, but it appears that more action is needed to preserve the integrity of the mitigation habitat there. A few years ago Sally had looked into the feasibility of building a fence to keep out Alps Way residents. The cost was only $5000, but this seems like a low figure today. We discussed FODR educating the residents along Alps Way about the environmental consequences of their illegal entrance into the ranch. Rick M will work on a possible letter to these residents. He will also contact Tony Smock about what the city might do to help address this issue. Sally will try to find a map or satellite photo to include in a letter we will send to the residents there. Fred will pursue funding options for a possible fence, potentially from the Resource Conservation District.

     Rick Paul also took photos of recent work along the Burnt Mountain single track trail. This work involved erosion control, channeling the runoff away from the trail, and it was clearly an improvement. It did not involve re-routing the trail. FODR appreciates the offer of Tony to lead some of the Board on a tour of recent brush-cleared trails. Rick M will ask Tony about the city’s road maintenance strategy for the ranch, and its budget.

     Fred will contact Sunrise Rotary to clarify the signs “order” for plants. A few plants not on the guide may be appropriate for inclusion, particularly riparian species. Mike single-handedly went up to the ranch last weekend to use his GPS to locate each current sign and/or post location. He also put together a checklist of items FODR should address to complete the project. We need to set a date very soon to visit the ranch again, preferably with James Dillane or Rick Halsey, in order to solidify locations for each sign with the correct plant species. We discussed the materials that Sunrise plans to use to make the signs. Mike suggested modeling them after the existing trail signs in the ranch.

     Wendy is currently assembling material for the next newsletter, which she hopes to be ready by mid-February. Fred will write a president’s message as well as an article on the plant signs. Jack Pomeroy has written an article on the ranch’s geology, and others have already been submitted.

     The Board began planning a “thank you” lunch for the Rotary, probably to be held some time in April. We would like this event to be open to our own membership as well as Rotary and their families. Rick M will ask Tony about using the lawn area near the ranch house, and also about the use of shuttles, possibly on a Saturday, or extra shuttles on a Sunday. We would supply food and beverages, and would need to contact our membership to invite them. Fred will contact Rotary to set up a date for this event.

     Rick M asked the Board about our method of thanking members for their donations. Currently he mails a yellow postcard, which serves as a thank you and a receipt, with the name, amount and date of the donation. The Board would like to move in the direction of a more formal letter, which might include the names of our Board and FODR’s goals. Rick P has already designed a logo for letterhead and he will try to find it to begin the revamping process.

     Ben Cueva addressed the Board. He is involved with the Escondido Charros, an organization that has used city-owned land for its arena near the Caballo trailhead for about 40 years. Ben said the city has recently sent a notice of eviction in order to relocate some of the public works storage there, and he is looking for support from the community to help persuade the city to change its mind. The 1.8 acre parcel is used for rodeos, family celebrations, and horse training. It helps keep children off the streets, giving them positive role models. He also believes a city storage facility would violate the spirit of the Daley Ranch master plan in a few ways. Flood run-off would also be an issue for a city yard. Ben said the Charros would be willing to perform some sort of community service to benefit Daley Ranch if they were allowed to remain. Rick P agreed to contact the city to explore their intentions for this area around the base of the Caballo Trail. We agreed to stay in touch with Ben to see if FODR can agree on a plan of action to support the continued location of the Charros, in order to maintain the integrity of the Daley Ranch master plan. Jerry agreed to be our liaison for this purpose. This is a timely issue, because the council will next consider it on March 2.

     The Board hopes to continue to make the restoration of the ranch’s utility buildings a top priority in 2011. The tarp placement must wait until the bee situation is addressed, then the project may proceed. It was agreed that the barn would make an excellent staging area for some of the storage and rebuilding efforts.

     It was noted how busy the ranch has been lately. The parking lot at La Honda is often filled to capacity. Rick M suggested tapping our membership for volunteers in order to have a booth there on weekends. We could sell tee-shits, hats and tout membership in FODR.

     The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. on February 17 at Sally’s house.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary