2003 marked my third year working for the San Dieguito River Park. I started out in 2000 working as a contracted Ranger Aide/ Maintenance worker and progressed to a full time Ranger later that year. As the park continued to grow and purchase the land needed to build the Coast to Crest Trail, we were hard at work putting those trail segments together. The Mule Hill, Raptor Ridge, and San Pasqual Valley trail segments were completed the previous year, and the public was enjoying every bit of the newly built 10 miles of trail. 2003 also marked the year that the State of California added the San Dieguito River Park Coast to Crest Trail as an official California Trail Corridor in the State Recreational Trails Plan.
An additional 193 acres of habitat properties at Sycamore Creek in Poway as well as Volcan Mtn. in the Julian area were preserved through acquisition by the River Park at this time. Other habitat properties were also purchased in partnership with the County of San Diego. On the historic preservation side of things, the park was finishing the restoration of the Sikes Adobe Farmhouse. In turn, the park would receive awards for outstanding achievement and significant contributions to historic preservation from the California Preservation Foundation and the Save Our Heritage Organization.
The River Park embarked on another new project in August of 2003, with the volunteer assistance of the employees of the engineering firm Montgomery, Watson, Harza (MWH). The project was to convert an existing wood agricultural building (the Strawberry Stand) that was located next to Via de la Valle into a temporary interpretive kiosk. The site where this structure was located would be the site of a permanent River Park Nature Center someday in the future. The temporary structure utilized materials that would be re-used in the future permanent Nature Center. Funding for the project was provided by 3rd District County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and other private donations. The site that the Strawberry Stand once stood just broke ground a couple of weeks ago to build the newest addition to the park, the Coastal Ranger Station, in which we hope will be open later this year.
Senior Park Ranger/ Trails Manager, San Dieguito River Park JPA