• Creation of Chino Hills State Park
  • Founding Member of Wildlife Corridor Conservation Authority (WCCA)
  • Coordination of the Purchase of Coal Canyon Wildlife Corridor by State Parks


  • Orange County Press Club Award for Community Service (1982)
  • California State Park & Recreation Commission Resolution of Commendation (1986)
  • California Department of Parks and Recreation DeWitt Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Establishment of Chino Hills State Park (1997)
  • Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards Certificate of Recognition (2000)
  • Top Achievement of the Environmental Community in Southern California in Land Use, Open Space and Smart Growth (2006) “Orange County’s Measure M passes with more than $500 million dedicated to Environmental Protection.”



  • HFE was formed and volunteers inventoried and documented natural resources in the hills.


  • State Parks releases Feasibility Study requested by the State Legislature using data and information developed by HFE.


  • HFE makes over 200 presentations to the public at meetings and events.


  • HFE works toward passage of State Park Bond Act that contains funding for purchases of land for the proposed Chino Hills State Park (CHSP).


  • The first land is purchased for Chino Hills State Park at a site where an International Airport was planned.


  • The Rolling M Ranch (eastern access) and the Shell property (western access) are purchased in a funding coup that sent $15 million to Chino Hills State Park for acquisition.


  • HFE signs a lease with Department of General Services to operate the Park for public use.
  • HFE begins clean up of the land and development of public facilities.


  • HFE opens the Park for public use on weekends.


  • HFE members participate on a citizen’s committee appointed by the Legislature to develop the General Plan for the State Park.


  • CHSP declared an official California State Park by the California State Park and Recreation Commission.


  • An important ridgeline parcel in Yorba Linda is purchased.


  • HFE supports Proposition 70 which passes and provides further funding for acquisition of parkland.


  • Toll roads first proposed for Chino Hills area.


  • The need for and value of Wildlife Corridors was first reported in local papers.


  • Two important ridgeline parcels are purchased: (1) the “drive–in” access to the State Park in Chino HIlls, and (2) the second highest ridge in the Park in Brea.


  • Park supporters fight off an effort by Yorba Linda to use State Park ridgeline land for a High School.


  • Open space advocates begin to join forces throughout the Puente-Chino Hills.


  • Scientific conference highlighting natural resources of the Puente-Chino Hills is held at Whittier College.


  • The Wildlife Corridor Conservation Authority (WCCA) is formed. Membership includes the cities of Whittier, La Habra Heights, Diamond Bar and Brea, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, two public members and, as an ex officio member, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


  • Shell Oil sells 1,100 acres to the State Park north of Carbon Canyon Road so that the State Park now abuts a fourth county: Los Angeles County.
  • In formal ceremonies, HFE recognizes leadership of Republican Senator Ross Johnson and thanks him for his dedication to establishing the State Park.


  • The first $1 million in funding for Coal Canyon is approved as a Member Request. Eight legislators in the Puente-Chino Hills including four Democrats and four Republicans, five Assembly Members and three Senators work together to bring funding to the region.


  • The second successful Member Request brings another $3 million in funding for Coal Canyon.


  • The third successful Member Request brings another $2 million in funding for Coal Canyon.


  • All of the government and private funds are assembled from 12 different sources. The Coal Canyon parcel south of the Riverside (91) Freeway in Anaheim is purchased from developer Steve St. Clair who had planned to build 1550 houses on the land.


  • State Park purchases the Mancha parcel, the land north of the Riverside (91) Freeway in Yorba Linda, thereby completing the acquisition of the Coal Canyon Wildlife Corridor.


  • Application for funding for purchase of the “Missing Middle” by the Department of Fish and Wildlife is initiated.
  • Turnbull Canyon in Whittier is bought and saved after a nine year battle.
  • Caltrans begins removal of the on and off ramps at Coal Canyon on the Riverside (91) Freeway to restore it as a Wildlife Corridor between the Cleveland National Forest in the Santa Ana Mountains and the Puente-Chino Hills.


  • HFE begins working as a strategic partner with Brea, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Whittier, Rowland Heights, and Hacienda Heights to coordinate an effort to save critical land in the hills. This resulted in scientific polling in the region and a monetary commitment by the communities to educate the public about the process and prospects for preservation.


  • We assisted in the formation of the Hillside Open Space Education Coalition (HOSEC), a cooperative preservation effort between the cities of Whittier, La Habra, La Habra Heights, and Brea and the unincorporated communities of Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights.
  • The Great Earth Walk brought over 300 participants hiking into the hills.
  • Thousands of signatures were delivered to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe expressing opposition to the Shell-Aera project which proposes building 3,600 housing units on the undeveloped ridgelines along the 57 freeway.
  • Thousands of postcards were sent to Shell Oil Company urging it to sell its 3,000 acres in the Puente-Chino Hills for conservation.


  • HFE facilitated the funding of, and then reviewed, edited, and publicized the release of the report entitled “Maintaining Ecological Connectivity Across the ‘Missing Middle’ of the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor” by the Conservation Biology Institute.
  • 322 acres were added to Chino Hills State Park on the eastern side of the Park.
  • With residents throughout the hills, HFE held “Rallies for the Ridgelines” on Fridays at 12 different intersections throughout the hills holding signs that directed people to the new website


  • Representing dozens of environmental groups, HFE participated on the team negotiating with the Orange County Transportation Authority over Renewed Measure M, the extension of the sales tax that funds transportation projects. We successfully “called out” $243.5 million in funds to be used for mitigation of impacts on natural lands caused by freeway projects proposed in Renewed Measure M. The measure was passed by voters in November 2006.
  • After a nearly 30-year effort to protect ridgelines above Aliso Canyon from the intrusion of houses in Yorba Linda, these ridgelines were protected with the addition of 1,262 acres dedicated to Chino Hills State Park.


  • HFE released the DVD “Saving Open Space II” by Dr. Bill Kowalik. This update tells the story of our efforts to protect the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor and features State Historian Dr. Kevin Starr. Nearly 5,000 copies were distributed free of charge.
  • HFE supported the City of Brea’s revocation of the overly aggressive outdated Carbon Canyon Specific Plan. Passed in 1985, this Plan originally called for 2,260 dwelling units in this steep rural area. When taking into consideration the slope and soil instability, the allowable number of dwelling units was reduced to a more appropriate number of approximately 220 units.


  • When Metropolitan Water District proposed an access road through the State Park and into Telegraph Canyon and the California Department of Parks and Recreation supported this project in exchange for $1.6 million in funding, HFE filed suit. Ultimately a settlement agreement was reached which will result in additional parkland for the State Park.
  • As the destructive Canyon Crest project worked its way through the environmental review and approval process, we organized and guided efforts to oppose the 367 unit project proposed on a ridge top deep in Carbon Canyon in the City of Brea. It would have bulldozed 1,899 oak and walnut trees. The November 2008 Freeway Complex Fire burned the entire project site and stalled the project.


  • Seeking to lessen the impact of high power transmission lines through the State Park, HFE became engaged in a public hearing process before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC eventually ordered Southern California Edison to remove nearly seven miles of deactivated and obsolete lines and poles.
  • After the Freeway Complex Fire burned 30,000 acres in the hills, including 95% of the State Park, HFE coordinated efforts and obtained grants to permanently remove the invasive and highly flammable Arundo donax plant that had clogged Carbon Creek for decades. Numerous agencies stepped up including: California Department of Parks and Recreation (Chino Hills State Park), CalTrans, Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council, Chino Valley Fire District, City of Brea, Brea Fire Department, Santa Ana River and Orange County Weed Management Area, and Santa Ana Watershed Association.


  • As part of the Environmental Mitigation Program within the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Renewed Measure M, a coveted 296-acre parcel visible  as you enter Carbon Canyon from the Brea side, was permanently preserved as mitigation.  It abuts Chino Hills State Park.


  • After two years of research and planning, HFE released a 100 Year Fire Study for lands near Chino Hills State Park.  It documents 103 fires that started in/near the State Park.


  • After numerous comment letters and testimony, HFE led a team of volunteers in presentations to the Brea City Council about the dangerous Madrona project, formerly Canyon Crest.  When the City Council approved the project 4-1, HFE filed suit along with Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, California Native Plant Society and Sierra Club.
  • Together with residents, numerous fundraisers have been held to pay the legal bills associated with this lawsuit.


  • Guided Yorba Linda residents in challenging dangerous hillside projects next to the State Park.
  • Convinced the City of Chino Hills to leave in place its zoning that only allows one unit per 40 acres in the southeastern portion of the City next to the State Park.


  • Continued litigation against the Madrona project in Brea and won in Superior Court.
  • Litigated the Esperanza Hills project in the County of Orange and won in Superior Court.
  • Received approval for all undeveloped and unprotected lands in the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor to be eligible for funding from the state.


  • Continued to defend our lawsuit victory against Madrona (winning at the Appellate level)and developing the financial support to see it through.
  • Litigated the Esperanza Hills project in the County of Orange and won in the Appellate Court.


  • After 18 years of battling this wasteful and dangerous project, we won Madrona lawsuit and the City of Brea was required to revoke all approvals.
  • Commemorated the 10 year anniversary of the Freeway Complex Fire.


  • Released the updated Fire Study of the Chino Hills State Park revealing a near 50% increase in the number of fires/fire starts.
  • Celebrated the adoption of the update of the Los Angeles General Plan which increased the restriction on development in Significant Ecological Areas (SEA) including expansion of the Puente Hills SEA.
  • Supported the transformation of the Tres Hermanos Conservation Authority in which the Cities of Industry, Chino Hills, and Diamond Bar have pledged to keep it as open space.


  • Facilitated the preservation of 320 acres of ridgeline land on the eastern edge of the State Park using state and federal funds.
  • Convinced the County of Orange to include wildlife monitoring as it studied the expansion of Brea Canyon Road.


  • Signed SB 266, which requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept 1,531 acres of adjacent land and which includes desired acquisitions, into law.
  • Facilitated the preservation of 410 acres, which is now owned and managed by our partner, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. We are seeking funding to buy the remaining 800 acres.  All of the land will then be transferred to State Parks in one transaction.