On March 12, 2019 the San Dieguito River Park JPA broke ground on a 2,380 square-foot (SF) permanent ranger station and maintenance garage located adjacent to the Coast to Crest Trail overlooking the newly-restored San Dieguito Lagoon wetlands. It will function as a working ranger office, but will also be used for public education and River Park-run volunteer activities, and will include the River Park’s first permanent public restroom. The JPA manages trails and several hundred acres of open space in the coastal area. Funding for park rangers to perform maintenance and management duties at the lagoon are provided mostly by Southern California Edison as part of their San Dieguito Lagoon wetland restoration mitigation project. But, the JPA has never had a permanent facility at the coast for park ranger operations. For the past eight years, rangers have operated from offsite offices, their ranger trucks, and a small construction trailer and storage sheds.
The JPA-owned site located off of San Andres Drive and Via de la Valle was identified for a ranger station back in 2005 in the San Dieguito River Park Master Plan for the Coastal Area, selected for its convenient and safe vehicular access and its proximity to the trails and existing trailhead parking area. The ranger station was eventually approved in 2015, but was redesigned in summer 2018 after construction bids came in higher than anticipated.
Two single-story buildings comprise the ranger station. The front building includes ranger office space, an employee restroom, storage, a small meeting room, and a large covered patio overlooking the Coast to Crest Trail and nearby wetlands. The adjacent 1,080-SF garage will accommodate three trucks, equipment storage and exterior access to an ADA-compliant public restroom. The ranger station and public restroom will be directly accessible from the adjacent parking area/trailhead. A fenced DG-surfaced ranger work yard is located between the two buildings. The ranger station will provide a convenient and accessible place for park rangers to better interface with the public and for park volunteers and school groups.
Native landscaping will surround the site and a biofiltration basin will treat stormwater run-off from the roof. A donation from the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy will fund a roof-mounted solar system. The entire construction budget is $846,000 funded by several sources including Southern California Edison, the California Coastal Conservancy, a private family bequest, other private donations, and a loan. The San Dieguito River Park is seeking additional funds for other project amenities, donations are gratefully accepted on the SDRP website or by calling the JPA office at 858-674-2270.
Dewain Baker of Baker Design & Build is the JPA’s project contractor and the project is on-budget and expected to open in early 2020.