Parks and Rec

20 Years and Counting for Volunteer of the Month

Carol_Crafts_Friends_of_Goodan_Ranch

Goodan Ranch and Sycamore Canyon couldn’t ask for a better friend than Carol Crafts.

She’s donated 20 years of her time to the County Parks and Recreation Department and most of them went to the open space preserve. For 15 of those years she also acted as President of the Friends of Goodan Ranch.

The Board of Supervisors honored Crafts on Tuesday for her dedication and named her Volunteer of the Month.

The Sycamore Canyon open space preserve spreads across more than 2,200 acres between the communities of Poway, Lakeside and Santee and features coastal sage scrub and chaparral-covered hills. The preserve also includes the 325-acre Goodan Ranch, ten miles of trails, wildlife, a seasonal creek and glimpses of the people who once lived there.

“She is involved in so many ways, it’s just amazing what she does,” said Parks Volunteer Coordinator Cheryl Wegner. “We’re thrilled to give her this honor.”   

Crafts does do it all. She loves to lead the hikes but she also takes part in wildlife and plant studies, gives presentations at the Nature Center, helps raise money for the preserve, leads the Friends group in getting involved with local parades and community fairs, and she researches the history of Goodan Ranch and Sycamore Canyon.     

She knows so much about the area’s past, she could write a book about it. In fact she has – “Goodan Ranch and Sycamore Canyon, A History of the Land, Then and Now.”

“The preserve is a really unique window to what the world was like when homesteaders lived there,” said Crafts.

The original ranch house and much of Sycamore Canyon went up in smoke during the 2003 fires but they also revealed something else. The flames burned away foliage that was covering a bit of history – foundations of other historic structures once built in the scenic area. While plants have grown over them again, Crafts can tell you all about it.

“I love everything Carol does for Goodan Ranch,” said County Parks Director Brian Albright. “She kept everything going after the fires.”

The fires were 12 years ago but her love for the area is still going strong. Her enthusiasm isn’t flagging either.   

“Come and see it,” said Crafts. “If you haven’t been there, you need to come and see it.”

More than 3,000 volunteers give their time to County Parks every year and save taxpayers about $2.4 million. In Fiscal Year 2013/2014, more than 31,000 volunteers donated their time to County departments with a value estimated at more than $38.7 million. If you’re interested, see these volunteering opportunities.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact