save holtz ranch

Welcome to the Canyon Land
Conservation Fund Website

For information on Saddle Crest development, please visit Saddleback Canyons Conservancy

The 9th Annual Tree Hugger's Ball & Sustainability Fair is on Saturday, June 1, 2013
Special Guest Speaker:
Robert Hanna, Great-Great-Grandson of John Muir
Robert Hanna

Buy your 2013 Tree Hugger's Ball Tickets Today!
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CLCF Mission Statement:
The Canyon Land Conservation Fund is a local 501(C)-3 organization dedicated to preserving the last remaining wild lands on the western edge of the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County, California.

The Canyon Land Conservation Fund was founded in 2002 by a small group of residents of Silverado Canyon who for the last 30 years have made a difference in wild land issues that face the rural canyon communities of Silverado, Modjeska and Trabuco. Over the past 8 years, the CLCF has grown to over 400 members and hosts a variety of fundraisers and awareness events such as the OC Tree Hugger’s Ball.

Click here to meet our unique board of directors!
Click here to learn more about Tree Hugger’s Ball

What have we done?
The CLCF has been successful in a recent effort to save a historic landmark of Southern California, Holtz Ranch. The Holtz Ranch is located on a 157 year old Native American homestead and is a major link of Southern California’s Wildlife Corridor system in Silverado Canyon.

We have been very involved with citizens of the City of Orange in their efforts to conserve the rolling hills east of Irvine Lake directly adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest.

Regionally, the CLCF has worked with the Rural Canyon Conservation Fund, the Saddleback Canyons Conservancy, Friends of the Foothills, Saddlecrest Environmental Group and the Friends of Harbor, Beaches and Parks to identify private in-holdings on the western edge of the CNF to be purchased by county and state funds dedicated to permanently protect the environment.

The Holtz Ranch
In 1901 Joseph Holtz purchased 320 acres at the entrance of Silverado Canyon that was a seasonal hunting and acorn gathering site for local Juaneno Indians.  The Holtz family farmed wheat, grew fruit trees and produced honey until the late 1960s.  Since then mountain lions, deer, amphibians and native plants have reappeared on the dormant ranch.

The 2001 development plans to build Equestrian Mansions on the Holtz Ranch proposed by renown Las Vegas Casino developer, Marnell-Corrao (aka CCRC Farms), stirred controversy among local residents, biologists, and environmentalists throughout the County.

The water and biological studies paid for by local residents through donations to the CLCF have provided the much needed information to combat the pro-development environmental review process, which is often times coined as “business as usual” in Orange County.

In 2003, Ray Chandos (Rural Canyon Conservation Fund) won a legal challenge temporarily stopping the Equestrian Mansions from being built. OC Superior Court Judge Jameson ordered CCRC Farms to revise the Environmental Impact Report to more adequately address water quality of run-off into Silverado Creek (which feeds into Irvine Lake drinking water reservoir) and the offset mitigation of endangered Coastal Sage Scrub.

As the County worked on revising the project’s EIR, the spring rains of 2005 brought relief to the watershed and with it an Arroyo Toad population!

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service confirmed the presence of this nearly extinct, federally protected amphibian on Holtz Ranch, within 400 feet from the proposed development and along Silverado Creek.
Click here to learn more about the Southwestern Arroyo Toad

“County Hid Endangered Silverado Toad, Residents Say”
Click here to read article

What’s happening now? UPDATED 06/08/2012
After 10 years, the Rural Canyons Conservation Fund (Ray Chandos) and the Las Vegas Casino land developer spent a total of over $1.0 million dollars in legal expenses, the developer walked away and left the keys to develop Holtz Ranch to St. Michael's as of January 2012.

Now, St. Michael's wants the County of Orange to approve a high school, monastery, convent, guest lodging and big athletic fields on and adjacent to Critical Habitat for the Arroyo Toad.

Since 2005, the CLCF, RCCF and the Saddleback Conservancy together successfully lobbied the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and created 7.3 miles of protection in Silverado Creek for this endangered amphibian. However, Orange County building permits are easy to come by if you have enough political influence and money. St. Michael's has both.

By Cook's Corner, Rutter Development Co. is resurrecting a plan to gut the Foothill Trabuco Specific Plan for 65 executive tract homes along scenic Santiago Canyon Road. They plan to cleat-cut 150 mature oaks and plant acorns to make way for this project. A green light form the County is a very big concern for locals.

Also, within the Silverado-Modjeska area along Santiago Canyon Road, Save Our Silverado Plan activists are challenging the County in Appellate Court to keep commercial and residential development consistent with its Sil-Mod Specific Plan.

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save the arroyo toad
Save the Arroyo Toad!

Latest News!

July 29, 2013
Santa Ana, CA – Showing consistency with other land use decisions in Trabuco
Canyon, Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven L. Perk on Friday ruled in favor
of a coalition of community and public interest groups, upholding important planning
documents and rejecting the County’s approval of the controversial 65-unit housing tract
known as Saddle Crest that would have bulldozed pristine hillsides and wiped out
majestic oak forests along rural Santiago Canyon Road north of Cook’s Corner. More...

March, 2009
We are asking our 1,200 neighbors and friends in Orange County who have helped the Canyon Land Conservation Fund (CLCF) over the past few years to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us in 2009 in taking some very concrete efforts with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to protect the Western Edge of the Cleveland National Forest.

In the past 2 years the CLCF has identified and contacted landowners and developers about Local Measure M Conservation Funds that are available through OCTA. These funds are available if their natural wildland parcels meet this criteria as a conservation habitat.

This is a watershed event. With your continued support we can form partnerships that will allow the 3 million people of Orange County and future generations enjoy their local national treasure.

Donate to save Holtz Ranch
and the Arroyo Toad!

2012 tree huggers ball

9th Annual Tree Hugger's Ball
and Sustainability Fair
Saturday June 1, 2013 4pm to 11pm

Tree Huggers Ball Press Release (PDF)

Tree Huggers Ball Media

Tree Huggers Ball Vendor Information (PDF)
Tree Huggers Ball Vendor Application (PDF)

Tree Huggers Ball Sponsor Request Letter & Submission Form (PDF)

LIMITED OFFER while supplies last!
Tree Hugger Stimulus package!
For a mere $100 donation you can become a Scrub Oak annual member of the Canyon Land Conservation Fund: and are eligible to receive the following gifts: John Muir design Tree Hugger's Ball T-shirt and Coffee Mug, plus a "Tree Hugger" Polycarbonate water bottle, all conveniently bagged into a Tree Hugger's Ball reusable tote!
(See image below)

To make a donation and receive these items please email:
Phone orders: (714) 649-2820

support treehuggers

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Organic chocolate adult tees or ladies tanks with Celtic "Tree Hugger" design! "Be the change you wish to see
in this world
" -Gandhi
See image below. 
Cost: $20 donation each
Sizes: Adult Small to XL

or call (714) 649-2820

support treehuggers

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