San Diego River Park Foundation Acquires Lillian Hill with Support from San Diego Foundation and Others

To improve the quality of life in our region and eventually expand local outdoor access, the San Diego River Park Foundation, San Diego Foundation, donors and other entities worked together to protect scenic landscape and wildlife space from a proposed housing development.

Doing Good Together

Last December, Lillian Hill, which encompasses 80 acres of remote and pristine land, went on the market, with plans to build five homes on its eight separate parcels. The property is surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest, which spans 460,000 acres of broad-leaved evergreen shrubs, bushes and small trees with a few riverbank areas.

After learning about the opportunity to conserve the property, Rob Hutsel, President and CEO of the San Diego River Park Foundation, contacted San Diego Foundation for additional support in acquiring the property.

“We received wonderful encouragement from the SDF team,” Hutsel said. “This support was instrumental in taking a risk that we could raise $575,000 needed to purchase the property.”

In six weeks, San Diego River Park Foundation, SDF and over 250 donors raised funds to purchase Lillian Hill. With the successful land acquisition, the San Diego River Park Foundation team intends to focus on cleaning up and healing the property from decades of use to create a place where wildlife can roam freely.

The property is along Boulder Creek Road near the Three Sisters Waterfall between Descanso and Pine Hills. View the Google Map of Lillian Hill and its boundaries:

Landscape Views with Benefits

Many environmental benefits will result from preserving the land for wildlife and people. According to Hutsel, Lillian Hill is a natural wildlife corridor for cougars, American badgers, golden eagles and peregrine falcons.

“We will explore maintaining well-placed recreation trails which protect wildlife and help heal the land while creating opportunities for people to connect with nature,” Hutsel adds. The land will be transformed into open space for critters, trees, native grasslands and other wildlife.

There is currently no public access, but San Diego River Park Foundation hopes to eventually open a hiking trail at the top of Lillian Hill where visitors can enjoy one of the best views in San Diego County while protecting wildlife and conserving natural resources.

For SDF, supporting the land acquisition was well aligned with its Outdoor Access initiatives to preserve outdoor spaces, increase equitable access to the outdoors and support the next generation of environmental stewards in the San Diego region. By doing so, San Diego River Park Foundation’s land acquisition will maintain a well-placed recreation trail that protects wildlife while also allowing people to connect with nature.

Learn more about San Diego River Park Foundation’s Lillian Hill Project.

San Diego River Park Foundation

SD River Park Foundation

The San Diego River Park Foundation was established in 2001 after California’s largest sewer spill. Since then, the organization has worked with the community to change San Diego’s relationship with its namesake waterway. San Diego River Park Foundation remains a local, grassroots nonprofit organization that relies on community support and public and private grants to create the San Diego River Park, connect people to the San Diego River and conserve local resources.

The San Diego River Park Foundation is committed to improving the health of the San Diego River, protecting and enhancing the environment’s valuable resources and enhancing our community’s quality of life. Their team welcomes and encourages anyone who wishes to join them in their efforts. Find out more about the San Diego River Park Foundation and their work.

Outdoor Access for All

The San Diego region is known for its diverse outdoor terrain, including the ocean, mountains and deserts. As San Diegans, having access to the great outdoors is critical in ensuring everyone has a high quality of life. Yet, children and families in underserved and park-deficient communities have limited access.

SDF partners with nonprofit organizations to increase equitable access for all, preserve our outdoor spaces, and support the next generation of environmental stewards in San Diego.

Learn more about SDF Outdoor Access initiatives and how SDF is helping San Diegans enjoy the benefits of outdoor activity.

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