Beginning in 1989, the San Dieguito River Park envisioned a 55-mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail from Volcan Mountain near Julian to the beach at Del Mar. Over the past 21 years, park officials have completed about 35 miles of the trail, along with another five miles of side trails, and other projects such as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Lake Hodges and lagoon restoration projects.
The San Dieguito River Park is currently in a budget crisis, as is best summarized by a SignOnSanDiego article by Logan Jenkins (from June 2010):
Briefly, the facts are these:
Through no fault of its own, the river park, the 55-mile dream-in-progress, is being squeezed in a financial vise.
[…]the city of San Diego […] has turned out its pockets and declared that it cannot make good on its annual contribution of $254,000 to the river park’s operating budget.
Though residents living within the city’s northern reaches (e.g. Fairbanks Ranch or Rancho Bernardo) receive immediate benefits from the park’s proximity, San Diego is stiffing the region for its portion of the bill.
The disgraceful freeloader can contemplate the funding of a fancy downtown city library. It can link arms with the Chargers and scheme to build a downtown stadium. But it cannot fulfill its moral obligation, leaving North County’s natural treasure in the lurch.
As it stands, the river park, run by a joint powers authority comprising five cities — San Diego, Escondido, Poway, Del Mar and Solana Beach — is not unlike countless companies, public agencies and nonprofits facing revenue shortfalls and deep layoffs.
A week ago, during a tense meeting, the JPA board met to consider what to do to avoid gutting the river park’s staff of 11.
It ended up that Executive Director of the SDRP, Dick Bobertz, offered to retire and work for free to help save the park. That kind of passion, if it spreads to San Diego’s citizens, can go a long way in helping save the park.
If you’d like to help, contact or donate to the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. You can make a difference.
Among other areas, people can experience Lake Hodges, San Pasqual Valley, and Volcan Mountain Preserve.
Features: Wildlife, Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Horseback Trails, Picnic Grounds
Peaks: Bernardo Mountain, Crane Peak, Volcan Mountain, and many unnamed peaks.