San Diego Canyonlands' mission is to promote, protect and restore the natural habitats in San Diego County's canyons and creeks. We do this by fostering education and ongoing community involvement in stewardship and advocacy, and by collaborating with other organizations.
Our history: In the summer of 1998, communities surrounding San Diego neighborhood canyons were informed about plans to build permanent sewer line maintenance roads in the floors of the canyons. The residents surrounding North Park’s Switzer Canyon came to the Sierra Club’s San Diego Chapter with concerns about the impacts these paved roads could have on their canyon. These neighbors expressed that the canyons were precious to them, that they provided an escape to nature in urban San Diego, and that they didn’t want to see roads paved through their local wild places. In response, on a rainy Saturday morning in October 1998, the Sierra Club conducted a free, informative, guided tour of Switzer Canyon, and about 60 residents showed up- organizing the first canyon ‘Friends Group’ and launching the San Diego Canyons Campaign. The Sierra Club, recognizing that San Diegans love their neighborhood canyons, continued to develop Friends Groups for dozens of canyons throughout the city and county.With the championship of City Council representative Christine Kehoe (who then became a State Senator) and the pressure of several organized canyon groups, united as a city-wide Canyons Coalition, the City Council passed a temporary moratorium on road building in canyons. They established a Task Force to research alternatives to the obtrusive access roads and develop policies for accessing the sewer system while minimizing impacts to canyon habitats. In January 2002, the City Council adopted the recommendations of the Task Force limiting the access to 8-foot wide, unpaved and vegetated roads.In 2008, with the support of the Sierra Club, the Canyons Campaign leadership formed San Diego Canyonlands (SDCL), a new 501(c)3 nonprofit with a focused Board of Directors and agenda now dedicated to continuing and growing the movement to advocate for, and restore San Diego’s wonderful canyons and creeks.Over a decade later and SDCL is still dedicated to protecting, promoting, and restoring canyons and creeks throughout San Diego.