Escondido, CA

Paradise Mountain Wildlife Corridor

Press Release – The Friends of Hellhole Canyon

The Friends of Hellhole Canyon has had a very active and productive year! We were pleased to collaborate with the County in the purchase of 80 acres on the western end of the Preserve. This critical piece of habitat had been in process for the last five years; in negotiations with the owner and securing funding.  The site had been used for ORV activity that often spilled over into the rest of the Preserve. Now, that our border is much more secure from this type of incursion deer and turkey prints are seen where before there were only motorcycle tracks.  Once a grove, the chaparral is becoming reestablished on the parcel and provides tremendous views of the Canyon and Rodriguez Mountain.

November 2016, we launched our Capital Campaign to purchase 400 acres straddling a ridge between Hellhole Canyon and Rancho Guejito. The acquisition will provide a way for wildlife to migrate between existing open space areas in perpetuity. We want to keep our mountain lions free to roam and not end up like poor P22, the Griffith Park puma who can’t leave downtown LA. We held a wildly successful Art Auction at the historic, Melrose Ranch to start raising funds for what we are calling the Paradise Mountain Wildlife Corridor.

To continue our campaign we will be holding an Art Auction during the month of November at the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery ( The opening reception will be at 5:30-8:00 p.m. on November 11, 2017. The gallery is located at 262 E. Grand Ave., Escondido, CA 92025. We will have significant works on display for bidding from award winning artists, including Joe Garcia, Cathy Carey, and Tom Tiedeman. Visitors will have the opportunity to acquire impressive artwork and protect our local wildlife at the same time.

The Preserve, a nearly 2,000-acre park located on the east side of Valley Center, is a pristine chaparral ecosystem home to many endangered and threatened species. The park is owned and managed by San Diego County Parks and Recreation, and welcomes hikers and equestrians to enjoy its trails. More open space than park, the Preserve is part of a patchwork of large habitats that make up North County San Diego. Wildlife currently moves between tracts of land such as the Cleveland National Forest, Palomar Mountain, BLM land and the Rancho Guejito, a privately owned ranch that spans 23,000 acres east of Escondido. Hellhole Canyon is a centerpiece connecting them all.

Please visit


Joaquin Aganza, President (760) 533 6821

PJ Campbell, PR/Marketing 631-449-2513, Instagram: @friendsofhellholecanyon

About the Friends of Hellhole Canyon:

Formed in 2000, The Friends is a group of volunteers who work to protect and steward critical habitat in the Valley Center/Pauma Valley area.  We educate the public on the natural wonders that comprise the Preserve. We encourage the appreciation 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. We identify key parcels for acquisition based on proximity to the Preserve and ecological importance. Our goal is to continue to educate the public on this natural treasure and protect it.

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