History Sycamore Sage

Searching for Stowe – a video presentation by Carol Crafts

Hello, my name is Carol Crafts and I am a docent for the Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch Open Space Preserves and the author of Goodan Ranch and Sycamore Canyon: A History of the Land: Then and Now.

I became involved with the Goodan Ranch when I met a granddaughter of the Goodan Family, through a program we were both involved in. While researching the history of the area for docents at the Preserve, I became fascinated by the township of Stowe.

Stowe was located at the top of Sycamore Canyon.   In the 1880s, families began settling in the area southeast of Poway and north of Santee along a well traveled route used by farmers taking produce to El Cajon as well as the train stops in Foster and Santee.  This route was recognized in 2003 as the Stowe Millennium Trail.   Homesteaders in Sycamore Canyon hoped to see the railroad go through Poway and connect them to the surrounding areas.

In 1884 families began to file homestead claims at land offices in Los Angles, which meant that they had already been living on the land for several years.   In 1889 a post office opened in Stowe receiving mail twice weekly.  By 1903 the office had 32 patrons.

1890 saw the opening of a school at the top of the canyon for the homesteader’s children.  The school originally served the children of eight families in the area.   By 1903 the Stowe school was closed and students went to either the Poway or Santee school districts.   The school house was sold for $25 and the wood was used to build another dwelling.   1905 saw the post office close as well.   While the town of Stowe remained on Triple A maps of the area until 1914, it was quickly dwindling away as families moved on.

Why did this town, which seemed so promising just a few years before, disappear so quickly?   After years of researching, I believe that the disappearance of Stowe is related to several different factors which came together to make Stowe a difficult place to live.   The railroad spur which had been planned to go through Poway, Stowe, and Ramona was canceled in 1896 leaving Stowe isolated and hard to reach.   This time period also saw some extreme weather in the area with alterations between torrential rains and drought making farming a difficult endeavor.   The twin challenges of uncertain weather and difficult transportation made Stowe a less than ideal place to live and many families from the Stowe area saw children marry and move into either Poway or Santee. Charlie Bottroff, son of the Stowe Post Master and Post Mistress, married Josie Fischer, daughter of the former Stowe Postmistress, and moved to Santee as a blacksmith. Other children moved to Poway or Escondido.

In the 1930’s, the Goodan family bought most of the Stowe land to add to their ranch.   Today the Goodan Ranch and surrounding area are jointly managed by the cities of Poway, Santee and the California Department of Fish and Game and is known as Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch Open Spaces Preserves.   The Preserves contain more than 10 miles of hiking trails and allows horseback riding and bicycling. They are also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life. If you enjoy hiking, biking, or riding and are interested in San Diego County’s natural habitat please come and visit the preserves.  For more historical information about the township of Stowe or the Goodan Ranch, please visit the San Diego Historical Society, the Poway Historical Society, the Santee Historical Society, the Lakeside Historical Society Archives, or the El Cajon Historical Society. These wonderful institutions have made my own research into Stowe possible and hold the history of San Diego for those who care to look.

Sycamore Sage

2012 – 09 (September)

Sage Sept 2012 pdf version

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Sycamore Sage

2012 – 06 (June)

President’s Message:
The wild flowers around the Visitor Center and out in the Preserve are responding to the intermittent rains and the abundant sunshine. Do make a visit and watch the wildlife.

Minutes of the Friends of Goodan Ranch and Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserves May 7, 2012
In attendance: Carol Crafts, Karen Larsen Gordon, Phoenix von Hendy, Terry Callan, and Gardner Grady.
The meeting was called to order at 7:11pm.

-Secretary’s Report: The motion passed to approve the minutes of the meeting held February 6, 2012.

-Treasurer’s Report: Balances to date are: Checking – $3,372, Savings – $0,031, Total – $12,403. Annual membership income – $895. The fiscal audit for 2011 has been completed, with no additional issues. Terry will contact Ann Hunt regarding filing the IRS 990 annual tax return.

-Ranger’s Report:
1) Final planting of 30 trees (sycamore, live oak and Engleman oak) plus native shrubs is being completed.
2) A Star Party was held May 11th.
3) County Department of Public Works has received one-time stewardship money to survey the Hagey property corners.
4) Biological and archaeological surveys started on new parcel acquisitions north and south of the Preserves, and an update of vegetation on the original Preserve. MSCP protocol dictates vegetation mapping every 5 years.
5) Creek bank adjustments will be made prior to repairing road damage that resulted from 2011 Winter storms. Grant money for this purpose has been processed.

-Old Business:
1) Gardner reports fewer people are riding the Stowe Trail. Media coverage regarding Marine closures and access restrictions has been thorough. Letters supporting the purchase, or at least an easement through Camp Elliot, are encouraged. Contacts with generals will be distributed in order to have the President of Friends and “users” send letters. IMBA has written, and the San Diego PAC is in the works. County staff is working on an “in-park” solution. One route is being used, with an alignment option outside of the riparian zone. Diane Jacobs is headed to Washington D.C. to meet with the Marines regarding the Stowe Trail access. Mission Trails South is working on an updated Master Plan, including trail connectivity to Goodan Ranch.
2) Calle de Rob/Hagey property remains gated off, contingent on the revised Sycamore Canyon Use Plan and biological survey. One year is the estimated project period.
3) Trail work is likely to be held in the fall or winter. Rain for this year has caused good vegetative growth, but has been hard on trails. Sections of trail are periodically closed, and roads are being amended and graded at this time.
4) No wildlife tracking report – postponement of surveys occurred due to rain.
5) The old water pump is currently in the office at the Visitor’s Center.

-New Business:

1) Gardner will coordinate another trail maintenance event, including a Friends hosted BBQ this winter.
2) Friends staffed a booth at Scripps Ranch Community Fair. Carol, Phoenix and Karen set up with Ann Marie Cox, from the San Diego Archaeological Center and Fred and Linda Kramer of the San Diego Tracking Team joining in the afternoon. Numerous booth visitors had no idea where Goodan Ranch is located, but would hope to visit, particularly with access becoming available in the near future from a staging area in Mission Trails North, Scripps Ranch. A representative from Mission Trails advised that staging area off of Stonebridge is currently under construction which means trail access will drop into Goodan Ranch.
3) The County requested Friends participate in the summer movie events. The movie sponsorship rate was shared by Carol. At $500 per event, June 22nd was selected as the singular requested date for showing “We Bought a Zoo.” Motion was made, seconded and carried to allocate the funds.
4) The next JPA meeting is due to be scheduled on an annual basis.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:55pm. Next Meeting: August 6, 2012 7:00pm Coco’s.

Preserve Status Report, May 2012

· Powerlink project is winding down however their helicopters continue to occasionally fly over the Preserve continually on certain days: habitat restoration of damaged areas will first be contoured then hydroseeded by PAR then probably in the Fall possibly RECON will hydroseed with the Preserve’s harvested seeds, fenced and monitored for maybe up to five years….SDG&E are responsible for successful habitat recovery.
· Bobcat study still open with cameras in the Preserve yet no more active trapping… cat was collared
· Squirrel study begins here this month through December by SDSU
· MSCP biological and archaeological surveys of the Hagey property ongoing as well as the five year surveying of the entire Preserve again per MSCP guidelines. Surveying may continue through July. Data will be made into a report at the surveys completion available from the Parks office, maybe online and hopefully a Preserve office copy.
· CALEMA storm 2011 damage funding of $45,000 has been spent on road materials. Preserve roads primarily Goodan Ranch have been repaired , rebuilt and improved. Drainage trenching work is pending.
· City of San Diego Parks Dept, Ranger Matt Sanford and Planner Laura Ball coordinated trail installation on West Sycamore, connecting their trail system to Sycamore Goodan staging area. Fencing and gates are pending. Once the trails are completed 1400 acres of adjacent property to Goodan Ranch will be owned , managed by the City of San Diego. No staff or offices are assigned at this time.
· County supervisor Diane Jacobs flies to Washington , D.C. this week to negotiate the Stowe Trail access, management.
· Wildlife is booming in Preserve this year including: Red shouldered hawks fledging two babies now, lots of rattlesnakes at the visitor center, horned lizards, baby western blue birds, says, black phoebes, nuttals woodpeckers, finches etc
· New DPM Matt Bohan, new central district assignment
· New PA Felipe Franco Senior
· Future large construction project new Preserve bridge replacements
· New lobby exhibits improvement funding slated
· Interpretive/ Recreation programming continues year round
· Friends Movies in the Park support donation greatly appreciated
California Chaparral Institute []


Beginning Tracking Walks
Join an experienced SDTT Tracker for a FREE easy wildlife tracking walk. Look for tracks, scat,
and further evidence that coyotes, bobcats, raccoon, deer, and other wildlife have been in
the area! No reservation is necessary. Simply show up at the designated time and location:
First Saturday of every month at 8:30 a.m. at the Mission Trails
Regional Park Visitor Center For information: or 619.668.3281
Second Saturday of every month at 8:00 a.m. at the Adobe Ranch House in
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve
For information: or 760.715.4102
E-mail: “Tracking Our Native Wildlife”
Dead Birds: Dead less than 24 hours – no obvious damage – do Not freeze. Call 1-888-551-4636.Weekends: 858-565-5255
Have you found an injured or orphaned bird or mammal in San Diego County?
Call Project Wildlife at 619-225-9202. See their web site at:

The Parks website is See
During rainy weather and post rainy weather the Parks Preserves are closed for safety and damage control due to muddy, wet trails and roads. Please check the Parks website or call the ranger’s office at 858-513-4737 for Preserve status.

Events at Goodan Ranch/Sycamore Canyon:
Over ten miles of trails and service roads open to hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use. Preserve visitors are welcome to visit our new visitor center. Live animals and exhibits on Goodan History, Cedar Fire, Kumeyaay and the MSCP are on display.
Events, hikes and programs start at various Preserve locations. Some require a one mile walk from Goodan Ranch staging to the Visitor Center. ALLOW ½ HOUR TO PARK AND WALK TO THE VISITOR’S CENTER. Please check descriptions closely. No vehicular traffic is permitted in the Preserve. Transportation for those with disabilities can be arranged, by calling the ranger at (858)513-4737. Goodan staging area accessed from Poway Rd. east on Garden Rd, then south on Sycamore Canyon Rd. Sycamore Canyon Rd. ends at parking lot.
Highway 67 staging area accessed through SOUTHBOUND Highway 67 only, half a mile south of Scripps Poway Parkway.
All events are free. For information or to make event reservations call (858)513-4737 or email

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 8:30am – 10:00am
Wildlife Bingo. Space is limited to 50 so please call (858)513-4737 for reservations. Guests will park at Goodan Staging area and must walk approximately 1 mile down to visitor center. Rain or muddy conditions cancel.
Program will be held at Preserve Visitor Center.

Friday, June 15th, 2012 Sunset
Star Party. Program will be held at Highway 67 Staging area accessed Highway 67 southbound only. RAIN or CLOUDS CANCEL..

Friday, July 20th, 2012 Sunset
Star Party.
Program will be held at Highway 67 Staging area accessed Highway 67 southbound only. RAIN or CLOUDS CANCEL.

Saturday, July 28th, 2012 8:00pm – 10:00pm
Movies in the Moonlight. A large screen will be set up in the Highway 67 staging area. Call ranger station closer to date for movie title. Dress warm and bring a flashlight and something to sit on. See you all there!
Rain or muddy conditions cancel.
Program will be held at the Highway 67 staging area.


Friday, August 17th, 2012 Sunset
Star Party.

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 9:00am – 11:00am
Introduction to Geocaching. Space is limited to 50 so please call (858)513-4737 for reservations. Guests will park at Goodan Staging area and must walk approximately 1 mile down to visitor center. Rain or muddy conditions cancel. Program will meet at Visitor Center.

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 8:00am – 10:00am
Birding Walk. Join Jeanie Anderson in what is sure to be a fun and informative birding walk.
Program will meet at Goodan staging area. Rain or muddy conditions cancel.

Friday, September 21st, 2012 Sunset Star Party
Program will be held at Highway 67 Staging area accessed Highway 67 southbound only. RAIN or CLOUDS CANCEL.

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 11:00am – 12:00pm
Live Raptors Experience. Join Ranger Maureen and her live raptors to learn all there is know about these magnificent birds Space is limited to 50 so please call (858)513-4737 for reservations. Guests will park at Goodan Staging area and must walk approximately 1 mile down to visitor center.
Rain or muddy conditions cancel.
Program will be held at Preserve Visitor Center.

All Memberships are from 1 January of each year.

City_____________State__________ Zip______


____$20 Senior 62 plus ____$20 Student
____$25 Individual
____$40 Family
____$100 Patron
___ $250 Corporate ____$1000 Lifetime


13030 Birch Lane,
Poway, CA 92064