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Land Acquisition

Conserving the San Diego River’s Wildlife, Habitat, and Recreational Values

Conservation in the Upper San Diego River (above the El Capitan Reservoir dam plus El Cajon Mtn.) is a core focus for the San Diego River Park Foundation.  The Upper San Diego River Gorge and the areas that drain into it is, in many places, truly pristine wilderness.  Largely within or next to the Cleveland National Forest, there are many privately owned properties, some homesteaded before 1900! The River serves as a corridor for the movement of many wildlife species and has been considered by some experts as the most biologically diverse area in the entire country.

Several years ago, a number of privately owned undeveloped properties were identified that were important to conserve as open space. Since then, we have been working with landowners to donate or sell their properties so that they could remain as they are in perpetuity. Many of these lands provide critical connections for deer and other wildlife to nearby open space areas, some contain woodlands with our nation's rarest oak, the Engelmann, or other very special species. Most have other values including scenic vistas or opportunities for public recreation.

You can be part of this effort and help protect these lands for future generations! A donation of any amount makes a difference as you will join with others who share your commitment to conserving these very special places. Together we can do extraordinary things!

Current Projects: Click Here

  • Eagle Peak Preserve -South Rim of the Upper Gorge
  • El Cajon Mountain Conservation Area
  • Wild Rainbow Trout and Boulder Creek Corridor


We have completed Phase 1 of Eagle Peak Preserve. In 2015 we launched the South Rim Project - Phase II of Eagle Peak Preserve. We also have one 20 acre property left on El Cajon Mountain which was identified on our Conservation List. We hope you will join with us to conserve these incredible open spaces. Let us know if you would like additional information or join with us on an upcoming outing.


Project Success

Since we started this effort, we have completed the conservation more than two dozen parcels and one easement totalling more than 2100 acres!  We have worked with partners to conserve more than 2000 additional acres including the pool at Cedar Creek Falls.

Once successfully acquired, the San Diego River Park Foundation’s Save The Source program is dedicated to managing these properties, conducting restoration as needed, and introducing the public to these regional assets through outings, volunteer programs and education.  Click the link to learn more about these efforts to care for the land.



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