Desert Update No. 86 Fall 2016
A Solid “Foundation” for the Park: 50 Years of Dedication to Anza-Borrego By Paige Rogowski, Executive Director
Anza-Borrego Foundation will celebrate our
golden anniversary — 50 years of partnership with the Park — on April 1, 2017. A lot has changed since our first meeting in 1967, and this desert season is dedicated to celebrating our many accomplishments, while looking ahead to how we can achieve even greater success as the Park’s partner. Thanks to a generous challenge grant from The Parker Foundation of San Diego, as well as the matching donations provided by ABF members and donors, this season will be our best one yet. Before we get into the celebrations, let’s take a look back at where we started and just how far we’ve come! Anza-Borrego Committee, formed at the request of the California State Parks and Recreation Commission
In February 1967, the California State Parks and Recreation Commission met to discuss one pressing topic — the study of the problems created by inholdings (privately held Inholdings within the Park at the time of its formation created a checkerboard parcels of land) pattern (in yellow), and a management within the problem. boundaries of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). At the time, there were approximately 1,700 individual land owners for 68,000 acres of private inholdings. Under the urging of Park Commissioner Margaret Owings and California State Parks Director William Penn Mott, Jr., the
commission passed a resolution calling for park staff to determine how to best deal with this problem. It was suggested that an organization similar to the Save the Redwoods League be formed. And so the Anza-Borrego Committee of Desert Protective Council (later ABF) was created to protect and assist ABDSP.
The Anza-Borrego Committee established its roots in saving desert lands. The acres of inholdings were spread throughout the Park, creating a difficult situation for park managers. The first few years of land acquisition were slow, but within the first two decades, the Anza-Borrego Committee had added more than 10,000 acres of land to the Park. In addition to easing the management burden, the added acreage provided critical habitat for desert plants and animals. For instance, some of the parcels were along Henderson Canyon Road, ensuring that the beautiful Anza-Borrego wildflowers could show off their blooms, undisturbed by development, forever. Expansion and Public Education In 1988 ABF separated from the Desert Protective Council in order to hold the property titles in its own name. We grew in donors and members and were able to add about another 10,000 acres to the Park by the end of the millennium. Then in 2003, ABF signed a contract with the California Department of Parks and Recreation that defined the organization as a cooperating association. continued on page 5