County Adds Nearly 600 Acres to

Hellhole Canyon Preserve 

In January 2019, the county purchased 571 acres of land adjacent to the Hellhole Canyon Preserve in Valley Center for $4 million.

The land will be added to the Hellhole Canyon Preserve. It includes 251 acres purchased from J.P. Birdland, LLC And Paradise Mountain Ranch LLC) and 320 acres from Friends Of Chabad Lubavitch San Diego.

The County identified two properties available in Valley Center east of the County’s Hellhole Canyon Preserve within the MSCP Draft North County Plan Pre-Approved Mitigation Area (PAMA), an area important to conserve for sensitive species. One property, located at the end of Sierra Verde Road southeast of the preserve, is approximately 251 acres. 

The other property, located at the northeast end of Hell Creek Road, is about 320 acres. In June 2018, the County was awarded a State of California Habitat Conservation Fund (HCF) grant to acquire the Sierra Verde Road property. The grant will cover $200,000 of the purchase price of the land. The HCF grant is competitive and requires a dollar-for-dollar funding match.

The property was acquired at the appraised value of $3,000,000. With staff, transaction and land improvement costs, the total project cost in Fiscal Year 2018-19 is $3,353,000, based on budgeted appropriations of available prior year General Fund balance in the Capital MSCP Acquisition Fund. 

The board is also requested to authorize the purchase of the Hell Creek Road property, Assessor Parcel Numbers 191-060-01, -02 and -06 from Friends of Chabad Lubavitch San Diego at the appraised value of $1,000,000 based on budgeted appropriations of available prior year General Fund balance in the Capital MSCP Acquisition Fund. With staff, transaction and land improvement costs, the total project cost in Fiscal Year 2018-19 is $1,163,000.

Read more at San Diego Union Tribune

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Our impact

Since our inception in 2000 the Friends have been champions for preservation and responsible recreation within the Preserve.

Our organization has added 837 acres to the Preserve, which now totals roughly 2,594.33 acres. We identify key parcels for acquisition based on a few factors:

  • Proximity to the Preserve

  • Ecological importance

  • Affordability

Our goal is to continue to educate the public on this natural treasure and protect it for the enjoyment of our and future generations.

What the Friends have added so far:

Other ways to donate

There are many ways in which you can be involved and help us further our mission. If you cannot join as a member or would like to go above and beyond, we can accept any of the following types of donations. Please contact us to arrange your donation.

  • Gifts of stock

  • Wills and retirement plans

  • Gifts of land

  • A reserved life estate

  • Charitable remainder trust

  • Life insurance

  • Gifts of real estate


In the news

Friends welcome Wildlife specialist, Carly Padilla, Valley Roadrunner, 8/30/19

Friends of Hellhole hold summer celebration, Valley Roadrunner, 8/16/19

Friends of Hellhole Partner with California Center for the Arts, Times Advocate, 6/12/19

Friends of Hellhole Partner with California Center for the Arts, Valley Roadrunner 6/12/19

Local Group Wants Valley Center Certified As A Wildlife Habitat, Valley Roadrunner Magazine, May 2019

VC Trails, Friends of Hellhole & Vaqueros to host free event, Valley Roadrunner, 3/22/19

VCTA to have meeting March 24, 2019, Valley Roadrunner, 3/1/19

Hellhole to Sponsor, Valentines for Mountain Lions, Road Runner, 2/1/19

Valley Center Road Runner FB page, 1/30/19

County to buy nearly 600 acres near Valley Center’s Hellhole Canyon, SD Tribune 1/9/19

County Poised to Buy 571 Hellhole Acres, Times Advocate 1/4/19

Friends of Hellhole Pleased About Purchase of 571 Acres, Valley Roadrunner 1/10/19

County, Hellhole Friends to “Spooky Trails” event, Valley Roadrunner 10/8/18

Artists Support Conservation Effort, San Diego Tribune, 9/24/18

Friends of Hellhole Canyon Host Artists' Appreciation Party, Valley Roadrunner, 8/17/18

Dr. Johnson to Give Rattlesnake Talk, Valley Roadrunner, 6/29/18

Rattlesnakes in Valley Center, SD Reader, 6/28/18

Friends of Hellhole Canyon Bring Mountain Lion Speaker to VC, VC Happenings 6/20/18

Friends of Hellhole give Hellhole a Clean Up, Valley Roadrunner, 6/15/18

Mountain Lions Need Our Respect & Love, VC Happenings, 6/14/18

Prop 68 Changes Our Landscape, VC Happenings Op-ED, 6/11/18

Mountain Lion Talk, Valley Roadrunner, 6/7/18

Hellhole Receives a Clean Up from its Friends, VC Happenings, 6/4/18

Mountain Lions Need Our Respect & Love, SD Reader 5/24/18

Mountain Lions Need Our Respect & Love, VC Happenings 5/23/18

FHC Group Productive Year, Valley Center Magazine May 2018

VC BioBlitz, VC Happenings, 4/26/18

From Hellhole to Paradise, SD Reader, 4/24/18

Friends of Hellhole Canyon hold benefit concert, SD Tribune 4/21/18

Friends of Hellhole Canyon host benefit concert, VC Happenings, 4/21/18

Friends of Hellhole to hold fund raiser April 24, Valley Roadrunner, 3/29/18

Friends of Hellhole Canyon Announce First Benefit Concert & Art Exhibition, VC Happenings 3/29/18

Friends of Hellhole Canyon Raise $20K San Diego Union Tribune, 3/9/18

Local Conservation Group Registers VC as "Community Wildlife Habitat"  Valley Roadrunner, 2/9/2018 

Friends Gather, VC Happenings, 2/8/18

Hellhole Canyon Will Benefit From Art Auction Times-Advocate, 11/9/17

Hellhole Canyon Will Benefit From Art Auction, Roadrunner, 11/9/17

Friends of Hellhole to hold fundraising art auction in November, Roadrunner, 10/26/17

Halloween in Hellhole was a Whole Lot of Fun, VC Happenings 10/16/17

County to expand Hellhole Canyon Preserve, San Diego Union Tribune, January 6, 2017

Art Auction To Raise Funds For 400-Acre Purchase of Local Wildlife Habitat, San Diego Free Press, September 16, 2016

Friends of Hellhole Canyon Have Ambitious Goal, Valley Center Happenings, September 13, 2016

Group works to preserve local wildlife corridor, San Diego Union Tribune, September 9, 2016

Hellhole Canyon: The Lilac Gem of San Diego County, Valley Center Roadrunner, March 2016

Friends Add 34 Acres to Preserve, North County Times, June 2011

Take a Hike: Hellhole Canyon Preserve, San Diego Union TribuneJune 2011

Friends Complete Acquisition of Hellcreek Headwaters 40-acre Parcel, Valley Center Roadrunner, June 2011

Celebrating the Salvation of Hellhole Canyon, San Diego Union Tribune, May 2005

Nonprofit raises funds for Hellhole Canyon Acquisition, North County Times, April 2005

Hellhole Canyon Reopens after Devastating Fire, San Diego Union Tribune, April 2004