San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary project

Scenes from the San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary
Scenes from the San Timoteo Nature SanctuaryScenes from the San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary

The wildlife used it, Indians used it, the Spanish used it, the Anglos used it, the railroad used it, the stagecoach used it, and modern-day travelers still use the 12-mile long San Timoteo Canyon to get from the east San Bernardino Valley to the Banning Pass. The two-lane road still meanders near the path of the railroad tracks, and small ranches still dot the landscape. And the San Timoteo Creek still makes its journey from the Banning Pass downstream to the Santa Ana River.

Owned by the City of Redlands, 200 acres of this amazing land is held by the Redlands Conservancy in permanent conservation for the purpose of preserving the rare conservation values - riparian habitat, wildlife corridor, unmatched scenic vistas, passive recreation opportunities, and historical artifacts.
The Redlands Conservancy will "develop" - more like preserve - this land as a nature sanctuary - a place where both wildlife and human life can find refuge from the chaos of civilization. When funds are raised, the Conservancy will restore native habitat, restore the historic Carriage Trail, install interpretive signage, and encourage Redlanders and visitors to quietly enjoy the sanctuary of nature.

Project Description:
The Redlands Conservancy will identify specific areas of the San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary for habitat restoration, wildlife corridors, water quality management, and environment interpretation. These areas will be identified with tasteful signage that will educate and enlighten the public about the wonders of this fragile ecological area. The areas also will be connected with a small network of historic trails, restored and made safe for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians, and an occasional horse carriage. The area will also be interpreted for the historical significance, as it was once used by the Smiley Brothers, early Redlands' primary benefactors. No motorized vehicles will be allowed, and aside from new fencing at either end of the sanctuary, no structures will be constructed. Wildlife and human life will be able to enjoy the land in its natural condition.

The historic Carriage Trail on the San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary property
The historic Carriage Trail on the San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary propertyThe historic Carriage Trail on the San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary property

Several organizations and agencies have partnered with the Redlands Conservancy on this project, including the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District, Santa Ana Watershed Association, Supervisor Neil Derry of San Bernardino County, Third District, United States Army Corps of Engineers, State Fish and Game, Esri, University of Redlands, and City of Redlands.

The Redlands Conservancy will plan and create a nature sanctuary to be open to the public for passive recreation, education, and volunteer work. The plan will include designated areas for habitat restoration, wildlife corridor, trails, and interpretive signage. When ready for public use, the nature sanctuary will be the wild land it was naturally.

Used in the early and mid-twentieth century by, first, day-tourists from the Smiley brothers' Canon Crest Park, then dry-land farmers, the sanctuary land has been the scene of significant floods in 1938 and 1969. In 1955, the County of San Bernardino Flood Control District obtained a right-of-way in the middle of the creek and 100 feet on either side of the creek's center line. At that time, the creek flowed seasonally. In the mid 1970s, the Yucaipa Valley Water Treatment facility began dumping effluent into the creek, and an entire new ecosystem developed. The new ecosystem consists of a dense riparian environment with native cottonwoods and willows and lush understory. Riparian wildlife, both mammalian and avian, adopted the area. The USACE removed the vegetation for approximately one-half mile in the creek, southeast of San Timoteo Canyon Road bridge, and developed a total of 18 sediment basins to manage flood waters flowing toward housing in Loma Linda. One hundred and sixty acres of the land between Alessandro Road and San Timoteo Canyon Road, on the north side of the creek, was obtained for the City of Redlands with EPA funds. The City gave the conservation easement on the land to the Redlands Conservancy in October, 2010, to further protect the land's conservation values.

Native habitat abounds on the Sanctuary land
Native habitat abounds on the Sanctuary land

The Redlands Conservancy's Land Trust Cabinet will develop the plan, work with stakeholders and interested citizens to make certain the plan incorporates a compressive set of ideas, and begin the implementation of the plan, hopefully by early 2012.

Projected Costs:
Plan development: $10,000
Fencing on east end: $18,000
Habitat restoration: unknown, will work with ACE
Trail restoration and improvements: $40,000
Interpretive signage: $50,000
Maintenance fund: $50,000

Projected Completion Date:
June of 2012 for first phase: trail restoration, interpretive signage, fencing
On-going for habitat restoration and educational programs.


Native habitat abounds on the Sanctuary land
Native habitat abounds on the Sanctuary land
Native habitat abounds on the Sanctuary land


Conservancy Receives Save Our History Grant From HISTORY™

Special License Plate Frames for Redlands now available Redlands License Plate Frame