Preserving San Diego’s Natural Beauty

Bottle Peak, showing the headwaters of Escondido Creek.
July 17, 2013 | 5:35pm

The County Board of Supervisors has given the green light to buy more than 400 acres of open space for the Multiple Species Conservation Program or MSCP.

The program is designed to preserve San Diego County’s natural wildlife and habitat for future generations. The Board approved the land acquisitions for a price tag of nearly $3.6 million during a board meeting Wednesday.     

The largest acquisition, to create the 800-acre Bottle Peak Preserve involves 382 acres of land bought for $3.25 million in the area east of Escondido and southwest of Lake Wohlford. The land to be purchased adjoins 418 acres purchased by The Escondido Creek Conservancy. Located at the headwaters of Escondido Creek, the acquisition will allow the County to fulfill a vision of watershed-wide protection along with the Conservancy. The 800-acre preserve will protect and help wildlife move to adjacent preserved lands farther north within the City of Escondido. The property features high quality southern mixed chaparral and coast live oak woodland habitats. It will be a shared management project by the County and the Conservancy.

The Board also approved the $180,000 purchase of 20 acres for the Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch Preserve. The land is located in the Poway area west of State Route 67 and east of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The acquisition will help create a multi-use trail through the preserve between the cities of Poway and Santee. In turn, that trail will eventually link with the San Diego River regional trail network. Currently, the preserve features thousands of acres of coastal sage scrub and chaparral-covered hills, the historic Goodan Ranch, ten miles of trails and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and hawks which nest there every year.

A separate purchase of $154,360 for 9.3 acres was approved for the Barnett Ranch Preserve in Ramona. The purchase will offset 6.6 acres of land that will be needed to widen San Vicente Road. The current 716-acre preserve features four miles of trails, a variety of oak trees, wildflowers, sage scrub and chaparral and is also home to several sensitive species of birds.