The Lakes Division operates over 4500 acres of open space area including the City's two lake facilities, Dixon Lake and Lake Wohlford, and the Daley Ranch open space preserve. The Lakes Division supervises the citywide park ranger program.
Dixon Lake is located in the northern Escondido hills and offers fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking. Dixon Lake is open year-round. Gates open at 6:00 a.m. daily; park closes at dusk. Night fishing is available during the summer months. Dixon Lake is stocked with 34,000 lbs. of trout and 13,000 lbs. of catfish annually. Contact Park Ranger at 760-839-4680 for further information.
Lake Wohlford is located in northeastern Escondido and offers fishing. Lake Wohlford is open from mid-December to early September seven days a week, and from early September to mid-December on Saturdays and Sundays. Fishing hours are 6:00 a.m. to dusk. Lake Wohlford is stocked with 25,000 lbs. of trout and 7,000 lbs. of catfish annually. Contact Park Ranger at 760-839-4346 for further information.
Park Ranger Program
Through the park ranger program, the division provides a wide range of outdoor education, student outreach programs and recreational services. Staffing is maintained seven days a week for fishing and camping operations, trail construction, maintenance and park development within the Lakes and Daley Ranch areas.
Park rangers also provide security patrol and medical emergency response to park locations citywide. On Fridays and weekends when City Hall is closed, rangers patrol the nine parks in the downtown area.
In 1998, the division expanded these operations through the development of two volunteer programs. Trained and supervised by the ranger staff, volunteers on mountain bikes and horseback patrol the backcountry trails of Daley Ranch assisting visitors. In addition, rangers and volunteer naturalists provide a wide range of nature programs for individuals and groups. Other groups such as Friends of Daley Ranch, horseback riding clubs and Boy Scouts also contribute to planned improvements at Daley Ranch.
In 1996, a 3,058-acre parcel of San Diego's native ecosystems was purchased and reserved in perpetuity for the citizens of North County. It has become a haven for horseback riders, mountain bikers, hikers and nature lovers. A visit to Daley Ranch offers the scent of California sagebrush, the call of a brown towhee, and the majesty of San Diego's endangered Engelmann oak woodlands in an atmosphere of tranquility.
The City of Escondido Public Works Lakes Division administers Daley Ranch. Daley Ranch Naturalists, the volunteer interpretive program of Public Works Lakes Division, began in 1998. Rangers and supervisors felt it was important to establish a program to interpret Daley Ranch's natural, cultural and historical resources for ranch visitors. It is believed that through understanding the Ranch's ecology and history visitors will gain an appreciation for those resources, and through appreciation they will strive to protect the land. Daley Ranch programs are currently funded out of the Lakes Division's budget.
Formal training of 15 Naturalist trainees was started in September with each trainee required to attend a total of 45 hours in workshops conducted Saturday mornings for two months. Experts and specialist instructors volunteered their time to teach in areas of Geography, Geology, Ornithology, Botany, Ethnobotany, Native American History, Wildlife/Tracking, and Daley Ranch History. In addition to resource instruction Naturalists were given park orientation and training on radio use, CPR and first aid procedures, and interpretive and speaking techniques. Experts and specialists contributed 36 hours in instruction. In its first year of service, a total of 18 Naturalists were trained.