Source: Valley Roadrunner

Tending the mountain

by Kim Harris

December 18, 2013

In the article, Palomar Mountain State Park needs funds to “Survive and Thrive,” run in the Valley Roadrunner’s Oct. 31 edition, reporter Michael Crane wrote about the struggle faced by Palomar Mountain State Park following cuts in the state budget several years ago.

Since those cuts occurred, the park has struggled to stay open, but due to a “fluke” in a budget $10 million was located that would be distributed to the state parks through funds matching.

Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park Committee began to spread the word about the program hoping to raise enough money by the end of the year to fund the park through 2015.

According to a recent press release, $21,335 has been raised, with the dollar-to-dollar matching funds from the state, the total of the effort is $42,670 to date. However, if an additional $18,665 can be raised prior to Dec. 31, the park becomes eligible for an additional $40,000 courtesy of the Wilson Family Foundation’s match challenge, and those funds would be eligible for matching funds from the state too.

That is a lot of money that would go a long way in helping to save this precious natural resource located right in our own backyard.

By my math, as skewed as it may be, if every resident of Valley Center donated just $2.01 to the effort, we could make what essentially amounts to an $80,000 difference to Palomar Mountain State Park. That seems like a pretty good investment to me.

The park spans 862 acres on land that has been occupied by both Native Americans and pioneers homesteads. There are apple orchards at the park that are over 100 years old and still producing apples.

With opportunities for camping, hiking, picnicking, fishing, and even views of Coronado and Catalina islands on clear days, it is a very well-rounded park. Doane Pond, located in the park, is a great spot for trout fishing. There are 11 miles of trails across varied terrain as well as the Boucher fire lookout, staffed by volunteers.

“Our fund drive’s objective is twofold: to raise money to keep Palomar open, meaning to help it survive, and to fund the maintenance and improvements is so badly needs, to help it thrive,” said Rick Barclay, chairman of the Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park Committee. He hopes to put the funds raised to such things as re-roofing the bathrooms, trail maintenance, and other simple upkeep that needs to be taken care of.

All donations to the Survive and Thrive fundraiser are tax-deductible. You can donate by check or credit card at

“No amount is too small, we appreciate every dollar,” said Barclay. “We are indebted to all the donors who have helped us out so far.”