OUR ENVIRONMENTNatural Land
Natural land resources are community assets that occur naturally in the environment or are derived from the environment with little disturbance. Bounded by the Crafton Hills, San Bernardino National Forest, and rolling hills to the south, Yucaipa’s natural land resources include vast open space, biological resources, and hillsides. Yucaipa is surrounded by natural features of exceptional scenic value. These open spaces provide visual relief, preserve unique flora and fauna, and offer opportunities for outdoor recreation.
San Bernardino National Forest
The San Bernardino National Forest, an expansive area of more than 1,000 square miles, frames the northern side of the community. The forest supports both passive and active recreational activities – hiking, mountain biking, horse-back riding, fishing, camping, scenic drives, outdoor education, and skiing and other winter sports. Trails and recreational areas provide active recreational opportunities, and prominent peaks (such as the 9,137-foot San Gorgonio Peak) offer unparalleled views of the Yucaipa valley below.
The Crafton Hills have a colorful history that dates back to the early 1800s and the Gold Rush era. Today, the Crafton Hills are a defining feature of Yucaipa, providing beautiful vistas and habitat for over 500 species of plants and animals. Trails are used by hikers, horseback riders, bicyclists, and birders for recreation and to access Yucaipa Regional Park, Zanja Peak, and the north slopes. During spring wildflower walks, volunteer leaders share their knowledge about the hills, plants, animals, and natural history. In 1992, the Crafton Hills Open Space Conservancy was formed to protect in perpetuity the Crafton Hills area for its significant watershed, ecological, aesthetic, and other benefits. Since that time, the Conservancy has preserved two-thirds of the 4,500 acres through acquisition and cooperative management with San Bernardino County, Crafton Hills College, and the cities of Redlands and Yucaipa. The conservancy is “dedicated to working together to save a beautiful area for education, recreation, and wildlife habitat preservation.”
El Dorado Ranch Park
In 2009, the Yucaipa Valley Conservancy donated 334 acres off of Oak Glen Road to the City of Yucaipa, with the requirement that the land be a permanent open space. In addition to providing a place for community members to enjoy the views and traverse the natural terrain, the area is also home to alluvial scrub, oak trees, and sycamore riparian habitat among others. Part of the park’s property has been set aside for critical flood control, transportation projects, and the Wildwood Creek Detention Basin project. To support public access to the land, the City has built a restroom facility, parking lot, picnic area, and places for group camping. In October 2013, the City won a $121,000 grant from the California Natural Resources Agency for trailhead, parking lot, and facility improvements.