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Santee Wins Grant to Conserve 125 Acres on the San Diego River

The Hanlon-Walker property, along the river, east of Town Center, will be public land soon.

Go here for maps, photos and other details of the property.

A 125-acre piece of land sitting on the , known as the Hanlon-Walker property, will soon acquired by the , eventually allowing more public access to the river.

This stretch of riverfront land and ponds along the San Diego River east of Town Center stretching to the Santee's boundary, would join the recently developed as part of the “,” following the river from the El Capitan Reservoir to the Pacific Ocean.

The project was approved by the Santee on April 13 and a $1.25 million grant was approved by the California Coastal Conservancy last Thursday. That grant along with another $1 million grant secured by the San Diego River Conservancy, means acquiring this piece of land will end up costing the City nothing, with costs of about $18,750 annually for upkeep.

The land hasn't officially been purchased yet, but, according to the City of Santee, there is a signed option agreement between the Trust for Public Land, which is facilitating the purchase, and the Walker family. Santee's Director of Community Services, , said it's likely the deal will be closed in April, 2012.

"Plans for the property include habitat restoration and a trail similar to the ," said Maertz.

This additional public access to the river has been a part of Santee's master plan for the last 30 years

Mike Nelson the Executive Director of the San Diego River Conservancy is a driving force for making this acquisition happen. In the past Nelson has applauded Santee for both protecting natural resources, like the river, and allowing public access.

Alyssa May 25, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Yay! Another little ribbon of nature to enjoy, winding through the chaos. I love this.
Van Collinsworth May 25, 2011 at 05:01 PM
Good news - this is an example of the type of acquisitions we hoped would occur when the SD River Conservancy was created. However, a healthy river requires a more ambitious program of acquisition and restoration of natural lands within the watershed. With city council support, you could be writing a similar story about conservation of 2,600-acres on the Fanita Ranch which is the only source of clean water for the river in Santee. Consider the increasing importance of a reliable local water supply and the foresight of Seattle. Seattle owns and protects the entire watershed of the Cedar and Tolt rivers to guarantee a clean source for residents. Yes - Seattle owns and prohibits industrial, residential, and agricultural uses in the watershed that provides its source of drinking water. While it is too late to replicate Seattle's example here, we can go a long way toward restoring the San Diego River with a more ambitious effort. Let's boost this restoration in Santee by setting aside Fanita Ranch and supporting similar efforts in the San Diego River watershed.
Patty Mason May 25, 2011 at 05:18 PM
I look forward to adding this to our favorite walks. :)
sue May 25, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Could you show us a little map of the property-thanks
Steven Bartholow (Editor) May 25, 2011 at 10:44 PM
I've got more than a little map for you. I just published the detailed maps and photos of the property that were hidden deep in the agenda packet: http://patch.com/A-hJ8y Thanks for the idea!

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