Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

January 11, 2007

Present: Sally Thomas, Jerry Harmon, Carol Stanford, Fred Woods, Rick Paul and Rick Mercurio; from the City, Tony Smock; guests Geoffrey Smith and Mike Whalen.

     Sally opened the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Train Depot in Grape Day Park, Escondido. The December minutes were approved as written. Sally offered a treasurer’s report for Irene. The total amount on hand other than the investment funds will be $6883 after deposits. Rick Mercurio moved to approve $250 for the Daley Ranch Tracking Team, to be used as scholarships for trainees. Rick Paul seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

     Geoffrey spoke about preliminary inquiries about open space land parcels in the vicinity of Daley Ranch. He first focused on the Von Seggren property, about 350-400 acres near Lake Wohlford. The owner’s son Carl spoke with Geoffrey two weeks earlier, and expressed an interest in selling the land. He is pursuing annexation to Escondido, which may be interested in annexing not only Von Seggren’s land but also adjacent lands that it owns. This would mean that Escondido could avoid paying property taxes to the County on this land. Carl suggested contacting his attorney if anyone wanted to make an offer. The Board agreed that we need to schedule a time to visit the land and assess its value as habitat and connectivity. We could establish a criteria list with TECC and the Upper Escondido Creek Open Space Consortium for this evaluation. Geoffrey said he would try to organize a walking tour.

     Geoffrey also told us about the Bottle Peak property. These 800 acres were purchased two years ago and the new owner has been in contact with Geoffrey. Grant monies may be available to help acquire this land for conservation purposes, which the owner hopes for. Proposition 84 could free up money for the purchase. We were reminded that FODR should participate in the next meeting of the Escondido Creek Alliance Wednesday.

     Tony reported that the City has prepared for rains with new drainage improvements on some of the trails. The City has also built a new trail from the old water tank up to the Stanley Peak trail. He will be hosting a visit from three generations of Daleys in a couple weeks. The Board urged Tony to garner as much historical information as possible from them. Historical architect Bob McQuead is moving forward with ranch house work, which will be completed in stages. The City does intend to create an interpretive center at the house, but with options for having gatherings in the main room. Tony has filed a permit with the wildlife agencies for plans to remove willows and other invasive species from Jack Creek right in front of the ranch house. The City also has moved the horse trough away from the old structures as a first step in creating an equestrian zone in an appropriate place.

     The rest of the meeting was spent preparing for Saturday’s strategic planning meeting. Sally has done a tremendous job of preparing for this and compiling data and input from Board members. Rick Paul has graciously agreed to host the meeting.

     Jerry reminded the Board to attend the Coalition of Environmental Organization meeting this Tuesday at 5:15 at City Hall. We are anxious to hear Barbara Redlitz speak about the D4 provision of the MHCP process.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary