History of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy
Rallying for Rural
In 1988, land conservation in Southern California was widely believed to be a hopeless task, but a few local folk were willing to give it a try.
Many land conservancies start in protest of an unpopular development project. The FLC’s beginning was different. It started with after-tennis discussions among friends, and grew into a group willing to take a positive middle stance in a growth versus no-growth debate that was heating up at the time.
Before a packed house at a town meeting organized by the FLC, we introduced this idea through a presentation by a noted conservationist from Lincoln, Massachusetts, Robert Lemire. He eloquently summarized his philosophy on land use as “Build what needs to be built, but save what needs to be saved.”
In keeping with this mantra, our founding board members represented a wide spectrum of views concerning land use, but with a common focus: they loved the rural ambience and the natural beauty of the area and understood that we needed to have much more permanently protected open space to keep it that way.
Painting the Town Green (and yellow, orange, brown, etc.)
Much of Fallbrook’s land was undeveloped when the FLC formed, and a frequent comment was “we have plenty of open space, so why do we need a land conservancy?”
To answer this question in a clear, graphic way, we acted on a suggestion by Lemire and secured a grant from the Conservation Foundation to develop a map that showed the developmental status of every parcel of land in Fallbrook. This was in the days before large computerized data bases existed, so volunteers pored over the county Tax Assessor’s rolls to determine whether each parcel was fully developed (shown as yellow on the map), partially developed (orange), vacant and subject to development (white), or permanently protected open space (green).
The result was shocking! There was only a tiny amount of green on the map. Of the more than 30,000 acres in the Fallbrook planning area, only three permanently protected open space areas could be identified – the private Pala Mesa golf course, the County’s Live Oak Park, and a small 10-acre parcel inside a gated development. Almost all of the open space in Fallbrook was subject to development. The appearance and character of our area could change radically in the near future.
A thousand copies of this map were distributed throughout the community, and the map was presented with as much fanfare as we could muster at a second town meeting. The map and our presentation were greeted in general with a large yawn. But some people - some very critical people it turned out - did pay attention.
Saving Land – Diverse Strategies
“Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff.” Will Rogers.
Will Rogers’ quote succinctly sums up one of the primary goals of the FLC. As with most goals, it’s easier said than done, especially in southern
California. Fortunately, as a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation, several techniques are available to a land conservancy in its quest to protect open space.
These techniques include:
Every one of these techniques has been used by the FLC to preserve the open space we now hold. Some of our acquisitions went smoothly, some not. All of them benefit our community now and will for generations to come.
1988 FLC Incorporated
1989 Developmental Status Map published
1990 Los Jilgueros Preserve property acquired
Palomares House property acquired
Sycamore conservation easement acquired
1991 First Stage Coach Sunday event
1993 Save Our Forest Joins FLC
Bonsall Preserve acquired
Dinwiddie Preserve acquired
Los Jilgueros addition acquired
1995 Agreement with FPUD for Santa Margarita River
Trail Creekside conservation easement acquired
1996 Hellers Bend Preserve acquired
1997 Engel Preserve acquired
1998 Rock Mountain Preserve acquired
1999 Trails Council formed
2000 Rock Mountain addition acquired
Rainbow Glen Preserve acquired
First Emerald Grove event
2001 Monserate Mountain Preserve acquired
2003 Stewart Crest addition to Monserate Mountain
2004 Monserate Mountain Phase II acquired
Hellers Bend addition acquired
Agreement with San Diego County to manage
property at Monserate Mountain Preserve
2005 Hitt Property addition to Monserate Mountain
2006 Appleton Conservation Area acquired
2007 Margarita Peak Preserve acquired
2010 Red Mountain conservation easement acquired
2012 Durling property in De Luz area acquired