Celebrating 20 years of the San Dieguito River Park

Shhhhhh. There is huge park in your backyard. We’d like to tell you a bit about it, invite you to enjoy it this fall and join us in an anniversary celebration this October.

The San Dieguito River Park is a jewel in North County, offering opportunities for all ages to enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, birding, boating and more. The planning area of the park extends along the 55-mile corridor of the river, from Volcan Mountain to the ocean. Importantly, at 94,000 acres, it encompasses more than one-third of the watershed and is a model of resource protection on a regional scale.

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy is a nonprofit with 1,200 members that has worked for more than two decades to help make the San Dieguito River Park a reality through land acquisition and citizen involvement. Today, two-thirds of the park’s planning area is protected in public ownership. Current priorities also include completing the Coast-to-Crest Trail, invasives control and restoring habitat with hard-working volunteers. We can only do this vital work with many partners and continuing member support.

Spearheaded by local residents, the River Park was promoted to protect the San Dieguito River Valley from the urbanization that occurred in Mission Valley and Orange County. One tremendous highlight of this vision is the $86 million Wetlands Restoration Project at the San Dieguito Lagoon that the surrounding community has been watching unfold with great interest. As the restoration project winds down, the next goal is an interpretive center at Via de la Valle and San Andres Drive. The public can view initial design plans and provide input at

Preservation of the lagoon and river valley has long been the dream of the founders of the conservancy, and 2009 has been a wonderful anniversary year for the park, with the dedications of the Grand Avenue viewing platform and the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge plus ongoing recovery from the 2007 fires.

To celebrate the Wetlands Restoration Project and many other milestones along the way, the conservancy is hosting a 1920s lawn party on Oct. 11. Visit for more information.

We also invite you to join the conservancy and see what your contributions accomplish by enjoying the trails, volunteering or just relaxing in your favorite spot in the River Park. For trail maps, volunteer opportunities and guided hikes, visit our Web sites. See you out in the River Park!

Bill Proffer, president; Tom Golich, past president; and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy board of directors.