More than 60 volunteers came out on Feb. 27 to work on a valuable trail improvement in Del Mar Mesa, a collaboration between Pardee Homes and the San Diego Mountain Bike Association (SDMBA).
“This the first time that SDMBA has partnered with Pardee Homes, or any developer, on a trail project. With development happening in all parts of San Diego County, we hope we can continue to work with developers to create quality, sustainable natural trails for their communities,” said Susie Murphy, executive director of SDMBA. “Pardee Homes has been fully involved in the process of planning and building this trail. We applaud their efforts and thank them for being a leader in this area.”
A second work day with SDMBA volunteers was held on March 12 and volunteers will continue to log work hours midweek with a target completion in April.
The one-half-mile trail, located in the canyon south of Duck Pond Lane and north of Equestrian Ridge Court in Del Mar Mesa, will provide connectivity to the Cobbles Trail via the crossing under Carmel Mountain Road. 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.
“I used to ride those trails at least weekly and it was a great trail,” said Paul Wyandt, a member of the SDMBA who volunteered to help with the improvements. “The new trail is a better alignment and far more sustainable now.”
SDMBA has nicknamed the new trail “The Appendix.”
“Thiis trail is beneficial for this community in many ways, as are all trails. This trail is helping to establish a legal option in an area once well known for an abundance of routes,” Murphy said. “ This connector will also link areas separated by urban development and is a multi-use trail for the enjoyment of cyclists, hikers, trail runners, equestrians and neighbors.”
The Appendix portion connects with the “Cobbles,” the descent into the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, “if you go down you go straight to the waterfall,” Wyandt said.
“The design of the trail goes through the scrub trees, which has a similar feel to the tunnel trails that have been chipped away at over the last few years,” Wyandt said. “It’s a single-track, three-foot wide path that hugs close to the trees and under a canopy in threes in a few spots…it’s a much more interesting trail than just the average decomposed granite path.”
The Alta Del Mar Mesa Homeowners Association will become the steward of the trail upon completion, according to Allen Kashani, director of project management for Pardee Homes.
“Creation of the trail segment was approved as part of Pardee Homes’ Alta Del Mar community and will enhance trail access in the area for residents,” Kashani said. “Pardee is known for developing communities that emphasize trail access, open space, habitat preservation and protection of wildlife corridors, and we were excited to work with the San Diego Mountain Biking Association to enhance and improve access to the trail system, an initiative we hope will offer benefits for the community for years to come.”
Experienced trail builders from the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew were on hand on Feb. 26-27 to teach proper trail building techniques and help with the extension.
The Trail Care Crew includes a full-time, professional team of trail experts who travel the country year-round leading trail building schools and working with government officials and land managers to improve local mountain biking opportunities.
IMBA’s visit to San Diego included a presentation on Feb. 26 about better living through trails and a classroom session for volunteers. The crew helped volunteers learn about sustainable trail building techniques that work to create a lasting trail that requires minimal maintenance.
Volunteers included mountain bikers from SDMBA, some equestrians and hikers — even some trail developers visiting from Oregon and Washington helped out on the large Feb. 27 work day. Pardee provided funding for the work and lunch for the workers.
A developer and a trail user group working together on a project is an ideal partnership, Wyandt said.
“(User groups) used to have a more anti-development stance. Now they realize that you can work with the developer and get them to recognize the values of trails and the benefits and features of single-track trails as opposed to wide, uninspiring trails (like service roads),” Wyandt said.
In taking more of an integrative approach, he said user groups can have an influence on mitigations for trails that may be taken away for development and on building more trails, he said.
“We’re excited to partner in legal, legitimate trails that will be maintained and that we will continue to have access to,” Wyandt said.