Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

August 21, 2019


Present: Colleen Mackinnon, Rick Paul, Jerry Harmon, Fred Woods, Dick Althouse, Liz Ridder, Rick Mercurio; Denise Harter and Jim Schafer


Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Colleen opened the meeting at 7:20 at the Train Depot in Grape Day Park, Escondido. She had completed the minutes for the July meeting, which she orally delivered. The only correction was to confirm the date for the annual picnic as March 8, 2020.

Rick P delivered a treasurer’s report. We have received grants of $5000 and $25,000 for our school program from SDG&E and the San Diego Foundation respectively. Jim collected $329 from the iron ranger, and we have received three donations/renewals. The grant money of $9600 for the “White Building” project is in our account, and will soon be paid to Mark Carpenter’s firm.


Grant funding and school visits: The Board is delighted to receive the above grants to fund next year’s field trips. As part of the SDF grant, FODR must provide at least two progress reports, one in December and one when the school visits are complete, no later than July 31. Rick M will sign the agreement with SDF immediately.

Fred is working with the City Rangers on new logistical plans for next year’s trips. Because the Rangers will be short-handed, we are arranging to have all the learning stations located at the ranch itself, and none at Dixon Lake. Fred will attend a meeting with the City Rangers on August 29 to work on this. In addition, Fred attended an inservice on July 25, which brought together participating parties in the various outdoor education programs for Escondido students. Besides Fred, attendees included Krystle Miller of EUSD, Rangers Kathy Boyd and Kealy Fox, as well as a San Diego County staffer.


Denise’s report: Denise has continued her diligent work in many areas on behalf of FODR. She was excited to report sightings of mountain lion tracks near the tunnels last May. She determined that there were two lions, and furthermore lions were actually spotted at the Dixon Lake campground. These were the first sightings at Daley Ranch in a long time. Denise said that FODR needs to pay for a county “encroachment” permit in order to legally park on Valley Center Road while monitoring the under-road tunnels and nearby habitat. Rick M moved to authorize $155 for this. Colleen seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Mountain bikes: Colleen said that the San Diego Mountain Bike Association is working with the Rangers to evaluate trail conditions and to update the trail map for the Daley Ranch Master Plan. They also might like to come to a FODR meeting to coordinate with us. Rick M welcomed the idea of working together with the biking community, noting that bikes tend to have an inordinate impact on the landscape of DR.


Strategic Governance discussion: Colleen and Denise have been working on possible expansion of FODR’s goals and organization. They presented a paper with questions, challenges, and possible action plans and goals that correspond to FODR’s mission statement. One key question is whether FODR might apply for grants that could fund a full time staff member. Denise said that FODR needs a more formal structure to be eligible for long-term grants. Colleen stated that making this transition would mean hard work for our Board, with an executive committee and special meetings to do the nitty-gritty labor to make it happen. Rick M lauded the idea of working toward a paid staff position for FODR, saying this could launch us into a new era. Jerry described how Escondido Creek Conservancy was able to work toward having a paid staff. Colleen asked the Board to look over the proposal paper and to allocate time to discuss this at the next meeting. Denise has thought through some of the steps we would need to take, and will email the Board this information.


Building restoration update: Dick has been very busy, meeting with two Rangers to move our corn planter from Building 3 into the viewing “corral” nearby. He would like to now install an informational sign for it. Rick M moved to allocate $75 for this sign. Colleen seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Dick has also been working on plans to restore the barn. He needs to secure the services and the commitment from a structural engineer. Dick has created 9 pages of drawings and plans, and he believes that the total cost for materials could be as low as $15,000, which is within the budget FODR has approved. He has been shopping around and pricing materials. Dick is committed to a barn design that would be strong enough to permit visitors to enter the structure. Colleen and Dick will schedule a meeting with Mark C next week to discuss ideas from the “White Building” project.


Newsletter: The next issue is set for October. Denise has already submitted an article, which she will update. Rick M will announce the two grants for the school trips, and Fred will try to obtain the photo of our acceptance of the SDG&E Environmental Champions grant. Rick M will contact Mark Carpenter to see if he could submit an article about the conclusions of the “White Building” project and grant work, highlighting its visions for the Ranch House area. Finally, Rick M will contact Scott Hanson of the San Diego Mountain Bike Association to see if he may want to write an article on cooperating with the Rangers on trails at DR. We may also want to include a very brief note that the annual picnic will be moved from November to March 8.


Next meeting: The next meeting is set for Wednesday, September 18 at 6 p.m. Dick volunteered his home as the venue.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary