Developer, cyclists connect to build new Del Mar Mesa trail

The San Diego Mountain Bike Association (SDMBA) and Pardee Homes celebrated the completion of a unique collaborative trail effort on on May 17. A group gathered at the new trailhead in Del Mar Mesa, off Del Mar Mesa Road and Del Vino in the new Alta Del Mar community, for a ribbon cutting and trail dedication.

Those in attendance included Susie Murphy, executive director of SDMBA, Allen Kashani, director of project management from Pardee Homes, Ben Stone, vice president of SDMBA, and Kyle Heiskala, representing San Diego City Council President Sherri Lightner’s office.

“The great thing about working with Allen and Pardee Homes was that it allowed us to make a nature-based trail with developers, which hasn’t been done in San Diego,” Murphy said.

Rather than being anti-development or forging illegal trails, Murphy said she hopes others will follow their trailblazing efforts, working with developers to create more quality “neighborhood to nature” trails.

A collection of mountain bikers were anxious to ride after the ceremony was complete, coasting down the slight incline through brush and blooming wildflowers, disappearing under a canopy of trees.

As trail building projects go, this one was considered “lightning fast,” Murphy said. SDMBA and Pardee began initial discussions and planning in November. More than 60 volunteers helped work on the trail during a work day on Feb. 27, led by the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Subaru Trail Care Crew. There were three more organized work days but Murphy acknowledged the tireless work of Ben Stone and Rich Julian, who spent many hours working to finish the trail on week days during the last few months. She estimated in all, it was about 400 hours of work with 70 individuals working on the trail.

“We’re thrilled that it came together so quickly,” Murphy said.

SDMBA has nicknamed the new one-half mile trail “The Appendix.”

The new trail alignment is close to an area once home to “The Intestines,” a popular system of trails that was closed when Pardee began work on the Alta Del Mar development in 2008. The trail will provide connectivity to the Cobbles Trail via the crossing under Carmel Mountain Road. The single-track, three-foot-wide path hugs close to the trees, providing the more “intimate” trail experience that people like, Murphy said. The multi-use trail is meant for the enjoyment of cyclists, hikers, trail runners, equestrians and neighbors.

Murphy said the trail is a great asset for the community to have right in their own backyard — she said open space is a free amenity that has been shown to raise property values as well as the quality of life of residents.

SDMBA recently received a grant from REI and its future plans include continuing to work on Black Mountain trails and San Dieguito River Park trails in Julian. Pardee Homes also contributed $5,000 donation to SDMBA as part of their continuing partnership.

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