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Escondido Creek Conservancy purchases 76 acres
HARMONY GROVE ---- The Escondido Creek Conservancy is
celebrating its 10-year anniversary by making its first land
purchase in the name of conservation, officials said Monday.
The nonprofit organization purchased 76.2 acres of
undeveloped land along the Escondido Creek on Harmony Road for
$685,000 earlier this month, said conservancy president
Leonard Wittwer. The property is north of the 800-acre Elfin
Forest Recreation Reserve and crosses over the creek.
The nonprofit organization received $580,000 in grants from
the San Diego Foundation through three anonymous donors, plus
$70,000 from Citizens Against Rural Exploitation and $120,000
from local residents to purchase the property.
"There were lots of concerned residents in that area
that were able to speak with their pockets and get us over the
hump," Wittwer said. "With that kind of support, we
hope this will be one of many acquisitions in the area."
This is the first property the conservancy has purchased,
but it is not the only land it owns. Twenty-one acres along
Escondido Creek, just before the creek enters the city of
Encinitas, were deeded to the organization by a developer,
Both properties will be dedicated to open space, he said.
The new property includes 6.5 acres of riparian woodland,
towering granite cliffs, coastal sage scrub and southern mixed
Cindy Ribant, vice president of marketing and
communications for the San Diego Foundation, said the donors
share the conservancy's goal of protecting land along the
Tim Costanzo, conservancy secretary, said he talked to
donors for about a year.
"I think residents are tired of development covering
up everything in North County," Costanzo said.
"They're not against developments, but they want to keep
some open space around."
One of the anonymous donors agreed to make a $300,000 grant
if the conservancy could match that with at least $150,000. It
"The donor is a very strong advocate to preserve
land," Ribant said. "He recommended the grant be
made to acquire this critical parcel of land for
Wittwer said the conservancy will continue to raise money
to purchase more land along the creek.
On Sunday, March 25, proceeds of the Banff Mountain Film
Festival will go to the conservancy. The films are the best of
a Canadian festival that goes on tour throughout the world.
Showings will be at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the La Paloma
Theatre at 471 S. Coast Highway in Encinitas. Tickets go on
sale March 1. The cost is $8 in advance and $10 at the door
for each showing. Each show features several different films.
For information on the conservancy or to make a donation
call (760) 471-9354 or visit its Web site at
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