Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective

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If there is a common thread connecting those who love Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, it would be the knowledge that this is a place where you can escape. The dark desert nights offer a blanket of stars so bright, you feel you could reach out and touch them. There are silent places where you can explore your soul and winding washes that invite you to take a walk. Geological formations lay bare the origins of the earth, and fascinating plants and animals ignite your desire to learn. This Park is a place of unparalleled wonder that we’ve had the honor to conserve, study, explore, and share over the last 50 years. I thank you for being part of our journey. Ernie Cowan, ABF President

Cover Photo: Bruce Heimbach Photo Credit: James Clark

table of contents  ABF’s Legacy of Putting Bighorn Sheep Habitat Back Together Again.......................................................................................2 By Mark Jorgensen, Former Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Superintendent  A Park Superintendent’s Perspective: ABF Adapts to the Changing Needs of Anza-Borrego.....................................................4 By Kathy Dice, Current Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Superintendent  50 Years & $32 Million for the Park: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts....................................................................6 By Bri Fordem, ABF Manager of Donor Relations  We Will Conserve Only What We Love........................................................................................................................................8  Land Acquisition Philosophy at ABF..........................................................................................................................................10 By David H. Van Cleve, Former State Parks Superintendent & ABF Trustee  The Camp Borrego Experience..................................................................................................................................................12 By Ashley Kvitek, ABF Education & Outreach Coordinator  Breaking Ground for Groundbreaking Research .......................................................................................................................14 By Jim Dice, UC Irvine Reserve Manager, Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center  Anza-Borrego Foundation Fifty-Year Timeline...........................................................................................................................16  “It Was the Desert I Sought When I Wanted to Escape”..............................................................................................................18 By Ernie Cowan, ABF President & Ashley Kvitek, ABF Education and Outreach Coordinator  Making the Park Whole: Acquiring Park Inholdings Through Partnerships..............................................................................20 By Ralph Singer and Dick Troy, ABF Trustees  Preserving Anza-Borrego’s Wilderness......................................................................................................................................22  The Role of Advocacy in Land Management.............................................................................................................................24 By Mike Wells, Former Colorado Desert District Superintendent  Getting Back to Nature: How to Market the Anza-Borrego Experience & Address Local Challenges..........................................26 By Jimmy Smith, ABF Immediate Past President  Partners for Fifty Years: DPC + ABF..........................................................................................................................................28 By Terry Weiner, Former Desert Protective Council Projects and Conservation Coordinator  Beyond Cooperating: Partnering...............................................................................................................................................30 By Paige Rogowski, Former ABF Executive Director

Putting the Bighorn Sheep Habitat Back Together Again: An ABF Legacy

Mark Jorgensen, Former Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Superintendent I have often envisioned this desert landscape as a large tapestry, which over the centuries has been torn apart by roads, railways, cattle ranches, golf courses, and more. The Anza-Borrego Foundation has been a major force in sewing the torn pieces of fabric back together again in order to make the habitat tapestry whole. In its fifty years of dedicated work, ABF has not only supported land acquisitions, scientific research, and the restoration of habitat connectivity, but it has also fought political battles to save Anza-Borrego from the onslaught of power lines, wind farms, pipelines, and ill-conceived developments. One of the greatest beneficiaries of ABF’s landconservation legacy is also one of North America’s most iconic wildlife species: the desert bighorn sheep. When I first started researching bighorn sheep in the late 1960s, their habitat was fragmented by private land holdings and human activities. Whether it was shooting ranges, mining claims, invasive plants, or numerous other disruptive influences, the bighorn home range was broken up. The Park’s total size then was about 485,000 acres. Today the Park holds more than 620,000 acres in protective status, in perpetuity—much of this thanks to the 55,000+ acres acquired by ABF. Since the 1960s, ABF has focused on purchasing or accepting donations of critical habitat within the range of bighorn sheep, mountain lions, rare birds, and other fragile plant and wildlife populations. Between 1992 and 2017, ABF acquired 19,846 acres of private land within bighorn habitat,


 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Jeff Young

Preserving bighorn habitat helps lambs like these to survive.


First Donation of Land Accepted

What a difference the conservation of land has made. For example, when I was a child, my first memory of hiking into Lower Willows along Coyote Creek was encountering a fence stating, “No Trespassing—Danger—Shooting Range.” Our Boy Scout troop stayed on the dirt road for fear of trespassing. We soon came across cattle underneath the canopy of cottonwoods and willows, followed by a cowboy on horseback. He wrangled his wandering cattle while wearing the full regalia of chaps, neckerchief, leather wrist cuffs, and cowboy hat. As you can probably guess, guns and cattle aren’t the type of Wild West conducive to bighorn. Elsewhere in the Park over the years, I recall encountering cattle roaming in places like Grapevine Canyon, Collins Valley, Rockhouse Valley, Carrizo Gorge, and Hellhole Canyon. Bulldozers were poised for grading in Lower Willows, Hidden Spring, Canebrake Canyon, and Carrizo Wash. “For Sale” billboards were erected in Culp Valley, Hawk Canyon, Vallecito, and Sentenac Cienega. And dirt roads traipsed through bighorn habitat on Coyote Mountain, into tributaries of Carrizo Canyon, McCain Valley, Middle and Lower Willows, and Harper Flat.

Jeff Young

such as large swaths of Coyote Mountain, Borrego Palm Canyon, and Lower Willows. That’s 31 square miles of critical bighorn homeland!

The Anza-Borrego Foundation has been a salvation by securing lands from willing sellers throughout the region. Major acquisitions that have sewn habitats together again include the well-watered landscape of Rancho Vallecito, which now allows free movement of wildlife between the Vallecito Mountains to the north and the Tierra Blanca Mountains to the south. Bighorn have recently been observed crossing between these ranges. Lucky 5 and the Tulloch Ranch brought two huge state parks together again: Cuyamaca Rancho and Anza-Borrego now allow wildlife and plant species to connect via a large corridor of protected lands, forever. Of the remaining private inholdings within the boundaries of the Park, about 1,500 acres fall in critical bighorn habitat. For example, portions of a lambing area on Coyote Mountain reside on private lands, parts of which are a retired rock quarry. Scattered private parcels on the hills above Coyote Canyon also contain prime bighorn habitat. Furthermore, bighorn traverse private inholdings as they venture down to water at Lower Willows every day during the summer months. So ABF’s challenge continues. With your help, ABF can work patch by patch to make this torn tapestry whole again.


ABC Starts “Desert Walks”

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 


A Park Superintendent’s Perspective: ABF Adapts to the Changing Needs of Anza-Borrego The California State Park System began with Big Basin Redwood State Park in 1901 and has continued to grow into more than 280 park units, with Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) standing as the largest one in California and the lower 48 states! Beginning in the early 1970s when recreational budgets were experiencing their first drastic cuts, the idea of state park cooperating associations was born. Also known as interpretation associations, these volunteer nonprofit groups adopted certain parks to assist with their education and interpretation programs. This was generally accomplished through membership and bookstore sales, publication development, research funding, and other educational activities. The first volunteers to undertake this cooperating endeavor in AnzaBorrego were the wives of rangers who patrolled the Park. These spouses were the unsung heroes who filled in the gaps wherever help was needed by assisting their husbands in the field, serving as radio dispatchers, and volunteering for tasks in the office. The cooperating association began with L. Louise Jee, Irma Minx, Jean Morley, Jean McClary, and other rangers’ wives selling maps and books about the Park out of the ranger office that was located in Borrego Palm Canyon Campground (and is now the maintenance shop). By 1978, the ranger office moved to what is now the District Office (once known as the Steadman house). In the meantime, members of the community rallied to raise funds to build and staff our world-class Visitor Center, which opened in 1979. Roughly around the same time that these efforts were underway, the Anza-Borrego Committee (ABC) formed in 1967 to assist in


 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Lowell Lindsay

Kathy Dice, Current Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Superintendent

acquiring the inholdings located within the set boundaries of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. ABC’s only mission then was land acquisition, for which their incredible accomplishments were legion. The Park continued to grow and change in many ways, both in terms of acreage (thanks to ABC) and in increasing sophistication of park operations. In 2003, the Superintendent asked the now-named AnzaBorrego Foundation to expand their vision by becoming the Park’s cooperating association. ABF was needed to help operate and manage the sales at the Visitor Center and support educational programs. Because of ABF’s nonprofit status and agreement with the Park, the funds from interpretive sales and memberships could directly support interpretive and educational activities in ABDSP, when there would otherwise be no budget dollars to do so. Not only did ABF embrace the expansion of their mission, but they also began providing much of the Park’s advanced educational programming, and eventually opened an


Desert Gardens Program Launched

Ernie Cowan

information and sales depot in the community of Borrego Springs! Since 2010, ABF has further adapted to meet the changing needs of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. As the park budget continued to suffer cuts, ABF stepped up its role of providing support by directly funding impacted park operations. That took the form of seasonal staffing for the Visitor Center in order to keep it open and operating, as well as donating funds for materials for park projects. We would not be where we are today if it were not for ABF’s dedication to this Park and its well-being. It is our hope that one day the Park’s budget will be made whole, and the support ABF provides will go toward all the extras that add to a visitor experience, rather than simply funding the core operations. Until that time comes, I am confident that ABF and the Park will continue to adapt to changing times and growing pains as they come along—and that together we will thrive. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is so lucky to have ABF as a partner. We have had a wonderfully successful fifty-year relationship so far, and we plan on keeping up our remarkable partnership into the next millennium!


ABF Receives Golden Bear Award

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 


50 Years & $32 Million for the Park: The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts Bri Fordem, ABF Manager of Donor Relations

ABF is proud of its diverse philanthropic history in which every effort, whether big or small, has contributed to our impact. In 1990, for instance, with the help of the recreation outfitter Adventure 16, ABF began its membership program. The intention was to include the public more directly in fulfilling our mission. Today we have over 2,000 household memberships. And, through our membership program, we have raised over 1.1 million dollars in park funding over the past 27 years. Our members come from around the world, including Germany, Japan, Canada, and the U.S. The Park captures the hearts of its visitors, and ABF is the conduit that allows them to continue their connection to ABDSP when they can’t physically visit. Tens of thousands of park enthusiasts donate to ABF’s mission in all forms. From cash to acres of property, our donors continue to inspire us and renew our fervor. Our donors have also stood by us in some of the scariest of times, like during the struggles of an economic recession, threats of park closure, and the risk of powerlines disrupting ABDSP’s ecosystems. Year after year, the Park faces 8

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

challenges, and year after year our donors remain committed. In fact, it is the small, yet consistent gifts provided by donors and members that contribute to our solid foundation of support.

Steve Bier

I’ve been told that by the time you turn fifty, you will know who your true friends are: those who lift you up when you are down and are there when you need them. These friends also share in your successes and celebrate your accomplishments as if they were their own. This sentiment could not be truer for ABF on its fiftieth anniversary. It is because of our donors, members, volunteers, and friends that ABF has provided more than $32 million in support of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Individuals are not our only supporters. Donations made by organizations, such as Resources Legacy Fund and The Nature Conservancy, allow us to make strides in acquiring land. Foundations have also played a significant role in supporting ABF’s operations, education programs, and capacity building, including Desert Protective Council, California State Parks Foundation, The Heller Foundation of San Diego, and The Parker Foundation. It is this diversity of support from individuals, organizations, and foundations that has allowed ABF to successfully make an impact in the Park. We also count our blessings for the volunteers who give the gift of time and effort. These are the folks who roll up their sleeves and lend a hand. They help run our State Park Store, organize the annual


State Agrees to Matching Program

photo contest, host fundraising events, and bring quality education programs to the public. We could never afford to finance the work that these volunteers do on a daily basis for ABF and the Park. They labor not for dollars but for creating change, and the individual and sum effect of their efforts is priceless. Some of the most extraordinary volunteers are our board members, who have guided ABF’s ship during our last fifty years. In fact, one current and two past board members have each dedicated more than twenty years to ABF: Ralph Singer, Delores Lukina, and Diana Lindsay. Their volunteerism is unparalleled and is a significant part of ABF’s history.

Delores Lukina was honored for her years of land acquisition work at ABF’s 50,000-Acre Celebration in 2012 (pictured with ABDSP Superintendent Kathy Dice).

Success clearly requires a force that is larger than one organization. It takes a tribe of park enthusiasts and advocates who appreciate the value of protected land and the importance of what it contains. ABF stands among a limited number of organizations in the U.S. to have reached a fiftieth anniversary. Together with our community of supporters, we share the victories of our fifty years of partnership with the Park—and the passion and dedication it has taken to achieve such a milestone.

Diana Lindsay, pictured at the Sentenac Trail dedication in 2002, was given the Medallion Award by the state of California for her years of service.

Ralph Singer (left) at the dedication ceremony for Lucky 5 Ranch (Phase I) in 2001.

Dan DiPinto

The Anza-Borrego Century Circle, members who go above and beyond with their annual contributions, more than doubled in size from 2015 to 2017.


Cactus Garden Acquired

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 


we will conserve only what we love...

ABF’s education and outreach programs introduce visitors to the wonders of the Park and connect the public with the research and scientific discoveries made in Anza-Borrego.

The popular Bikes & Brews series allows participants to see more remote areas of the Park up close and personal. Briana Puzzo

Jon Rebman, from the San Diego Natural History Museum, explores the amazing adaptations desert plants use to survive in this harsh environment.

Attendees learn about the fragile geologic resources found in the Desert Cahuilla area.

Chris Rogowski

ABF’s Desert Hostel programs explored the connections between Anza-Borrego and other regions of the country.


 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Deborah Knapp

Hiking enthusiasts looking for strenuous but rewarding adventures line up for Mike’s Hikes, a series with Mike Puzzo.

Photography classes like landscape, night sky, and macro, help visitors capture their adventures on camera.

Rusty Reniers

Classes on Native American crafts were taught by native artisans from Baja California.

Annual research symposia on the natural and cultural resources in the Park bring together hundreds of Anza-Borrego enthusiasts.

Kati Cowan

The Anza-Borrego: In Focus series connects life-long learners with visiting researchers who share their latest data with the public.

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective  11 Steve Bier

Land Acquisition Philosophy at ABF David H. Van Cleve, Former State Parks Superintendent and ABF Trustee The acquisition of land for conservation, whether for state parks, other agencies, or nonprofit organizations, has often been referred to as “legacy work.” That is, successful acquisition of key land parcels, through purchase or gift, has been accomplished with the goal of conserving these lands, in perpetuity, in protected status. They will never be developed, fragmented, or sold again. The staff, board members, volunteers, and donors know that they are doing vital work—the results of which will outlive themselves and future generations. In the fifty years that Anza-Borrego Foundation has been in existence, its philosophy regarding land acquisition priorities has changed dramatically. That is not to say that ABF has not remained true to its roots. However, since the early ’90s, it has added large, exciting, beautiful, and scientifically important lands to its portfolio and, hence, the landholdings of the Park. It is important to document how the addition of landscapescale acquisitions became a key part of ABF’s work. At ABF’s inception in 1967, the vision was to acquire all the existing private inholdings within park boundaries. This mission served ABF well for the next twenty-five years, or the first half of the Foundation’s existence. Many acquisitions and donations were in the five- to ten-acre range, and these were very valuable in creating a holistic park. In the late ’60s, and for at least another ten years, the philosophy of the park movement was to create new parks: national, state, or local. Of course, it was costly to create new parks, and open space was becoming more and more rare. So the idea of “filling in” the blank spaces on the


 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Darren Sleat

Views from iconic Font’s Point illustrate the power of connecting conserved lands.


SD County Board of Supervisors Honors ABF

map of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park through the elimination of inholdings continued to make a lot of sense. Also at that time, land acquisition for new parks or additions to existing parks in general was largely driven by the immediate threat to the region. For example, beginning in the mid-1960s, the staff at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park became very interested in purchasing the Lucky 5 Ranch, along Highway S-1 south of Julian. State Parks managers believed that connecting the two parks through the acquisition of Lucky 5 would be valuable in meeting recreation and resource protection goals. However, Lucky 5 never made it to the top of the State Parks’ list for acquisition. Since it was not under immediate threat of development, existing limited funds were channeled towards other parcels statewide. Then in the late ’70s, a new science called “conservation biology” began to develop, largely through the efforts of Professor Michael Soulé, a San Diego native. Conservation biology recognized the need to conserve various plant and animal species due to concerns worldwide that these species were being eliminated at an alarming rate. This new science also recognized that one of the best tools to support the sustainability of native species was to conserve their habitats; and one of the best ways to conserve habitat was to

acquire it and place it in permanently protected status—e.g.,state park, national park, designated wilderness, and so forth. It also stressed the idea that connecting existing reserves was not only less expensive than creating new parks, but it made more sense biologically. Places like Sentenac Canyon were viewed as an opportunity to connect the State Park to California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Bureau of Land Management lands and, therefore, provide wildlife corridors. Lucky 5 was seen as an opportunity to connect two existing state parks for wildlife migration as well as recreation. This philosophical sea-change boosted Lucky 5 almost immediately to the top of the statewide acquisition list. Many other large tracts of land soon followed. The focus on large, landscape-scale lands has been an invaluable mission for ABF, as the importance of connecting lands for preservation, wildlife migration, and recreation has become an agreed-upon goal among conservationists.


First ABF Symposium

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective  13

The Camp Borrego Experience Of all the things Anza-Borrego Foundation does in support of AnzaBorrego Desert State Park, Camp Borrego is what gives us that warm, fuzzy feeling in our hearts and puts a smile on our faces. Many of us have personally experienced the restoration, calm, and wonder that comes from time spent in the Park. The way your heart beats a bit faster when a startled jackrabbit darts from its hiding place or the excitement that takes over when you spot a bighorn sheep on the ridgeline above you are the kinds of experiences we hope to bring our fifth-grade guests. For thirteen years now, we have been using our spectacular landscapes as the backdrop to an experience-based residential program that fosters a love of the desert and a passion for conservation in the people who will make important decisions in the future: today’s youth. Camp Borrego is a unique experience for the region’s underserved fifth-grade students, as they are able to interact with the desert in an in-depth way. Not only are they learning about geology, paleontology, archaeology, botany, and zoology, but Camp Borrego students are also discovering different ways (e.g., hiking and stargazing) to engage with this landscape that the Foundation has worked so hard to protect. Studies have shown that outdoor experiences positively impact a child’s reasoning skills, linear thinking, and cognitive development. However, our staff doesn’t need to rely on scientific studies to substantiate the impact our program has had on the nearly 4,000 students we’ve served. We see firsthand the transformations that take place in students during their short (but sweet!) time here in Anza-Borrego. 14 

Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Ashley Kvitek

Ashley Kvitek, ABF Education & Outreach Coordinator I’ve had the privilege of working with and attending the program— participating in the activities and lessons right along with the students. Part of the Camp Borrego experience is a group hike up Borrego Palm Canyon. During one daylong hike to the palm oasis, I spent a fair amount of time with a small group of students. One boy mentioned that his mother was a little nervous to have him attend Camp Borrego all on his own. Of course, I asked him, “Why?” His answer was what many expect when working with students and families that don’t get the opportunity to engage with nature on a regular basis: “Because we don’t know what’s out there.” This young man struggled a bit with the hike until we could finally see the oasis, and then his excitement and enthusiasm grew with every step. There was just one mishap: he fell in the water during one of our first creek crossings, and his tumble understandably shook his confidence. With the encouragement of his trail group he got right back up, wiped


Membership Program Launches

Ashley Kvitek

Deborah Knapp Deborah Knapp

Volunteers from the Anza-Borrego Paleontology Society help students find and identify fossils at the District’s Stout Research Center.

away a single tear, and kept on going. When we got to the oasis, I couldn’t help but ask him how he felt. His answer was one I wasn’t expecting: “I think I overcame my fear of hiking.” That moment right there is why we put so much effort into the fundraising, planning, and execution of Camp Borrego. Through the help of various granting organizations and the individuals giving donations of time, expertise, and money, we have enjoyed a long run of success with the Camp Borrego program. We’ve gone from sleeping in tents to Mongolian gers to our current model of sturdy yurts, but the essence of the program hasn’t changed. We’ve updated the curriculum to align with current state science standards in our effort to produce a quality education program, but we also find value in the experience that each individual student has with the landscape. It is that experience that will create a steward of our public spaces for tomorrow—and the true measure of the program’s worth.

Students from Ira Harbison Elementary School in National City get a wonderful surprise while hiking in Borrego Palm Canyon.

Jeff Crosswhite, who served as Camp director for nearly 10 years, helped launch the overnight program when students slept in tents.

Angie Kemsley

Jasmine Hooker


First ABF Newsletter Published

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective  15

breaking ground for groundbreaking research By Jim Dice, UC Irvine Reserve Manager, Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center One of the many great successes in the Anza-Borrego Foundation’s fiftyyear history has been its partnership with Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; the University of California, Irvine (UCI); and the University of California’s Natural Reserve System (UCNRS) to create the Steele/Burnand AnzaBorrego Desert Research Center. In April 2007, the UCNRS and the California State Park System’s Natural Resources Division began a collaboration to establish a UCNRS field station at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). A survey of the UC System identified UC Irvine as a potential managing campus for the field station. Then a series of joint meetings with the faculty and staff of UCI, ABDSP, and ABF were held over the next three years to affirm the partnership and to identify a site, a development plan, and a financial plan. Early efforts to locate a site focused on ABF-owned land, but the cost of a new building (plus a lack of funds) caused the partners to abandon this idea. During the summer of 2010, efforts shifted to locating an existing building in Borrego Springs that could be repurposed as a field station. During this search, representatives visited the site of the old Desert Club/ Galería de Anza-Borrego building, which was then for sale. The partners immediately fell in love with the 1950s mid-century modern structure. A site was now identified, but the project still lacked funding. In the fall of 2010, UCI approached long-time Borrego philanthropist Mrs. Audrey Steele Burnand. Her father-in-law, A.A. Burnand, Jr., along with a handful of other investors, first commissioned and built the Desert


 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Joseph Brown

The Research Center has hosted students and researchers from 40+ universities in addition to influential organizations such as USGS.


ABF Celebrates 25 Years

Club (designed by William Kesling) back in 1948. Mrs. Burnand generously agreed to provide the funds for the purchase of the old Desert Club building and grounds, the initial renovations, and an operating endowment for the Center. She asked that the new Research Center be named in honor of her parents, Harry and Grace Steele (whom she said “introduced her to the desert”), and her father-in-law, whom she said “gave her the desert.” In July 2011, the Regents of the University of California formally approved the designation of the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center as part of the Natural Reserve System. In 2012, ABF donated 74+ acres of land to UCI. This enlarged the Research Center to 78+ acres and physically connected the Center to the adjacent ABDSP. Initial renovations of the building were completed in March 2012. The Center opened for limited use by researchers and classes in April 2012. On November 29, 2012, UCI was awarded $2.8 million of Proposition 84 funds by the California Wildlife Conservation Board. Work began in October 2013 to construct dormitories, classrooms, a laboratory, and researcher apartments, as well as to install new water lines, decommission the old swimming pool, and provide outdoor improvements. By October 14, 2014, the Center was open for its first class in the upgraded facility.

Jim Dice Photo Credit: Judy Kramer

A primary goal of the partnership has been to coordinate access to the Park for researchers and classes from the University of California and other U.S. or international institutions. The partnership aims to encourage research within ABDSP and its environs and to foster management of the Park’s natural and cultural resources that is informed by high-quality science. ABF, UCI, and ABDSP offer public programs and educational classes at the Center—including ABF’s popular Anza-Borrego: In Focus series. To date, the Center has hosted researchers and classes from over 40 different universities worldwide, including colleges in 16 U.S. states and eight University of California campuses, as well as Mexico, Canada, Mongolia, Russia, and Iran. Researchers and groups from the U.S. Geological Survey, San Diego Zoo’s Institute of Conservation Research, Desert Bighorn Council, Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontology, and other organizations have also used the facility. Exciting research in the fields of ecology, entomology, ornithology, botany, geology, paleontology, climatology, and other disciplines is in progress, and over 800 students have been exposed to the Anza-Borrego Desert’s learning environment. This is a truly remarkable achievement—accomplished just three years after launching!


ABF Awarded Chevron Conservation Award

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective  17

ABF Receives Golden Bear Award The California Resources Agency presents ABF with the Golden Bear Award for its dedication and service to ABDSP at the March 16 AnzaBorrego Visitor Center dedication. The award is presented by Director Russell Cahill.



First Donation of Land Accepted The first gift of land is transferred to the state: a 5-acre plot donated by Jim and Peggy Whitehead.




Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Awarded Chevron Conservation Award ABF receives the Chevron Conservation Award at a formal meeting in Washington, D.C.

First ABF Symposium ABF sponsors a symposium on the “Scientific Value of the Desert.”




State Agrees to Matching Program The state agrees to allocate funds for a matching program based on 50% of appraised value, making more funds available for land purchases—and a more aggressive acquisition program begins. The first reimbursement is received on March 21 for $31,375. Within hours, the funds are used to close escrow on other waiting properties. The program made it possible to acquire important lands including entrances to Hawk Canyon, Hellhole Canyon, and Clark Lake.

Desert Gardens Program Launched A Desert Gardens program is initiated to attract contributors, with each garden costing $55. The program stimulates interest among garden clubs and those seeking to make memorial donations. 18 

First ABF Newsletter Published The first edition of the Desert Update is published in December.

Cactus Garden Acquired The first major land acquisition purchased through an active fundraising campaign consisting of direct solicitation by mail, civic group presentations, and direct personal contact is complete when the Cactus Garden is transferred to the state. The Cactus Garden is known for its exceptional stands of cacti.

ABC Starts “Desert Walks” Anza-Borrego Committee (ABC) begins its annual “Desert Walks” designed to educate the public about the Park’s scientific, recreational, and scenic values, as well as its inholding problems.

SD County Board of Supervisors Honors ABF County Supervisors declare March 10-16, 1986, as “Anza-Borrego Foundation Recognition Week.”



Membership Program launches ABF begins Membership program, increasing public awareness and support.




Fundraising Begins for Non-Land Projects ABF assumes the role of raising funds for non-land park projects. The first project is a wood kiosk at the entrance of the Visitor Center.

ABF Celebrates 25 Years A 25th anniversary celebration is held at La Casa del Zorro, honoring land donors who made contributions. A permanent donor recognition plaque is installed at Crawford Overlook on S-22 on November 14. Adventure 16 helps ABF grow membership to 100.

5-5 Campaign Begins Board VP David Lippitt devised the “5-5” campaign to raise funds for five major acquisitions: Lucky 5 Ranch, Las Arena Ranch, Mason Valley, Henderson Canyon Road Wildflowers, and Hoberg Road. ABF acquires all but the Hoberg Road property, which fell out of escrow at the last minute. It is still on our wish list.

Archaeology Center Opens The Begole Archaeological Research Center opens at the Colorado Desert District Headquarters through a donation from Robert Begole.

Camp Borrego Program begins ABF launches its Fifth-Grade Environmental Education Tent Camp Program.




First Annual Photo Contest Now in its 11th year, the goal of the photo contest is to encourage visitors to use photography as a means to raise awareness for and inspiration about the Park.



ABF Hits 1,000-Member Mark ABF membership passes 1,000.

Art for the Park Fundraiser ABF members Rolland and Gwen Hammerness host an “Art for the Park” event that raises $13,347. Photo Credit: Bill Dahl

ABF Hosts Natural History Symposium The Sonoran Desert Conservation, Ecology, and Natural History Research Symposium is held at Borrego Springs Resort and Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center with UC Irvine and California State Parks. The 2nd and 3rd annual natural history symposia are held in November 2014 and 2016.




Inaugural Member Hike Series ABF kicks off a series of free weekly member hikes that offer an insider’s view of favorite park places.


50,000-Acre Celebration ABF turns 45 and celebrates acquiring 50,000 acres of land.

Launch of the Anza Trail Initiative ABF begins a new major land acquisition program to protect property along the corridor of the historic trail of Juan Bautista de Anza, ultimately preserving more than 4,000 acres. An Anza Dinner is held to publicize the program and celebrate ABF’s 40th anniversary and the Park’s upcoming 75th anniversary.

Launch of the Legacy Society Through the legacy giving program, donations live on in perpetuity to support ABF’s mission, ensuring that the wonders of the Park are here to contemplate and cherish for generations to come!





25 Years of Membership ABF celebrates 25 years of membership and over $1 million raised. Membership reaches 2,200.

Symposium Highlights Cultural Heritage ABF hosts the Colorado Desert Cultural Heritage Symposium at Borrego Springs Resort and Borrego Art Institute. Again, ABF partners with UC Irvine and California State Parks. The 2nd annual cultural heritage symposium is held in December 2015.  Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 


It Was the Desert I Sought When I Wanted to Escape By Ernie Cowan, ABF President and Ashley Kvitek, ABF Education and Outreach Coordinator Ahh, the restorative power of wide-open spaces ... The opportunity to find solitude ... A place where people can gather together, building relationships through both celebration and retreat ... It is these sentiments that have captivated many a nature lover. In this case, we take a look at generations of nature lovers within one family: the Mielcareks. The Mielcareks have supported Anza-Borrego Foundation for years because the desert has been an integral part of their family. From small, immediate family gatherings to family reunions of over forty people, their love of the desert has only increased over time. Timothy Mielcarek, now a resident of Palm Desert, considers himself nearly a desert native. “I’ve been coming here since I was in diapers, so I guess I can claim sixty-one years of connection.” Tim’s sister, Linnea, now settled in Topanga,has fond memories of family desert trips. She thinks it was a release for their father—a place where he could take his family to get away from the hustle and bustle of their home in Vista, while at the same time indulging in his passion for plants and exploration. The Mielcarek parents were avid outdoor enthusiasts, and the family camped often in places like Blair Valley and Yaqui Well. The father, Eugene, a high school biology teacher and botanist, was drawn to the desert. He taught his children how to focus on nature’s small details in

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Fundraising Begins for Non-Land Projects

Tim’s career as a business data analyst took him to Los Angeles, but his heart brought him back to the desert. “The desert has essentially been unchanged in my lifetime, and that’s a great comfort to me. I’m a four-season desert rat,” Tim proudly claims.

order to gain a better understanding of the desert’s bigger picture. This impacted how the children approached and, ultimately, valued various landscapes. The Mielcareks often spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter holidays in the desert. In fact, Linnea recalls that in the late 1960s, the family was out in Anza-Borrego almost every weekend!

Linnea, meanwhile, has donated her expertise as a graphic designer to Anza-Borrego Foundation. She gives now because growing up, she says, they took it for granted that spaces like this, the ones filled with overwhelming natural beauty, would always be there. When Linnea and Tim’s father passed away in 2003, the family pooled their resources to honor the beloved relative who awakened them to the wonders of the desert. The Mielcareks raised enough money to allow ABF to purchase 38 acres in the Coyote Canyon area and deed the land to the Park. There, in tribute, the family spread some of Eugene’s ashes so that he could reside forever with the desert he so loved. Thanks to the kindness of the Mielcareks, now generations of nature lovers will have additional parkland to enjoy today and in the future. “Anza-Borrego is a big part of our family,” Linnea explains. “We just intrinsically loved the desert. We loved the size of it, the openness. We are just drawn to it.” Aren’t we all?

The kids enjoyed carefree days hiking all about, climbing endlessly over the boulders around Blair Valley, or learning about the plants and animals from their dad. Linnea remembers Ghost Mountain— and trying to put herself in the shoes of the South children. When Tim reached his twenties, he began to realize just how special Anza-Borrego was. “We traveled a lot as a family. My dad worked at Crater Lake one summer as a park ranger, we camped across the country, and I’ve seen just about every square inch of the western United States. But I realized it was the desert I sought when I wanted to escape.”


5-5 Land Campaign Begins

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making the park whole: acquiring park inholdings through partnerships Ralph Singer and Dick Troy, ABF Trustees

was launched, it provided an opportunity for park supporters and members of California garden clubs to make small donations (e.g., $55) to acquire park inholdings. Hundreds of acres, mostly small parcels, were obtained through this program.

In life, true success stories always seem to be based on effective partnerships. ABF’s accomplishment in acquiring over 55,000 acres toward making the Park “complete” is no exception. So let’s take a moment to look back and recognize ABF and other irreplaceable partners for their role in shaping Anza-Borrego. Of course, the Park could not have been established over eighty years ago without people and organizations coming together to create and support a large desert state park. Important partners in the 1920s and ’30s include former Interior Secretary Ray Lyman Wilbur, renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., San Diego Natural History Museum Fellows Clinton G. Abbot and Guy L. Fleming, local leaders and benefactors George W. Marston, Ellen Scripps, Louis T. and Lorraine Busch, and many others. By the time ABF was founded in 1967, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park constituted about 485,000 acres but contained nearly 70,000 acres of private inholdings. To make the Park whole, State Parks Director William Penn Mott Jr. and State Park Commission Chairperson Margaret Owings suggested that an organization be established to focus specifically on acquiring inholdings from willing sellers. Thus, ABF was formed. Fifty years later, ABF has obtained over 750 parcels totaling more than 55,000 acres of parkland, a conservation legacy that rivals the famous Save the Redwoods League in Northern California. Contributions, both large and small, have helped to accomplish this legacy. For example, in the 1970s when the Desert Gardens Program

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Over the years, the San Diego County Tax Collector has provided first consideration to ABF for purchase of tax-defaulted parcels within the Park’s boundaries. More than 1,000 acres have been added to the Park through this relationship. Another successful method of partnering has been through the donation of real estate assets outside the Park. Ray and Elsie Cogswell donated their home in Thousand Oaks, and the Helms Family donated their Borrego Springs home to ABF, each stipulating that the proceeds from the sale be earmarked for our land acquisition program. In the 1990s, responding to new scientific information on the importance of connecting conserved lands and creating wildlife corridors, ABF became involved in larger projects in or adjacent to


Art for the Park Fundraiser

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L. Louise Jee

ABF Acquisitions Remaining inholdings State Park Lands Cuyamaca Ranch State Park


Today, ABF continues to receive strong support from the Resources Legacy Fund and others in pursuing its bread-and-butter acquisitions: small inholdings that consist of 10 to 80 acres each. In addition, several important state park and ABF partners have been integral to the success of our land acquisition program. Early ABF presidents Harriet Allen and Josephine Read were key to getting the initial land program off the ground. Foundation trustees Roma Rentz and Delores Lukina were instrumental over the years in negotiating and closing hundreds of land deals. L. Louise Jee has provided critical resource and mapping data for the program. Dave Van Cleve, first as District Superintendent and later representing The Nature Conservancy, provided the necessary leadership and creativity for many of the larger additions to the Park. There have been so many contributors that we couldn’t possibly fit all of their names in one article. These various partners have enabled ABF to acquire the vast majority of private inholdings within the Park. Of the original 70,000 acres of inholdings, now fewer than 20,000 acres remain. These partners recognized their contributions as “legacy” work, that these lands would be held in perpetuity, for all Californians, never to change hands again.



the Park. These acquisitions also involved numerous partners. A few notable examples are shown on page 22-23.

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A hearty thanks to all these supportive groups, individuals, and others for their support, donations, time, and, most importantly, for making this nationally significant conservation story possible. Onward, Partners! Since forming in 1967, ABF has acquired more than 55,000 acres of land for the Park. Fewer than 20,000 acres of inholdings still remain.


Camp Borrego Program Begins

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preserving anza-borrego’s wilderness

Major land acquisitions orchestrated by the Anza-Borrego Foundation with help, funds, and donations from partners—and deeded to the Park

Sentenac Cienega

Horse Canyon

Lucky 5 Ranch

Tulloch Ranch

Rare riparian and desert wetland habitat Acres: 1,778 Year Purchased:1996 Funding Partners: The San Diego Foundation, the Offield Family Foundation, and other private donors; State Park Bond & federal and state transportation funds were also utilized

Created a wildlife corridor between Anza-Borrego and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and a connection with Cleveland National Forest Acres: 4,429, acquired in two phases Year Purchased: 2001 & 2015 Funding Partners: The Daley Family, longtime acquisition supporter Dr. George Sardina, the State Wildlife Conservation Board, The San Diego Association of Governments, The Nature Conservancy, and Resources Legacy Fund

Important part of the aboriginal territory of the Mountain Cahuilla Acres: 1,298 Year Purchased:2003 Funding Partners: Native American Land Conservancy

A wildlife linkage with Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Acres: 2,078 Year Purchased: 2004 Funding Partners: The Nature Conservancy and Resources Legacy Fund

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ABF Hits 1,000-Member Mark Photo Credit: Jim Densmore

A n z a - borrego desert state park Desert Cahuilla

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Ancestral lands of the Desert Cahuilla with significant remnants of the ancient Lake Cahuilla shoreline Acres: 7,000+ Year Purchased: 2010 Funding Partners: Land contributions from the State Lands Commission, the Archaeological Conservancy, and the Wildlands Conservancy, with facilitation from The Nature Conservancy and mitigation support from SDG&E

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L. Louise Jee

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Vallecito Ranch

Historically rich property that provided linkage to other protected lands Acres: 3,339 Year Purchased:2004 Funding Partners: a generous kick-start donation from Frank and Judith Colver, followed by The Nature Conservancy, Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and State Park Bond funds

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Begole Archaeological Research Center Opens

 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 


The Role of Advocacy in Land Management Mike Wells, Former Colorado Desert District Superintendent Those of us who work in State Parks like to think of ourselves as the first line of defense in protecting our valuable resources. However, we are employees of a larger organization, the California Department of Parks and Recreation. That department, in turn, is part of the California state government. As with many other large and complex organizations, internal conflicts arise. When this happens, having an independent advocate like ABF on your team becomes crucial. Cue the Sunrise Powerlink controversy. Since 2002, a succession of state laws have required energy producers in California to capture a percentage of their total energy retail sales from renewable sources. Most environmentalists have supported these requirements in theory, but their implementation has been controversial. Anza-Borrego provides a case in point. The potential for renewable energy development (wind, solar, and geothermal) is very high in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys to the east of the Park. However, the markets for this energy are the densely populated coastal cities to the west. In 2006, San Diego Gas and Electric proposed The Sunrise Powerlink to connect the sources to the markets. This project was a power line with a section that would run through about 33 miles of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Sunrise Powerlink was consistent with the policies of then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. State Park employees were instructed to facilitate its planning and to take no public position opposing it. As the plan got further underway, it became apparent that the project and its impacts on the Park had grown substantially. The

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original proposal was a power line mounted on single metal poles. Over the course of a few months, that design morphed into 50-metertall, latticed transmission towers (memorably called Eiffel Towers by Mark Jorgensen). The expanded easement would have required the unprecedented de-designation of State Wilderness in Grapevine Canyon. At this point, ABF stepped in. They helped form a coalition of groups and volunteers that opposed the route through the Park. ABF raised funds, hired attorneys, and organized public meetings and letterwriting campaigns. Finally, in December 2008, the California Public Utilities Commission rejected the northern route of the Sunrise Powerlink, requiring the project to use an already existing easement to the south of the Park. This victory would not have been possible without ABF’s pivotal role.


Launch of the Anza Trail Initiative

The Desert Cahuilla acquisition provides another example of ABF’s value as an independent advocate. This area consists of 14,000 acres of undeveloped desert land adjacent to the northeastern boundary of ABDSP. Because the area had been part of the territory of the Desert Cahuilla Indians, there were substantial archaeological resources there as well as paleontological resources and sensitive plants and animals. However, parts of the area had been used intensively by Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs). ABF had been trying to purchase land in that area for several years. An attempt to acquire 4,000 acres of the parcel via the Trust for Public Land fell through in 2006. In 2008, it became clear that the State Parks OHV Division was attempting to acquire the property as an addition to the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreational Area (SVRA). The State Parks Director instructed Anza-Borrego and Colorado District staff to meet with Ocotillo Wells and OHV Division staff in order to work out a plan for joint operation of the area. This proved to be untenable due to the differing missions of the two parks. During the course of the discussions, we found that the OHV Division intended to completely acquire the property. They also had adequate funds to do so, through the gas tax and greensticker money. ABF sent representatives to Sacramento

to meet with the State Parks Director. From this meeting came an agreement to put together a group tasked with dividing the property fairly. Group members included ABF, other conservation organizations, and representatives of the OHV community. A compromise was made that divided the property in half. The northwestern half, which is relatively pristine, went to Anza-Borrego. The southeastern half, which had been heavily impacted by OHVs, went to Ocotillo Wells SVRA. Again, ABF played an instrumental role in obtaining a major acquisition for Anza-Borrego and, in doing so, protecting valuable cultural and natural resources. Throughout the State Park System, ABF is seen as the ideal of what a cooperating system can achieve. It has certainly earned that distinction.


First Annual Anza-Borrego Desert Photo Contest

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Getting Back to nature: how to market the anza-borrego experience & address local challenges Jimmy Smith, ABF Immediate Past President

I called together a breakfast with some Borrego Springs friends last week. I hold these folks in high regard since they are organized, think big, and, like me, have never gotten over their love affair with this place we call home. They are also of single mind in looking and working towards the future of Borrego Springs, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and the greater community. Some years ago they were all hiking and talking—and thinking too. Pretty amazing, yes? Their conversations and collaboration led to the birthing of what is now called the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council. Its goal is to bring together all the different organizations currently dealing with the challenges facing Borrego Valley. These challenges fall into six buckets: water quality, air quality, sustainable economic development, governance and land use, continued biodiversity of our region, and human health. They have accomplished quite a lot in the last couple of years. The first meeting in 2013 brought together members of the Borrego Water Coalition, academics, and county agencies and resulted in an application for a four-million-dollar National Science Foundation grant to study the region’s water situation. They didn’t get the grant—but only ten percent of applicants do—but this meeting began the process of regularly bringing together civic and community organizations, government officials, agency staff, academic institutions, and interested citizens to address major issues of concern facing the Park, the Valley, and residents. The Borrego Valley, circa 1955

In 2014, this grassroots Borrego Valley Stewardship Council asked the National Geographic Society to present their “Geotourism” program that

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50,000-Acre Celebration

helps places like Borrego develop sustainable tourism plans. We are a unique “gateway community” by virtue of the fact that we provide access and hospitality to the largest state park in the lower 48. Subsequent to National Geographic’s assessment of our potential as a ”gateway community,” the Stewardship Council crafted a charter that described in detail what the guiding principles of Geotourism would be as applied to Anza-Borrego. Almost every organization that is of any consequence in town is a signatory to this charter. These folks have also taken their own time to introduce several pertinent San Diego County organizations, such as the San Diego Tourism Authority, Regional Economic Development Corp., and the Center for Sustainability, to our big ideas and the charter that backs them up. Surprisingly, the Stewardship Council members were met with great enthusiasm. It seemed that other county organizations were just waiting for us to make the first move. As you can probably guess, the Anza-Borrego Foundation has gotten involved with this project. ABF, like other Borrego Springs–based entities, believes that the natural and cultural merits of the local desert are the area’s best marketing strategies. Our best bet is to “sell” people on the natural wonders they seek, to invite them to explore the Park, to learn, to ask questions, to tell their families and friends about the experience, and to return to the landscape time and again— even if only in memory. I find it inspiring to know that all this Geotourism work was accomplished by a small group of people after a “walk in the Park.” That’s what I’m talkin’ about!


ABF Hosts Natural History Research Symposium

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Partners for 50 years: dpc & ABF Terry Weiner, Former Desert Protective Council Projects and Conservation Coordinator The Desert Protective Council (DPC) was formed by a small group of desert lovers around a campfire at the mouth of Deep Canyon in Palm Desert, California. Their goal was to protect Joshua Tree National Monument from uranium mining. From this grassroots beginning, the DPC grew, incorporating as a 501(c)(4) in July 1955 for the purpose of safeguarding “those desert areas of unique scenic, scientific, historical, spiritual and recreational value and to educate children and adults to a better understanding of the desert.” The organization continued to expand, adding members throughout the desert Southwest. The DPC spearheaded many other campaigns and educational projects over the last six decades. The Anza-Borrego Foundation had its beginnings in the 1960s, under the wing of the Desert Protective Council. When DPC was formed in 1955, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) was twenty-two years old. By the time the Park had the basic boundaries it has today, there were over 68,000 acres of private inholdings owned by 1,700 individual landowners. State Park Commissioner Horace Parker, an early president of the DPC, recognized the management problem of these inholdings and, working with the state park staff, resolved to look into how donations of land could be made to the state by landowners. In 1967, the California State Parks Commission, working with the Southern California District Superintendent and ABDSP Superintendent Wesley Cater, a DPC member, organized the first meeting of what was to be named the “Anza-Borrego Council.” The name was changed to the “Anza-Borrego Committee (ABC)” when DPC was designated as the depository for funds collected for 30 

Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

purchase of land, making the ABC officially a committee of the DPC. In its tenth year of operation, the Anza-Borrego Committee was organized into the nonprofit Anza-Borrego Foundation to enable it to receive title directly from landowners, thus making it a charitable trust under the DPC. By 1979, ABF had already transferred almost 4,000 acres of inholdings to the Park. Things were going well! During the next few years, however, tensions between board members grew over DPC’s lobbying activities. In 1988, after years of soul-searching and deliberation, the DPC Board voted to separate ABF from the DPC due to the potential conflicts that could arise from trying to acquire donations of land while DPC officers took stands opposing desert development from potential donors. In October 1988, ABF, a charitable trust of the DPC, was reorganized as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. ABF could now focus solely on land acquisition and remain neutral on all other issues.


Symposium Highlights Cultural Heritage

“DPC considers it a privilege to have funded ABF’s Camp Borrego program, which fosters the next generation of desert lovers and protectors.”

During the 1990s, the Anza-Borrego Foundation began to assist ABDSP in other ways, including expanding its interpretive and educational programs. With its larger conservation mission in place, ABF began again to collaborate with the DPC on new programs. In 2003, DPC settled a lawsuit against the Mesquite Mine Landfill Conversion in Imperial County. The settlement agreement stipulated that the funds be dedicated for education and conservation projects in Imperial County. In 2004, the DPC became one of the initial funders of ABF’s pilot fifth-grade overnight environmental tent camp program. Between 2004 and 2015, the DPC donated over $175,000 to Camp Borrego, providing more than 900 Imperial Valley fifthgraders the opportunity to experience the wonders of Anza-Borrego each spring. DPC has also funded ABF’s Parks Online Resources For Teachers and Students (PORTS) program, beaming interactive desert lessons with park staff into Imperial Valley classrooms. In 2007, DPC funded

the purchase of a four-wheel-drive, satellite-equipped vehicle, which enabled park interpreters to take their distance-learning program out of the studio and into the wilds of the Park. The intertwined histories of the DPC and ABF continued to develop and evolve over the decades. To this day, DPC and ABF still work hand in hand to preserve our precious deserts from industrial-scale energy development, unrestrained off-road vehicle use, and other types of exploitation.


Inaugural Member Hike Series

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Beyond Cooperating: Partnering Paige Rogowski, Former ABF Executive Director

Cooperating Associations, Friends Groups, Nonprofit Partners. There are a lot of ways to describe what organizations like Anza-Borrego Foundation (ABF) do for the parks they support. I like to compare the professional relationship to a marriage because, to me, we are two individual entities who jointly agree to work towards a common goal—in partnership. Love plays a part, too, although in this case, it’s a shared love of our precious Anza-Borrego Desert. Anza-Borrego Foundation is one of the first nonprofit organizations to partner with a California state park. Today, ABF has the contractual status of “cooperating association,” but the partnership began before it was defined by a legal document. In ABF’s early days, the organization was formed at the request of the State Parks and Recreation Commission. The Foundation was tasked with raising funds in order to purchase the privately owned lands within the boundaries of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Over the years, ABF’s mission has expanded to include raising funds for interpretive staff and programming as well as buildings and other capital needs. We tallied ABF’s support over the years: the total for contributed land, cash, and donated services comes to more than $32 million!

Kevin Price

Statewide, there are about 90 cooperating associations that support most of the 280 state parks in California. They are a diverse group of organizations that seek donations from private citizens. More than that, many of them run entrepreneurial businesses that earn money on behalf of the parks. ABF, for instance, conducts sales at two established locations and sometimes at remote ones. The interpretive sales program at ABF is


 Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 


25 Years of Membership

so efficient that it is able to give about 14% of the revenue earned each year directly to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I challenge you to find a retail business that achieves a profit margin like that each year! Aside from providing ABDSP with additional funds through sales revenue and donations, ABF’s education programs expand upon the interpretive programs run by State Parks itself. So as a partner, we are able to inspire even more people to preserve and protect this priceless desert. What makes ABF among the most successful cooperating associations in the nation? Trust. Commitment. Flexibility. Appreciation. Wouldn’t you use similar words to describe a successful marriage? After all, it is a relationship. One that must grow with time and remain flexible in order to provide support through the good times and bad. On this milestone, ABF’s golden anniversary with Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we celebrate everything we have accomplished over the past 50 years in partnership—as we look ahead to a glowing future together.

ABF staff members Emi Gates, Briana Puzzo, Paige Rogowski, and Bri Fordem celebrate ABF’s 25th anniversary of its membership program in 2015.

In 2003, ABF expanded its mission and began running education field programs on behalf of the Park.

This photo of a prickly poppy was a photo contest winner in 2011.

George Daley

Deborah Knapp


Launch of the Legacy Society

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ABF Leadership 2017 Staff Bri Fordem, Donor Relations Manager Julie Gerson, Land Program Coordinator Kathy Jorgensen, Sales Assistant Ashley Kvitek, Education & Outreach Coordinator Lauren Poole, Staff Assistant Briana Puzzo, Education Manager Chris Rogowski, Director of Interpretive Sales

2017 Board of Directors Ernie Cowan, President Bill McDonald, Vice President Ralph Singer, Secretary Lynn Rhodes, Treasurer Janie DeCelles Sharon Goldsmith, Ph.D. John Peterson Phil Pryde, Ph.D. Bill Reavey Jim Smith Joan Schneider, Ph.D. Linda Tandle Dick Troy Dave Van Cleve Mike Wells, Ph.D. 34 

Anza-Borrego Foundation: A Fifty-Year Retrospective 

Retrospective Credits Project Coordinator: Briana Puzzo Editor: Carey Blakely Raffetto Designer: Sara Jacobi Gaugler, SS Marketing Printing: Eye/Comm Cover Photo: Bruce Heimbach Honorable Mention in the Desert Landscapes Category 2015 Anza-Borrego Desert Photo Contest Photographers: We are so grateful to have the opportunity to reproduce the photography of many of our past Anza-Borrego Desert Photo Contest winners and ABF staff. Diana Lindsay, former ABF board member, provided many historical photos. Gratitude: Special thanks to Former ABF Executive Director Paige Rogowski for her vision on this project and determination to secure funding. Our appreciation also goes to L. Louise Jee for her skillful creation of the park maps used in this book. Copyright 2017 Anza-Borrego Foundation. All rights reserved. Copyrights remain with the authors and photographers and are used by permission. Photo Credit: Gene Wild