The Buena Vista Audubon Wetlands Reserve is now a reality. The first piece of land ever to be owned by BVAS is a 3.55-acre parcel of wetlands on the shore of the Buena Vista Lagoon, just across the street from the Nature Center. The deed of trust recording this historic event was filed at the county recorder’s office shortly after the new year. The early founders of the chapter, Dave Rorrick, Cora Wilson, and a handful of friends, led early morning bird walks on this property almost 70 years ago, dreaming of someday having a Nature Center nearby. They probably never envisioned actually owning this land. It has been a long time coming.
Many BVAS members recall the proposal to build a condo hotel and restaurant on this site back in 2007. The project had been approved by the city, but BVAS and others united in a campaign to prevent development on what they felt was critical buffer habitat for the lagoon. Many urged BVAS to buy the land back then, but the owner had placed a prohibitively high value on the property in anticipation of development.
Flash forward to 2014, when BVAS approached a new owner to see if he would consider selling the property for conservation. A purchase option was agreed to at a reasonable price, and the fundraising began. The total of $1.55 million was eventually raised over an 18-month period. Major funds came from Preserve Calavera, North County Advocates, the Wimberly Fund at Audubon California, and the California Wildlife Conservation Board. It was made possible by $80,000 in donations from over 200 members of the community, including $15,000 contributed by David Rorrick’s family in a fitting tribute to his memory. In the end, it was that strong show of community support that proved essential in convincing the resource agencies, city and state officials, and other funders to support the acquisition. This is our legacy to the community and to future generations.
We did it!