Check presentation
The check presentation for the Ewing Preserve restoration. Courtesy Rancho Santa Fe Foundation

The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation recently awarded $100,000 from its Open Space Fund to the Rancho Santa Fe Association for brush clearance and restoration of the 25-acre parcel of eucalyptus grove known as the Ewing Preserve.

The funds awarded will help protect several rare native plant species that make their home in the area by mitigating fire risk.

The award announcement follows the Ewing Preserve’s transfer of ownership from the RSF Foundation to the RSF Association, the Rancho Santa Fe community’s managing entity, which took place in December 2022.

“We’re thrilled to award this historic grant from our Open Space Fund to ensure the Ewing Preserve remains a safe and accessible place for all San Diegans to learn and enjoy,” said Chris Sichel, president, and CEO of, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation. “Environmental protection in our region is a fundamental part of Rancho Santa Fe Foundation’s goal to support a more resilient and sustainable future for all.”

The Ewing Preserve is a nature sanctuary located in the middle of the North County San Diego community of Rancho Santa Fe. The preserve features trails to walk or ride horses, quiet surroundings, and vista views. In addition to serving as a recreational outlet, the Ewing Preserve is home to the endangered Southern Maritime Chapparal plant community, making it one of the few remaining areas of its kind. In addition, rare and endangered plant species like Nuttal’s Scrub Oak and Del Mar Manzanita also reside in the preserve.

“The Rancho Santa Fe Association thanks the Foundation for the generous donations of the Ewing Preserve and the funds for fire mitigation on the property. We are committed to making our community more resistant to wildfires, and the contribution from the Foundation helps us further these important efforts. We are grateful for the long, collaborative relationship with and support from the Foundation,” said Christy Whalen, manager of, Rancho Santa Fe Association.

History of the Ewing Preserve

Located in the southeast section of the Rancho Santa Fe Protective Covenant, the Ewing Preserve was deeded from the Nature Conservancy (now the Nature Collective) to the RSF Foundation in 1984. The contract stipulated that the premises shall forever be used as open space and as a natural area preserve. 

Since 1989, the RSF Association has maintained the preserve’s trail and managed vegetation removal on the property. Over the years, the RSF Foundation assisted with several tree removal projects with capital from the Open Space Fund. 

In 2021, the Association worked in collaboration with the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District to identify critical areas of high fire risk within Ewing Preserve. In December 2022, the RSF Foundation signed over ownership of the Ewing Preserve to the RSF Association.

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