San Diego Canyonlands

Park Dedication


Fast Facts

  • The purpose of Dedicating  city land is to provide for reliable open-space preservation and recreational opportunities within communities. It provides a framework for future planning, as the City continues to grow.

  • After a public vetting process, which is initiated by citizens, City Council can approve parcels for Dedication.

  • Dedication itself does not result in any changes or additional cost in maintenance to the city.

  • Lands that are Dedicated require a 2/3 approval of San Diego voters to be converted for non-park uses.  Land that is merely "designated" as open space can be converted, transferred or sold with five votes of the City Council.

  • Dedicated lands are preserved as natural open space or developed for active outdoor recreation.

  • The City Council retains the authority to grant easements for utility purposes across Dedicated property including roads, sewer lines, drainage channels etc.

  • This Dedication proposal continues a process that started at the City’s Natural Resources & Culture Committee in 2006 after hearing a Canyonlands White Paper report. Subsequently Parks and Recreation staff produced a report indicating that ~17,000 acres were ripe for Dedication.

  • In December 2007, the City ratified State legislation, authored by Senator Christine Kehoe and supported by Mayor Jerry Sanders and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, that Dedicated ~6,600 acres of open space land.  This State legislation allowed the city to save over $1 million dollars in unnecessary entitlement costs.

  • In December 2012, as a result of years of effort by SDCL, City Council dedicated 6,500 acres for permanent protection, an area six times the size of Balboa Park!

  • SDCL is proposing the Dedication of ~5,000 more acres as a next step to preserve our city’s Canyonlands legacy. Although SDCL garnered support of community Planning Groups and proposed this land for dedication during the 2012 Dedication Campaign, it was not dedicated because it falls outside of the City’s municipal boundary. For example, the 185-acre McGonigle Canyon in Torrey Highlands and 2000 acres in San Pasqual Valley were left undedicated, even though they fall within our city’s Multiple Species Conservation Program!


San Diego's Unique Geographic DNA

For decades City planners have envisioned the conservation of our canyons and unique steep hillsides recognizing that they are our geographic DNA and they distinguish San Diego from other cities throughout the world.  In the 1970’s, City Council passed a successful initiative allowing land owners to split their parcels and sell the steep slopes and canyon creek portions to the city. Though the work and planning to defend this vision has required arduous stands by determined citizens (and indeed much has been lost), a system of open space is fairly intact and can be restored to serve a variety of important services.  This land amounts to our green infrastructure, the most efficient way to reduce flooding and maintain healthy air and water. It supports species conservation goals, provides an accessible “escape to nature” to urban communities, and serves as nature classrooms for San Diego's youth.