County of San Diego Parks and Recreation

Rancho Lilac Preserve

Rancho Lilac Preserve was purchased by California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) in 2011 as part of the State Route 76 widening project. The property is located in the community of Valley Center in the unincorporated portion of San Diego County and lies within the draft North County Multiple Species Conservation Program Priority Conservation Area. Keys Creek flows through the property on its way to the San Luis Rey River and the Pacific Ocean. Over a dozen different vegetation communities are found on the Preserve including riparian forests, grasslands, live oak woodlands, and coastal sage scrub, which are home to sensitive plant and animal species including horned lizards, least Bell’s vireos, and coastal CA gnatcatchers. The history of the Preserve, both for cultural and historical significance, is also rich and diverse.  There are many cultural resources on site as well as historical buildings.

Rancho Lilac Vista

Rancho Lilac Resource Management Plan Development  

The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is working in partnership with San Diego Association of Government (SANDAG) and CalTrans to develop a Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Rancho Lilac Preserve. The RMP will include the development of a Public Access Plan (PAP) and there will be multiple opportunities for public input throughout this process.  

The RMP is Phase 1 of a two-phase process. After the RMP is completed in 2025, DPR will work with SANDAG and Caltrans to negotiate an endowment and ultimately take over ownership and management of the Rancho Lilac property in perpetuity.


Rancho Lilac Preserve Trail User Questionnaire:

The questionnaire will be available until July 25th, 2024.

Past Meetings:

A public meeting was held on May 22, 2023 at Valley Center Community Hall to introduce the development process for the Rancho Lilac Preserve Resource Management Plan. 

A Rancho Lilac RMP Public Access Plan Workshop was held on July 11, 2024 at Valley Center Community Hall.

If you have any questions please contact Bethany Principe at and Emily Pacholski at

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