Now in its 20th year, the association is celebrating its anniversary with a new name - the Southern California Mountains Foundation.
The association's name also was inadequate because it did not encompass the nonprofit's expanding scope.
Sarah Miggins, the executive director of the Southern California Mountains Foundation, said the name will bring a clearer identity to people's mind.
The idea behind the mountains foundation was to encompass all the public spaces that people enjoy in the mountains, she said.
"Our volunteers also come from San Diego, Santa Barbara and Riverside counties just to be here, and we wanted to embrace the entire community," Miggins said.
"This is unlike any other Southern California National Forest - it's the most urban of all, accessible to more than 30 million people," Miggins said.
"It takes a lot of care and helping hands to conserve this amazing natural resource."
On March 21, a celebration and fundraiser is planned at the Elks Lodge, 2055 Elks Drive, San Bernardino.
The event, from 5 to 9 p.m., will include a reception, dinner, no-host bar, silent auction, program and a speaker.
The new foundation has already worked with city, county, state and federal
"I see us as a broker between the beautiful spaces and the agencies. We can help coordinate and train volunteer services," Miggins said.
"We're celebrating 20 years of work in public lands service," Miggins said. "Our volunteers truly are the backbone of our organization."
Those volunteers are the ones who help the Forest Service, and state, county and city parks with the services the foundation provides.
On Wednesday, a crew of 11 Inland Empire Urban Conservation Corps members raked and cleaned the grounds of San Bernardino's 44-acre Seccombe Lake Park.
The Urban Conservation Corps of the Inland Empire, made up of inner-city youths, is one of the largest programs of the Southern California Mountains Foundation.
Corps members, recruited through word of mouth, work on projects including emergency response, natural resource protection, forest restoration, park maintenance, community revitalization, recycling and tree planting, according to Bobby Vega, deputy director of the Conservation Corps.
"It's a very unique program for youth from diverse backgrounds, ages 18 to 25. Many don't have high school diplomas or work experience, but we make education, work-force training and personal development high priorities," Vega said.
Alan Scott Zucco, 19, of Yucaipa, is a Corps member.
"I've been here about a year getting job experience - everything you can think of. If it weren't for this job, I wouldn't be working. I really like it. Hopefully, the community will get involved," Zucco said.
"For years, this park has been an eyesore, but what we are doing here is changing perception," Vega said. "When perception changes, the attitude of the community changes. People ask, `Why do we have the dirtiest park in the city?' But not for long. We're going to restore this park, and it will be a community restoration project because the community will benefit as well."
Future plans for the city park include an interpretive trail and paddleboats and kayaks on the lake.
Schools will be among the foundation's community partners, but more are needed.
"We want to make it so the local kids have somewhere to go on the weekends," he said.
Reach Michel via email, find her on Twitter @michelnolan, or call her at 909-386-3859.