Dictionary Hill
Open Space Advocates

Do you have a question or a suggestion?

Please call Sonya or Chris at (619) 461-1586, or click here to email your questions.  

1. What is DHOSA’s “vision” for Dictionary Hill?  What use for the land does DHOSA propose?

Our vision for Dictionary Hill is that it be designated as an ecological preserve.  This would save this valuable open space, protect endangered species and their habitat, and maintain Dictionary Hill for the shared enjoyment of the area’s residents.

Fortunately, after many years of promoting public acquisition of the site, DHOSA succeeded in persuading the County of San Diego to buy the land as part of its Multiple Species Preservation Program. The County saved most of the hill in December, 2017, creating the 175-acre Dictionary Hill Open Space Preserve.
2.  What is the present status of Dictionary Hill?

Over much of the past three decades, new subdivisions and far too many apartment complexes have urbanized Spring Valley, leaving Dictionary Hill as a major open space "island" in the community.

The last failed proposal from a developer called for 211 units to be built in a gated community on top of Dictionery Hill - but only after 35 feet was dynamited off to create a level building site. DHOSA and other community groups strongly opposed this plan for several years; eventually the developer defaulted on their loan and lost the property. 

Dictionary Hill was preserved by the County Board of Supervisors with a unanimous vote November 17, 2017!!!  The County purchased 175 acres for an appraised value of $5.4 million and added the land to the County's Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP). DHOSA is now a partner with the County Parks and Recreation Department in monitoring activities in the new preserve and planning the development of interpretative trails and measures to revegetate disturbed areas and protect the plants, wildlife and natural habitat of this unique place.
3.  What are the “unique” plants, animals, and habitat that DHOSA wants to preserve?

Dictionary Hill Summit and the surrounding ridges and canyons are home to some of the last remaining Coastal Sage Scrub Habitat existing within San Diego’s urban boundary.  As such, it is home to a large number of extremely rare plants and animals, and is considered by many Botanists and Zoologists to be at the top of species diversity, a “hot spot” for the entire United States.  To read more about this amazing place (only a few miles from where most of us live), please click here. 
4.  I love to hike.  Are there hiking trails on Dictionary Hill?

Our hiking trails are one of the greatest treasures in our community. Right in the heart of Spring Valley, our citizens can go for beautiful hikes, enjoy the wildlife, and experience incredible 360 degree views overlooking the ocean, the islands, downtown San Diego, Cowles Mountain, Sweetwater Lake, Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, and Mexico.  This is truly a treasure to value, preserve, and cherish. County Parks personnel are still preparing a master resource plan for the preserve and identifying official trails for improvement. 
5.  What kind of support does DHOSA have in the Spring Valley community?

Our organization was originally named Lookout Mountain Advocates (LOMA).  To better describe our mission, we changed our name to Dictionary Hill Open Space Advocates (DHOSA).  We began in 2005 as a neighborhood group of a few dozen citizens who live in proximity to Dictionary Hill and adjacent to Bancroft Creek Canyon.  The all-volunteer organization has become a local watchdog and educational resource on the potential negative impacts of proposed development as well as an active proponent of public acquisition of the site.

DHOSA has also sponsored numereous well attended canyon hikes in partnership with the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and other organizations to help draw attention to the need for preserving open space and natural habitat. We have also participated in Spring Valley Clean Up Days, focusing on removal of illegally dumped debris from the Dictionary Hill area.  In return, DHOSA has enjoyed excellent support from the community.
6.  I don’t have much time, but I’d like to help.  What can I do?

You are already helping by learning about this critical community issue on this web site. Before the pandemic, DHOSA held regular monthly meetings at 9:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month at the Hatfield Clubhouse of the Rancho San Diego Homeowners Association (10050 Austin Drive). Now we have virtual Zoom meetings on the same schedule. Your time and skills will be welcomed in helping to spread the word locally about the  preserve. For more information, please click here to contact us.