The Friends is a group of volunteers who work to protect and steward critical land in Hellhole Canyon in Valley Center. 

We educate the public on the natural wonders that comprise the Preserve. We support the recreation and enjoyment of the canyon by showing visitors how they can enjoy this chaparral treasure.

We also work to acquire and conserve ecologically important open space, which enhances and expands the Preserve’s conservation footprint. Collaborating with state and county government, local foundations, and private donors, the Friends has successfully added 266 acres of critically important open space to the now 2023-acre preserve. 

There is more to be done. Will you join us and become a Friend?


Board Members

The Friends is an all-volunteer nonprofit. On any given day you can find at least one of our board members hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching or taking photos in the Preserve. Collectively, they govern the Friends organization and lead efforts to fulfill our mission.

Joaquin Aganza, President

Laurie Carter, Vice President

Dilek Koksal, Secretary

Jim Campbell, Assistant Secretary

PJ Campbell, PR & Marketing, Events Director 

Matt Dimakos, Director of Photography

Julie Picot, Director

Barbara Scharnau, Director

Rosanna Thompson, Treasurer

Sandy Zelasko, Director

Rodney Satterwhite, Director


We currently have an opening on the Board! If you are interested in joining our cause as a Board member, please fill out this application. All Board members are required to fulfill a minimum level of participation and to have current membership of the Friends.