In 2004, San Dieguito River Park had 15 years experience building relationships, achieving goals to preserve, restore and acquire land, and establish 55 miles of trail for public recreation throughout the 92,000 acres of the focused planning area between Julian and Del Mar.
The most outstanding accomplishment of 2004 was the purchase and protection of 73 acres along the San Dieguito River. The San Dieguito River Park and The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation group, purchased the land adjacent to the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration Project. The land acquisition closed a critical gap in the 70 mile Coast to Crest Trail and enhanced the protection of the San Dieguito Lagoon, one of San Diego County’s remaining coastal wetlands.
In June 2004, San Dieguito River Park celebrated the grand opening of the Strawberry Stand Wetland Learning Center on Via De La Valle. The Strawberry Stand Kiosk Conversion project began in August 2003. The project was accomplished through the efforts of volunteers from an engineering firm, (Montgomery, Watson, Harza), local architects (Todd Rinehart and Catherine Herbst), landscape architect (Lane Goodkind), and graphic artist (Lisa Baldwin). The project was to convert an existing wood agricultural building and local landmark (the Strawberry Stand on Via de la Valle) into a community center for environmental education, which would focus on the 400 acre San Dieguito Lagoon and upland habitat area.
On January 31, 2004, the Sikes Adobe Farmhouse became open to the public. Zenas and Eliza Sikes originally built the house around 1870. The Sikes house is one of the county’s oldest buildings and one of the last remaining adobe structures in the area. The San Dieguito River Park celebrated the award winning historic site restoration with an event, which attracted more than 300 people including a reunion of 25 descendants of the Sikes Family. Visitors were entertained with reenactments of life on the farm from actors and volunteers in costume from the late 1800s. The Farmhouse is a California Point of Historical Interest and a City of San Diego historic site. Tours are available at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead and the North San Diego Certified Farmer’s Market is open to the public on Sundays 10:30am-3:30pm.