Many people may not realize that the inspiration for a 55-mile long open space park started with a small group of local citizens who stepped up and made a difference. The idea behind the San Dieguito River Park was conceived beginning in the late 1970s when the San Dieguito Lagoon was threatened by development projects that would fill in the wetlands and destroy one of San Diego’s iconic features – its coastal wetlands. At the same time, development was imminent near the San Dieguito River’s headwaters on Volcan Mountain near Julian. These two events inspired a few local individuals to effect the situation, bringing others on board, to instead preserve the lagoon and its source, 55 miles of river upstream to the crest at Volcan Mountain, eventually becoming the San Dieguito River Park. The JPA’s Principal Planner Shawna Anderson said “we will not forget those individuals who had the foresight, commitment, and original vision and inspired others to follow and make the San Dieguito River Park what it is today.”
The founders and key players that inspired the San Dieguito River Park are featured in a short film produced by Francine Filsinger in association with the San Dieguito River Park JPA. “Creating Legacy: The Founding of the San Dieguito River Park” honors the founders and captures the beauty and grandeur of such an accomplishment. Complementing the film is a stone and tile sculpture created by Los Angeles artists Rude Calderón and Roberto Delgado and placed next to the Coast to Crest Trail at the San Dieguito Lagoon.
“Creating Legacy” can be viewed here. The sculpture is located along the Coast to Crest Trail at San Dieguito Lagoon, directions and trail map are available under the website Trails page.