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South Rim Unit: Eagle Peak Preserve
Working to Save the Magnificent Upper Gorge

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Click Here for a General Map of Area (PDF)

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The South Rim Conservation Initiative has set an ambitious goal of conserving the incredible South Rim of the Upper San Diego River Gorge. The Initiative includes many privately owned properties which are surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest and the fantastic Temescal Creek area. This initiative bridges the River Park Foundation's original Eagle Peak Preserve ( 551 acres) across Eagle Peak Road and along the south rim of the Upper Gorge to Eagle Peak Ranch and Temescal Creek (454 acres). More than 131 acres have been acquired as part of this initiative. We partnered with the National Forest Service to conserve an additional 120 acres which have now been added to the Cleveland National Forest. We will continue to work to acquire aditional parcels as they become available for purchase (or through donation).


40 Acres - Multiple Parcels - South Rim Portal Acquisition

Update: We are in discussions with owner (August 2017)

Details: after several years of informal discussions, we have been invited to submit a bid for a key property (multiple parcels totalling 40 +/- acres) within the South Rim focus area. This property is the largest remaining one on our list of potential South Rim conservation properties. We anticipate the purchase price to be at least $3000 per acre ($120,000 total). In order to proceed, we raised $12,000 for a deposit, appraisal and other expenses to secure a purchase agreement on the proeprty. The owner has indicated that if we can come to agreement that we wouldn't need to complete the purchase at least until 2018. We will provide updates as our discussions continue. Great news to share! We have secured a significant grant from the Hervey Family Fund at The San Diego Foundation to support this acquisition. We have set a goal of raising an additional $32,740 to complete this acquisition. This amount may vary as we enter into an agreement. We invite you to join us in acquiring and conserving this amazing property!

Recently Completed Project(s):
13 acre South Rim Small Parcels:
6 individual parcels where successfully acquired. These small parcels were a key element to our strategy. They are near and in one case adjacent to the recent 97 acre Gastil acquisition.

21 Acres - 2 Transactions;
We were able to acquire two additional properties that were slated to be auctioned off by the County of San Diego. Thanks to several generous donors we were able to raise the funds needed to complete this transaction. The properties are now managed as part of the South Rim Unit.

Many reasons to conserve:
Towering Engelmann oaks
Deer, badger, fox, mountain lion and other wildlife
Adjacent to proposed Wilderness Area!
Trail and other public enjoyment opportunities


  • 97 Acre Gastil Acquisition completed
  • 1 property donation secured
  • 299 acre Eagle Peak Ranch Acquisition completed
  • 6 parcels totalling 13 acres acquired
  • 75 acre Temescal Creek Gateway acquired
  • 160 acres Homestead Acquisition completed (120 acres transferred to National Forest Service) (40 acres remain)
  • 40 acre Temescal Creek Overlook acquisition completed
  • 21 Acres acquired
  • 13 Acres acquired

The Upper San Diego River has been called one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the entire country! It is a very special place, and you can help protect it. We will also be working with the National Forest Service, County of San Diego, San Diego Mountain Biking Association, Sierra Club and others to establish the South Rim extension to the regional San Diego River Trail.

The River Park Foundation will continue to solicit donations of properties in this area. If you are an owner, please contact us. There may be significant tax benefits to making a donation. We may also be interested in purchasing your property or conducting what is known as a "Charity Purchase."

We do not have an good estimate on the cost of completing this project. For planning purposes, it requires $1000 to accept a donation for title insurance and the cost of transferring the property. For purchases, we anticipate the value to be $1500 - $3000 per acre or higher (more for small legal parcels). As any agreements are reached with landowners, we will post the details.

Funding Wish List:

1. $500,000 to grow the Eagle Peak Preserve permanent management fund
As part of PHASE I, an endowment was established at The San Diego Foundation to support the operations and maintenance of Eagle Peak Preserve in perpetuity. For PHASE II we have set a goal of raising $500,000 which will generate sufficient funds for liability insurance as well as basic maintenance and care of the property.

You can donate directly to the Fund at The San Diego Foundation (scroll to San Diego River Park Foundation Eagle Peak Preserve Endowment Fund) Click Here

A. This is a wonderful planned gift opportunity. This is something that can be placed in a will or be named as the beneficiary of an insurance policy, IRA or Trust. Only the investment returns on your gift are used so that your gift will be a legacy to benefit future generations. Please contact Rob Hutsel, President and CEO, at 619-297-7380 to discuss how you would like to make a lasting impact.

B. You can also "Adopt an Acre" by donating through The San Diego River Park Foundation. When you donate $250 or more toward the Land Management Fund your name (or that of a loved one) will be included on a special apprectiation plaque on a Trail Bridge over Temescal Creek.

2. Rebuild the Acquisition Fund to $50,000
With each land acquisition we deplete our acquisition fund. Ideally, we have at least $50,000 in the fund at all times so that we can respond to opportunities to acquire high priority properties if any become available. Often these properties will go on the open market to be sold for development of residential structures. Therefore, time is on the essence. If we have funds available, we can enter into negotiations immediately to secure the right to purchase the property.

Donations can be made online, over the phone or by check
. Remember, SDRPF is a 501c3 so your gift is tax deductible as allowed by law.
EIN 01-0565671. For the Acquisition Fund, make a secure donation with PayPal by clicking below and selecting "South Rim.".

Click Here for Other Ways to Donate

Donor Appreciation for Acquisition Fund
$10 - $99: Receive an invitation to a future dedication open house and be listed on this website (if desired).

$100 - $499: Receive a set of commemorative postcards and above.

$500 - $999: Donor Appreciation Bench. You, your family, business or group will be recognized on a bench at Eagle Peak Ranch! You will be invited to a future dedication open house and listed on the website (if desired) for your generous gift to the Acquisition Fund..

$1000 - $4999: Be recognized on the property dedication sign plus on the website (if desired) and open house invitation. Also you will be invited to join or extend your "membership" in the exclusive Conservation Society. This sign will be located somewhere within Eagle Peak Preserve in a place which is easily accessible by vehicle. In some cases properties are very remote, and we prefered to centrally locate signs so that everyone can see them.

$5000+: Receive prominent recognition on the preserve dedication sign plus website (if desired) and open house invitation. Also you will be invited to join our extend your "membership" in the exclusive Conservation Society. For larger gifts, please contact us so that we can discuss appreciation opportunities.


Other Current Projects

  • Acquisition on El Cajon Mountain

    We have successfully completed the acquisition all but one remaining privately owned property in our El Cajon Mountain Conservation Area! Thank you to all that have joined the effort to save El Cap!

    We have set a goal of raising $25,000 in donations and pledges toward the purchase of this remaining parcel. We will hold the funds as we continue discussions with the current owners. If they agree to sell the property at a market valuation, we will use the funds to put a deposit on the property and then work to raise any remaining funds required.


  • Boulder Creek Conservation in the Eagle Peak Conservation Area

    Did you know recently there were recently wild rainbow trout in San Diego County on Boulder Creek? You can help us restore and protect a cold-water stream where the trout were found living year-round. In 2013 we completed our second acquisition in this project area. We are working to restore Boulder Creek and create a field station for research and learning. If you are interested in learning more or supporting this effort, please contact Sarah Hutmacher, Associate Director, at or 619-297-7380.

    Donate Now


For more information on any of these projects or other ways to get involved, contact our Executive Director Rob Hutsel or call (619) 297-7380.

21 acres:

Provided by 


* Any additional funds will be applied to our future acquisition project (and restricted for that purpose).


Rita Bumbera
Lori Escalera, Design Etcetera
Sabine Prather
Marsha Acosta
Erin Young
Raydene and Peter St. Clair

List will be updated on June 19th
* we sincerely apologize for any errors, please let us know so we can correct it.
Listing reflects total value in cases of multiple gifts.



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