Volcan Mountain Foundation

Secondary Menu

San Diego County, California

Header Default Photo

Press Release: Volcan Mountain Foundation receives gift of 684-acre Peckham Keenan Wildlife Sanctuary

Volcan Mountain Foundation receives gift of 684-acre Peckham Keenan Wildlife Sanctuary


Dec. 5, 2023

JULIAN—Volcan Mountain Foundation has added substantially to its land holdings with a gift of 684 acres from the estate of Ann Peckham Keenan.

Finalized in November, the gift includes funding to manage the acreage on the eastern slope of Volcan Mountain near Borrego and Warner Springs.

“This gift comes from more than a decade of relationship and trust building between Ann and Volcan Mountain Foundation,” said President and Executive Director Eric Jones. “She chose Volcan Mountain Foundation to continue stewarding the place she loved, for all time.”

The late Mrs. Keenan, of La Mesa, purchased the property with her late husband, Tom Keenan, in the 1990s. In 2018, she acted to place a permanent conservation easement to prohibit hunting and trapping on the property, which supports grasslands, chaparral, oak and conifer forests and numerous springs, creeks and seasonal ponds.

Humane Society Wildlife Trust owns and monitors the conservation easement.

The property joins other public protected lands on Volcan Mountain, creating a substantial network of connected open space with varied animal habitats supporting a network of wildlife corridors.

“What you see going on all over the world, the human population is just devastating the planet and everything else that lives on it,” Keenan told the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2018. “I just think that as much land as possible that can be put into a sanctuary situation for wildlife should be done.”

The sanctuary will continue to provide a safe haven for animals.

Wildlife surveys have tallied more than 100 bird species on the property, including the federally-endangered least Bell’s vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher. The land is home to mountain lions, bobcats, southern mule deer, badgers, gray foxes, coyotes, striped skunks, granite spiny lizards and Pacific tree frogs.

In expressing the foundation’s gratitude, Board Chair Jay Evarts recalled Keenan’s volunteer work at the Borrego State Park Visitor Center and determination to create a nearby wildlife sanctuary.

“During the several years that I got to know Ann, I was so impressed by her ability to enjoy life to the fullest and her passion for all wildlife—both flora and fauna,” Evarts said. “Right up until her passing earlier this year, she was still hiking, practicing yoga and taekwondo and gardening.”

In other news, Volcan Mountain Foundation Nov. 17 announced winning a $1.55 million grant award from the state Wildlife Conservation Board for forest restoration.

As a donation-supported nonprofit land trust committed to preserving Volcan Mountain in its natural state for future generations, Volcan Mountain Foundation welcomes all forms of charitable giving, including donor-advised funds, property, remainder trusts and stocks. Details on the Five Oaks Circle, the foundation’s planned giving society, can be found online.

For more information, visit www.volcanmt.org.

Contact: Eric Jones, Volcan Mountain Foundation, 760 765-2300 or eric@volcanmt.org