Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

February 20, 2019


Present: Colleen Mackinnon, Fred Woods, Rick Paul, Dick Althouse, and Rick Mercurio


Treasurerís Report: Rick P had prepared a written treasurerís report.† Fred had visited Jim Schafer, who had collected $258 from the iron ranger. The Board thanks Jim for this work, and wishes him a very speedy recovery!


Escondido Charitable Foundation Grant: Rick M had submitted a Letter of Intent (LOI) in January to the ECF for a grant that would fund wheelchair accessible shuttle service on every Sunday for a year, from the La Honda parking area to the Ranch House. The ECF announced just the day earlier that our LOI had been approved to proceed to the next level of the application process. This means that we will be submitting a full application by the end of next month. The Board discussed the hope of opening the Ranch House to guests every Sunday, thus leveraging funds from the City to finance a ranger to be on duty for those days. The Board also discussed proposing three activities on Sundays during the year of the grant funding, which begins October 1, 2019, in order to facilitate public use of Daley Ranch as a direct result of the shuttle service. Rick M will explore these possibilities.


San Diego Foundation Outdoor Education Grant: Rick M recently submitted a Letter of Intent for this grant, asking for funding for next yearís seventh grade school visit program. The goal of this grant dovetails perfectly with our field trips: to bring the outdoors to underserved youth who may not otherwise have access to nature. The grant even lists a few communities where this is needed, and Escondido is one of them. As part of the grant guidelines, funding is also available for capital expenditures, and our LOI listed three items under this category. We await a decision from the SDF to learn if FODR has been approved to submit a full application.


School Visits: Fred continues his work of organizing the ten trips for this year. He is busy arranging new logistics in light of the raptor program only being available for six of the trips. He is also working on the addition of a new hike near the Hilltop Picnic area at Dixon Lake, taking students through riparian habitat. Colleen shared the online survey questions that we ask both students and teachers to complete after their visits. The Board made a few suggestions, and Colleen will follow up. Fred accepted a $2500 check from the Escondido Rotary the day earlier. At the official Rotary lunchtime presentation Fred delivered a brief explanation of the program, inviting Rotarians to come up and see the activities first hand. Colleen, who is an active member of Rotary, and Rick M, also attended the lunch. The Board is very grateful for Rotaryís continued support.


Plant Signs: Colleen met with Brian Swanson last month to discuss the issue of plant signs along the Ranch House and Creek Crossing trails. Brian has graciously volunteered to spearhead the replacement of the signs, which are currently in need of attention due to vandalism, deterioration, and in some cases, the plants themselves are no longer in the same place. The Board agreed to allocate $300 for this project, which will pay for 22 new signs. The verbiage will include the common name, the Latin name, and the number that corresponds with that plant from the plant guide. Brian will oversee the purchase and replacement of these signs on the existing wooden posts. Rick P has five additional posts if needed. FODR and other potential donors to this project could be acknowledged at the kiosk at the main La Honda entrance, rather than on the signs themselves. FODR will follow up after a yearís time to evaluate the effectiveness of this new signage.


New Recreational Facilities: The FODR Board had a joint meeting with the Escondido Creek Conservancy (TECC) earlier this month at the Ranch House. A principal topic was working together on a proposal to develop infrastructure for outdoor education in the area near the Ranch House. At that meeting Colleen shared an outline of plans that could include an interpretive trail, an amphitheater, informational signage, and possibly facilities for primitive camping. The two Boards agreed to continue to meet together to work on this and other collaborative efforts. The next meeting is set for Saturday, April 13, at the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center.


Newsletter: The next edition is scheduled for April. Colleen will submit an article and photos of the Girl Scout visit to Daley Ranch late last year. She will also ask Ann to help with an article about the Conservation Fellows program. Fred will submit photos and captions from the seventh grade program.


Barn Restoration: Dick has been very busy exploring options for renovating the barn at Daley Ranch. He made detailed drawings and took photos of the barnís existing framing and features, which he shared with the Board after three separate visits there. He spoke to historic architect Bob McQuead, who offered insights into what might be needed to strengthen the structure for safety and preservation. Dick has determined that he will need the services of a structural engineer, and he would like to ask John Schmidt, who advised Dick with Building #4, to fill this role. Dick has thought through many of the details that may be needed for this project, including anchors, shear panels, steel reinforcement, etc., including the re-use of existing lumber where possible. He said that some sections and beams are rotting and out of plumb. The west wall is strongest, probably because it has been rebuilt at some point, and Dick would like to begin with this part. He also spoke of clearing the outside area, and removing and replacing the interior dirt floor, as well as improving the bridge over the creek to allow pedestrian access. Much manpower will be needed, and we hope to use volunteers when possible. The Board may be willing to help partially fund this project, hopefully with the City matching our contribution. Colleen moved to allocate $1000 as initial funding, specifically to be used for a structural engineer to evaluate the barn project. Rick M seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


El Caballo Park Update: Rick P asked the Board to help re-align the trailhead and existing kiosk with the new metal Daley Ranch welcome gate at El Caballo Park. This would involve moving the kiosk, which Dick said he would look into, as well as building a new fence to delineate the entrance. Rick M will contact the City to see if they can help with the fence part of the project. Rick M moved to conceptually approve these projects. Colleen seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.


Next Meeting: The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Wednesday, March 20 at Lizís home at 6 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary