Due to a year of abnormally heavy rains, Southern California residents and visitors got to experience a spectacular poppy field “superbloom” across the vast hillsides of Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, California. But little did they know, visitors were actually exploring the grounds of a 95-year-old private landowner who was thrilled that the community was enjoying the outdoors and the beautiful poppies. He sought out The Conservation Fund to help ensure that the property remain protected for visitors to enjoy for generations to come.


The Conservation Fund played a major role to ensure the long-term outcome for Walker Canyon was one that focused on conservation and maintaining the environmental value of the poppy fields. We purchased this 271-acre property from a long-time private landowner who wanted us to help establish a long-term conservation solution for the land. By working with for-profit natural resource mitigation company and trusted partner, Ecosystem Investment Partners, and the Western Riverside County Conservation Authority, we were able to secure an outcome for the land that ensures there will be future explosions of poppy color, as well as protects essential habitat for the federally endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat and other rare species.


This property encapsulates what makes The Conservation Fund effective. We were able to move quickly—within 30 days—upon learning of the importance of the site, strike a deal with the landowner that fulfilled his financial needs and work with Riverside County to ensure the property fit the needs of their Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan and their long-range plans for thoughtful development in the area. This project integrated conservation and commerce to everyone’s benefit.