Torrey Pines park will need support


Now that the state budget has been signed and state officials are sending up flares that next year likely may not be much of an improvement, it looks like there will be more calls for local support for things such as parks, beaches and schools.

Of particular note is our landmark Torrey Pines State Beach and Natural Reserve.

While officials are still trying to figure out how to stretch the dollars that they will receive, they are already talking with other agencies, corporations and individuals to figure out ways to supplement the limited resources.

The popular park at this point appears unlikely to be closed, but services could still be curtailed and groups such as the Torrey Pines Association and the Torrey Pines Docent Society are contemplating what they can do to lend a hand.

The only way to ensure that state parks will remain operational for years to come may mean rethinking the whole system - relying on local revenue sources and thinking of state funding as supplemental at best.

The land for the park was set aside by San Diego at the urging of George Marston and botanists David Cleveland and Belie Angler. The park was created by a city ordinance in 1899, but the rare Torrey pines were not protected by the ordinance.

Seeing the need to do more to protect the park and preserve its trees, Ellen Browning Scripps acquired two additional lots and willed them to the people of San Diego.

In 1916, she spearheaded the effort to further preserve the area by appointing a park custodian to watch over the park.

The city’s leadership at that time paired with Scripps’ philanthropy and ability to see the need to preserve our natural wonders serves as inspiration - particularly now.

Were it not for Scripps’ leadership and the public’s ability to embrace her vision, the park would be just another swath of prime real estate - inaccessible to the general public - and the days of Torrey pines could have been numbered.

Instead, we have an incredible resource, entrusted to us to protect and preserve.

The park is a great place to visit, provides countless educational opportunities and preserves an incredible part of coast.

Local government and residents made the park what it is today. State funding has maintained it for decades. We encourage state officials with park oversight to consider what may seem like a dreadful option - raising fees instead of cutting hours or services. We think people will pay a little more for this precious resource.

And along that line, we know that we - in the form of local agencies, area businesses and individuals - will need to step up again to ensure our natural reserves are maintained in the coming years.

We encourage you to consider adding the parks you enjoy to the causes you support and pay Torrey Pines a visit while you’re at it. You won’t regret it and you’ll be contributing to its longevity. You might also be inspired to give a little for the future of the park.