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The San Dieguito River Park
18372 Sycamore Creek Rd.
Escondido, CA 92025
Phone: (858) 674-2270
Fax: (858) 674-2280

Website by Astra Consulting


Boden Canyon

Boden Canyon, Oak Tree



Boden Canyon, located about 10 miles east of the Wild Animal Park and to the north of Highway 78, has been identified as an area of significant biological importance. The quality of the habitat in this area has led to the public acquisition of all of the land in the 2,068-acre canyon, with the exception of a 10-acre-parcel at the far northwest corner, which will remain privately owned.  Permanent preservation of Boden Canyon will ensure the continued use of the canyon’s well-traveled north/south wildlife corridor, allowing uninterrupted wildlife movement between the San Dieguito River Valley and open space areas to the north.

A tributary canyon of the San Dieguito River Valley, Boden Canyon contains a diverse population of plants and animals. This secluded canyon, which has benefited from minimal human activity and diligent property management, functions as a regionally significant wildlife corridor that includes habitat for large mammals such as deer and mountain lion. In addition, the canyon is home to the endangered arroyo toad and provides nesting and foraging habitat for more than 128 species of resident and migratory birds.

The canyon supports well-developed riparian habitat consisting of an oak and sycamore canopy and a diverse understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants. Both coast live oak and Engelmann oak can be found here. Beyond the main drainage, the vegetation types include coastal sage scrub, southern mixed chaparral, and a few pockets of native grasslands. A man-made pond located near the center of the canyon provides open water and freshwater marsh habitat.

Public ownership in Boden Canyon is divided among three public agencies - the County of San Diego (40 acres), the City of San Diego (797 acres) and the California Department of Fish & Game (1,221 acres).  In addition, a portion of these public lands is located within the boundaries of the Cleveland National Forest. All of Boden Canyon is included within the San Dieguito River Park’s Focused Planning Area, as well as within the boundaries of the City of San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Plan.

The City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department purchased 240 acres in the central portion of the canyon as mitigation for offsite impacts to native habitat and the County of San Diego’s Department of Public Works purchased 40 acres as mitigation for an offsite road project. Most recently, the State Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) purchased 1,221 acres in both the north and south ends of the canyon for habitat preservation. The management responsibility for the WCB purchase lies with the California Department of Fish and Game. An additional 557 acres at the southern end of Boden Canyon were purchased many years ago by the City of San Diego’s Water Department for watershed management.

Now that much of the land within the canyon has been acquired for habitat preservation, it is important that a management plan be developed that takes into consideration the goals and objectives of all the participating agencies. Such a multi-agency management plan will ensure that the primary objective for the canyon, that of biological resource protection, is realized, and that other associated compatible uses can be evaluated and implemented in the future, as deemed appropriate by a consensus of the various stakeholders. Until the management plan has been developed, the area will be generally closed to public access.

Funding was secured from the California Department of Fish and Game Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) program for the preparation and processing of an interagency preserve management plan for the 2,058-acre area. The City of San Diego will administer the grant and has hired a biological consulting firm to prepare a draft plan. Development of the management plan will however be a cooperative effort, involving the City of San Diego, California Department of Fish and Game, County of San Diego, and the San Dieguito River Park. Because of Boden Canyon’s relationship to the Cleveland National Forest, the Forest Service will also be a participant in the management plan process. Another important player in the development of the management plan is the public. Public participation will be a major focus of the planning effort.

An initial step in the management plan process is to update the existing biological resources information for the area in order to establish a biological baseline. This baseline data will describe the existing biological characteristics and habitat quality of the canyon. The primary goal of the plan will be to preserve the quality of the habitat, and where deemed necessary recommend measures to improve any degraded area. The plan itself will address the following management directives: restoration/revegetation of disturbed areas; invasive exotics control and removal; fire management; public use/access, trails and recreation; trash control; adjacency management issues; and flood/erosion control. The grant also provides funds for the development and initial implementation of an exotic plant species removal/control plan.  Each property owner or stakeholder has been requested to draft their proposed goals for a joint management plan in Boden Canyon.  These will all be synthesized into a draft document for public review.

The San Dieguito River Park's proposed goals for Boden Canyon are listed below:



Preserve and protect biological and cultural resources.

Provide opportunities for a variety of limited passive uses.


Minimize disturbance to biological and cultural resources.

Limit uses to those that are compatible with natural open space preserve and passive recreation (such as hiking, bird watching, nature interpretation).

Construct the Lower Santa Ysabel segment of the Coast to Crest trail (non-motorized multiple use trail for hikers, bicyclists, equestrians) through lower Boden Canyon to connect Boden Canyon to Pamo Valley and Lake Sutherland.

Establish a non-motorized multiple-use spur trail up Boden Canyon from the Lower Santa Ysabel trail along the existing dirt road to Boden pond.

Establish a loop trail connection from Boden Canyon eastward into the Cleveland National Forest to the Coast to Crest trail.

Designate a hikers only trail from Boden pond to the north end of the Boden property.

Construct a staging area for trail users inside the gate at Highway 78 (possibly at “Steppe Mountain”) and designate the existing dirt road as a trail to the intersection of the Lower Santa Ysabel and Boden Canyon trails.

Retain Boden pond and designate a low-impact picnic area next to the pond (passive only – no barbecues, no rest rooms, no improvements).  Define the area to minimize impacts and encourage picnickers to stay in one area.

Establish a primitive camping area at the disturbed area east of Boden pond (no improvements).

Provide interpretive opportunities (signs) at the staging area and along the trail to educate users on the history and resources of Boden Canyon

Retain a volunteer host on site to monitor activities and establish a presence.

Establish a maintenance/monitoring program to tackle problem areas and issues such as invasive species, cattle intrusion, erosion repair/prevention, revegetation, road/creek crossing repair and maintenance, litter/dumping, etc.

Establish a long-term management committee to monitor the management plan, coordinate activities, and maintain communication.

If you would like to be notified of future public meetings related to the Boden Canyon Management Plan, please provide your name, address, phone number, and fax/e-mail, if available, to Shawna Anderson: phone (858) 674-2275 ex. 13; fax (858) 674-2280; e-mail


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