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SAVE THE SOURCE: Portal Acquisition
You did it! Thank you to all who join in!

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Portal Property Update

Great news! We have completed the acquisition of the property!

Thank you to all who donated or in other ways supported this important acquisition.

Our final total project costs, including adding $3200 to the *Eagle Peak Preserve Endowment Fund, is $162,580.

*These funds are sufficient to pay for projected annual taxes and liability insurance for this property. The endowment is managed by The San Diego Foundation.

We have two next steps:

1. Begin to rebuild our acquisition fund to be ready for a future project. You can support this by clicking on "Donate Now" and selecting "Where most needed>" Donate Now >>>

2. We will survey the property to better understand it. We will visit and enjoy the property. We are particularly interested in documenting large mammal movement (badger, cougar, deer, bobcat, etc.). If you are interested in being part of this effort, please let us know. We would love for you to join with us!

Background: This property is part of the South Rim Conservation Initiative which was established to protect the incredible South Rim of the Upper San Diego River Gorge. It is a largely intact area of oak woodlands and native grasslands. It contains source waters for the River as well as a tributary, Ritchie Creek. Unfortunately, recently properties have been at risk of being sold for new buildings and other construction which would devastate this scenic and ecological treasure. It is also part of the open lands that feed small creeks which ultimately feed into the San Diego River. These feeder creeks play an important role in the health of the upper reaches of the San Diego River. Snow melt, rain and springs all are part of this system. Unlike the coast, in some areas typically 12 - 20 inches of percipitation falls or even more.

The Initiative seeks to acquire any privately owned open space properties before they are developed. The area is an "island" surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest. By conserving these lands, a conservation bridge between the River Park Foundation's Bathtub Creek Preserve ( 551 acres) and our Eagle Peak Ranch along Temescal Creek (454 acres) will be established, and most importantly, these lands will be placed in permanent conservation. We strive to keep them accessible to the public for recreation trails (hiking, equestrian and mountain biking) and other uses always in balance with long-term stewardship of the land.

This conservation bridge protects wildlife movement of mountain lion, deer, bobcat, badger and fox. It has key Engelmann and live oak woodlands and natural springs which feed into the San Diego River. It is a place of immense beauty with seasonal waterfalls.

Occasionally parcels are put up for sale and marketed as potential sites to build houses. And this is why we need to act!

With so many small parcels, the development of just one could greatly impact the biological, scenic and watershed values of this important area.

To see more photos, click on below photo.

Portal Acquisition

Thank you to the:

The Hervey Family Fund at The San Diego Foundation
The Heller Foundation of San Diego

Our tremendous thanks to all who donated or in other ways supported this acquisition!

Recently Completed Project(s):

Badger Ridge Parcel (1.3 acres):
The property fills a gap between the 40 acre property identified above and other open space parcels we already have acquired and conserved. We completed the acquisition on January 8, 2018. Our tremendous thanks to all the wonderful supporters who responded to this unanticipated opportunity. Thank you!

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.

Keystone Property:
Thanks to all the incredible donors who responded to our urgent request, the funds needed to acquire this property were raised in just two days! The acquisition has been completed, and the property is now conserved!

Why Conserve the South Rim?

Source waters of the San Diego River
Towering Engelmann oaks
Deer, badger, fox, mountain lion and other wildlife
Adjacent to proposed Wilderness Area
Trail and other public enjoyment opportunities
Protecting incredible vistas

The Upper San Diego River has been called one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the entire country! It offers scenic vistas and is the source waters for the San Diego River.

It is a very special place, and you can help protect it.

We have found a isolated collection of privately owned properties surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest. There are just a few houses that have been built in the area, but most of it remains open and relatively undisturbed. We seek to keep it that way.

As resources allow, we contact landowners to see if they are interested in selling or donating their land to our organization. In some cases, a donation makes the most sense.

We have worked with partners such as the National Forest Service, County of San Diego, San Diego Mountain Biking Association, Sierra Club and others to also establish a multi-use trail in the area as the South Rim extension to the regional San Diego River Trail. We also have the potential to extend this trail to other areas.

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.

We will continue this effort with the goal of conserving as much of this area as possible.

Funding Wish List:

1. Grow the Eagle Peak Preserve Endowment Fund at The San Diego Foundation
We have established an endowment at The San Diego Foundation to support the operations and maintenance of Eagle Peak Preserve in perpetuity. If we are able to grow the fund, we will be able to better care for the lands acquired. Currently the Fund is helping to offset expenses such as liability insurance and annual taxes.

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

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.

2. Build the Acquisition Fund to $20,000
With each land acquisition we deplete our acquisition fund. Ideally, we have at least $20,000 in the fund at all times so that we can respond to opportunities to secure the ability 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, we have limited time to raise the funds needed. If we have funds available, we can enter into negotiations immediately to secure the right to purchase the property. Of course, with many of our acquisitions at $100,000 or more, additional funds are appreciated, too!

One terrific way to support this fund is to enroll in automatic monthly gifts. Starting at just $8 per month, you can make a real difference. You can stop at anytime. By signing up you will become a member of our Wildlife Club. Details

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 notecards and above.

$500 - $999: Donor Appreciation Bench. You, your family, business or group will be recognized on a bench with other supporters 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 continue to try to get the owners interest in selling this property. If you are interested in supporting a future acquisition, if one can be agreed to, please let us know. We may need to act quickly, and if we have your contact information we can contact you. .


  • 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 President and CEO Rob Hutsel or call (619) 297-7380 x 108.

South Rim


$10,000 and Above
The Hervey Family Fund at The San Diego Foundation
The Heller Foundation of San Diego
Sanjay Shah and Rakhi Tailor

$1000 - $9999
Jack Dickens
Elizabeth Bruton, Fidelity Charitable
Chip Owen
Amy Schmitz & Jeff Pasek
Ryan Gittins
River Wildlife Club

$500 to $999
Peter and Raydene St. Clair
Gerardus Kroon & Maartje Scherpenisse
Danny Lancaster
Julie Hocking and Jim Baross
Rob Hutsel, Karen Begin and Alex
Clint and Kim Williams Family
Gingy & Bud Ferguson
Phil Pryde
Cindy Burrascano
Ann Ramirez

$100 to $499
Gail Sparhawk
Scott Sandel
Donna and Edwin Gookin
Cindy Burrascano
Stuart Robinson
Erin Young
Tony Turner
Tracey Rivera Insurance Agency, Inc.
Bonnie Sipe
Wayne Seim
Jan Sachs
Michael Rhodes
Judi Ravetti
Ann Ramirez
Susan Quillman
Jeaneette Poling
Susan Perry
Victoria Mature
Meredith MacCracken
Derek Loranger
Howard Lange
Fred & Linda Kramer
Kai Johnson
Joel & Terri Johnson
Mihn Ho
Thomas Harrison
William Graham
Marilyn Gibbs
Linda Espino
David and Peg Engel
David Dickins
Wes Dawson
Patricia and Douglas Coe
Jennifer Cochrane-Schultz
Theresa Acerro
Anne and Thomas Scott
Jean Kaiwi
Lyman Nicholson
Lara Evans
Bill Simmons
Glenn Torbett
Kirstin Skadberg
Linda Aurora Espino
Beth Callender

$5 to $99
Alexandra Hutsel
Shannon Cegarra
Donna Zoll
Ann & Michael Sixtus
Nancy Renner
Catherine Avila
Jason Sibley
Victoria Call
Norrie Robbins
Lisa Radnovic
Leslie LaForest
Robert Keck
Esther Davis
Amanda Carter
Marsha Acosta
Write It Right
Gayathri Vishwanathan & Bharath Ramaswamy
Verbatim Books
Judith Tillson
Bonnie Taylor
Lisa Stempka
Lisa Sides
Jacqueline Semenova
Robert Self
Patricia Roberson
Marc Reynolds
Rosemary Reed
Joan Raphael
Paula Proper-Wasserman
Barry & Nancy Pechersky
Marry Parrish
Cindy Nelson
Gary Nach
Sandra Morgan
Gary Mitrovich
Lori Mendez
Jeffrey Mason
Michael Lysik
Glenn Little
Anneli Kyner
Caroline Kreiser
Marti Kranzberg
Jason Kevane
Kathi & John Kennedy
Matthew Kaplan
Jean Kaiwi
Susan Jones
Jeramy Larson
Patrick Jelsema
Jamie Gold Kitch and Bath Design, LLC
Kevin Hippensteel
John Hildebrand
Leah Healy
Erik Hauenstein
Michael Golden
Bryan Furbee
Stephen Fanshier
Dave Brown Coaching
Susan Danner
Kathleen Cudahy
Cottrell Engineering
Julia Colpitts
Mack & Nancy Bryson
John Breslow
Connie Beck
Gina Bass
Jessica Barlowa
Lee Barken
Ingrid Baishc
Mona Anderson
James Almon
Marilyn Allen
Sabine Prather
The C. Forte Company
Lori Escalera
Rita Bumbera
Gary Sagunsky
Jerry Hughes
Wanda Liebig
Marsha Fanshier
Tammie Haugen
Carolyn Plou
John Caffrey
Rick Roberson
Maureen Ostrye
Barbara Morton
Martin and Cindie Offenhauer
Kaith Larson
Steve Adams
Kathleen Murch
Kelly Funk
Lois & Lee Fetzer
Sally Humphrey
K.r. Ridge
Jeannette Poling
Angel Massingale
Jim Hill
Chris Lyon
Cias Comdy Corner (Marcia Wall)
Emi Kaneshiro
Lindy Harshberger

Special Thanks
To all who let others know about this effort!

Badger Ridge!

Alan Grant
River Wildlife Club
Victoria Mature
Keith & Kim Mittemeyer
Rob Hutsel & Karen Begin & Alex
Gary Marcus & Hugh Douglass
Janet Gastil
Stephanie Harris
Melany Biendara
Daniel Beeman
David Hollander
Kathleen Wheatley
Simon Andrews
Christina Arias
Jean & Scott Molentin
Thomas Collins
Glenn Little

Any funds received above our goal were put into our Acquisition Fund for the 40 acre Portal Project. Thank you!
* 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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