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
Buy your 2013 Tree Hugger's Ball Tickets Today!
More information about the Tree Hugger's Ball
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
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.
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!
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
Hid Endangered Silverado Toad, Residents Say”
Click here to read article
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.