The Cleveland National Forest Foundation is a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the plants, animals and other natural resources of Southern California mountains by protecting the land and water they need to survive.
Few areas in North America display the concentration of plants and animals as diverse as those found in Cleveland National Forest. The chaparral, meadows and pine-oak woodlands that grace the mountains and foothills are especially rich in unique species.
President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress established Cleveland National Forest in 1906 to protect this mountainous area of Southern California. Since that time, civilization rose around all sides of this wilderness province, and the original national forest boundaries enclosing two million acres diminished to a modern-day area of 650,000.
One by one, unique wildlife and plants disappeared, including the California condor, grizzly bear, black bear, long-eared kit fox and pronghorn antelope. Today, many of the remaining plants and animals of Cleveland National Forest are threatened by urban development: puma, mule deer, golden eagle, bald eagle, California spotted owl, pond turtle, San Diego thornmint and many more mammals, reptiles, butterflies and plants. Large areas of open land are critical for their survival. The forest provides valuable watershed and grazing areas and on its mountains are found two world-class observatories.