The Santa Margarita River Preserve in Fallbrook is a unique bit of Southern California landscape in my Assembly District that will remain wild and free in perpetuity. Having hiked along the river trail system many times, I was very happy to assist in obtaining the funding that allows the transfer of the property from the Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD) to the Wildlands Conservancy, California’s largest nonprofit preserve system.
It’s great to help local projects that benefit our region. I was very happy to advocate for funding to the California State Coastal Conservancy and to the Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. I also testified before the Budget Committee and presented a “budget ask” requesting funding so that the ownership transfer could move forward.
Funding for local parks, environmental and water infrastructure projects became available when voters approved Proposition 68 in June, a $4.1 billion bond measure. However, to secure funding, local agencies must submit bids and go through a vigorous vetting process, essentially competing with other worthy projects from throughout the state. As a result of a lot of diligence and hard work by the Fallbrook Public Utilities District, the Wildlands Conservancy and the Fallbrook Trails Council, $10 million was allocated through the budgeting process to transfer ownership of the 1,384-acre property from FPUD to the Conservancy. The Fallbrook Trails Council will continue to manage the Preserve, which it has overseen for the past 20 years.
Fortunately, all of our efforts were successful. As a result, the Santa Margarita River Preserve, which attracts tens of thousands of hikers, horseback riders and cyclists each year, will forever remain one of the premier recreational, environmental and scenic treasures of our region.
Minority Floor Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center