Conservation Update, 2013 Nov | Saddle Crest, Safe Trails Coalition, Chino-Puente Hills


Saddle Crest Homes developer Rutter Santiago LP has filed to appeal the Superior Court ruling that shot down their development plan. The ruling: Respondent (Orange County) violated CEQA when it approved amendments to the Orange County General Plan and the Foothill-Trabuco Specific Plan, and certified the EIR for the Saddle Crest Homes Area Plan. Under the ruling, Respondent is commanded to “not reapprove the same or similar Project before preparing a revised EIR section that complies with CEQA and ensuring that the Project complies with applicable State Planning and Zoning Law.” Despite this ruling, and despite that the County Board of Supervisors has voted to NOT appeal the ruling, Rutter (co-defendant with the County in the original suit) has filed the appeal. See the Nov-Dec 2012, Jan-Feb 2013, and Sept-Oct 2013 Newsletters,and references therein, for background on OCCNPS/CNPS involvement in this lawsuit and its preceding actions.

Saddleback Canyons Conservancy and Rural Canyons Conservation Fund are again spearheading the environmental coalition (which also includes Audubon California, CNPS, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks) on this side of the battle. The appeal is expected to be heard next spring. The BIG need now is, once again, fundraising to cover litigation costs.

ACTION NOW:  Donate to help defend the Superior Court’s ruling. Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks is the campaign’s fiscal sponsor; go to to donate. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.


Audubon California, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Sea and Sage Audubon Society, and Sierra Club have founded the Safe Trails Coalition. Its goal is to preserve access to OC’s diverse parklands through trail systems that allow people to enjoy these lands while protecting the resources in them. The Coalition:

•    Supports all users of the existing network of authorized trails, who are willing to ensure native plants and wildlife and other natural resources are protected, and agree that all trail users and park visitors are entitled to a safe and enjoyable experience in the wilderness.

•    Seeks to complement the efforts of area land managers to address the far-reaching problems associated with trail misuse and abuse.

•    Welcomes individuals, user groups, non-profit and civic organizations, governmental agencies, and land managers, asking that they become supporting members of the Coalition so all can better work collectively to achieve our common goals.

On September 26 the Safe Trails Coalition hosted a workshop focused on understanding three perspectives: public safety, user groups and land managers; see


Hills For Everyone ( will present a retrospective, “Lest we Forget,” to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the devastating Freeway Complex Fire. The 30,305-acre fire swept across 90% of Chino Hills State Park and damaged adjacent communities. Exhibits on the fire, maps and photos, and fire-safe tips will be at the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center, 4500 Carbon Canyon Rd., November 16-17 and 24-25, 9-12.

—Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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