The San Dieguito River Park is very unique in not only the diverse ecosystems that occupy the park, from coastal wetlands to oak woodlands, but also because of its multi-jurisdictional management areas. The park itself maintains open space in the County of San Diego as well as the cities of Del Mar, Escondido, Poway, San Diego, and Solana Beach. Due to this expanse of differing government entities, the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (or JPA) was established in June of 1989 and is comprised of two elected officials each from the County and City of San Diego and one elected official from each of the remaining cities the park encompasses. This newly created board wound up being so effective that in 1996 a Grand Jury report concluded that the San Dieguito River Park JPA should be used as a model for other multi-jurisdictional preservation efforts. It was also the same year in 1996 that this JPA entity would manifest itself globally through establishing the San Dieguito River Park website- adding to the minuscule 100,000 individual websites online at that time.
The goal of the JPA is to preserve and restore land within the Focused Planning Area of the River Park through protecting natural waterways and the natural and cultural resources and sensitive lands and provide compatible recreational opportunities, including water related uses, that do not damage sensitive lands. One of the recreational components is creating and maintaining multi-use trail networks for walking, equestrian, and bicycle usage. In 1996, the River Park constructed and opened to the public the Piedras Pintadas interpretive trail loop to provide users with a glimpse into the native Kumeyaay past way of life. The trail name itself, meaning “painted rocks”, pays tribute to the remarkable rock art that was created in the Rancho Bernardo area by the Kumeyaay some 500 to 1000 years ago.
Coinciding with many recreational opportunities, the River Park actively acquires land for open space preservation- thereby ensuring that land will never be used for urban development. In 1996, the state granted the County of San Diego $90,000 to be used for procuring 40 acres of land in Boden Canyon. Also, in the same year, the County purchased 120 acres of land on Volcan Mountain to be set aside as open space for future generations of trail goers to enjoy. Those adventurous to hike the somewhat strenuous pair of trails on Volcan will be taken to its summit and rewarded with sweeping views of Earthquake Valley and the Salton Sea.
Park Ranger, San Dieguito River Park JPA