The Walker family has been a part of the City of Santee since it was little more than a settlement. In 1926, Frederick and Marie Walker established the Walker Dairy. Generations of the family thrived on the land alongside endangered and threatened birds including Bell's vireo, southwestern willow flycatcher, and California gnatcatcher. At various times, local skydivers, hunting clubs, and trail runners all used the Walker property for outdoor activities—knowing that if the land was sold and developed, community access would likely end.
Over time, the Walker family scattered, and all that was left was the land—a vibrant, green oasis surrounded by development. Family matriarch Evalyn Walker Hanlon—Lakeside Rodeo Queen of 1939—knew she wanted the land to stay wild. After her passing, her children and their cousins worked with The Trust for Public Land to protect these 107 acres along the San Diego River for the public to enjoy. The City of Santee will develop it as a key link in the multi-use San Diego River Park trail system, envisioned to one day run from the headwaters of the San Diego River to the ocean.
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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects. You’ll find some of our favorite places on the map below.