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East County News Service

 December 4, 2022 (San Marcos) – The battle to protect nearly 2,000 acres in San Diego’s North County from development is over. Two years after voters approved ballot Measure B to block construction of the controversial Newland Sierra housing project previously approved by San Diego’s Board of Supervisors, one of the project’s leading opponents, Golden Door spa, has acquired the property to preserve it as open space and wildlife habitat for generations to come. 

 “We are excited to finally secure this remarkable benefit for climate action initiatives,” said Kathy Van Ness, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Door.  “Protecting this property reflects our deep commitment to sustainability, which we believe is part of our responsibility to our community and beyond.  Caring for the incredible resources on this site is a way we can truly contribute to our shared climate action goals.”

 Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, applauded this unique win-win opportunity for the region.

“This acquisition is poised to create lasting, meaningful positive impacts on climate action and sustainability in the San Diego region, supporting the North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP),” said Fletcher. “There are very few examples anywhere of a land purchase of this magnitude for the purpose of environmental protection.  It is truly extraordinary that Golden Door made this happen in San Diego County, helping advance the work our County is doing to create a healthier future for our residents, including our wildlife and habitat, and our planet.”

The acquisition to preserve Newland Sierra is a victory for environmentalists, neighbors, and county residents who took unprecedented actions to preserve the vast tract of open space for posterity.

 The potential development of the Newland property had garnered much attention from environmental groups that are pleased with the purchase by Golden Door. 

 “This is the most successful conclusion to years of uncertainty for this important resource, historically known as Merriam Mountains, and brings great hope for the future,” said Dan Silver, Executive Director of Endangered Habitats League. “Golden Door has been a tireless advocate and now the stage is set to move forward with the critically important Multiple Species Conservation Plan for wildlife protection in North County.”

 The property purchase was completed in November 2022.  The Golden Door’s immediate goal is to begin the process of selecting a highly qualified land stewardship organization to help care for the critical open space, wildlife and habitat areas of this property consistent with Golden Door’s commitment to sustainability and climate action.

 “As a neighbor here in San Marcos, this has been a long-awaited moment to celebrate.” said Tony Eason, a resident in Deer Springs Oak Estates, an age-restricted mobile home community. “North County residents are heavily committed to the protection of our natural habitats here. We are beyond ecstatic that Golden Door’s purchase secures and strengthens environmental benefits for all of us.”

Golden Door donates 100 percent of its net profits to philanthropic causes, including helping to end child abuse and transform young lives. For more information, you can visit Golden Door at



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Great news

It's so nice to hear some good news for the environment. Thank you to Golden Door Spa.

highest and best use

An appraiser considers only commercial value, the return on an investment, when valuing real property to determine its “highest and best use.” That's wrong, because often the highest and best use is what Golden Door spa has recognized: to preserve it as open space and wildlife habitat for generations to come. . .Just leave it alone, don't ruin it, we've done enough of that.