The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority was founded in 1989 as a result of the grassroots efforts of early members of the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley and San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. Click here for early park planning history or read on for more information. Click here to watch a video on the legacy of the San Dieguito River Park.
HISTORY OF THE CREATION OF THE SAN DIEGUITO RIVER PARK
The story of the San Dieguito River Park, and how it came to be, and how it progressed, is the story of citizens like you who were concerned about preserving an important part of their community. These were real people, who didn’t just stand by as valuable wetlands and natural open space were lost to development – they did something about it – and as a result, a regional park extending from Volcan Mountain in the east to the beach at Del Mar, an expanse of 55 miles, came into being, providing lasting benefits for animals and humans. Click here read the full story written by a former park director.
The creation of the San Dieguito River Park began first with an effort to restore water quality in the San Dieguito Lagoon. Ask yourself, if you saw that the natural wetlands near your community were suffering from pollution and lack of fresh water, what would you do?
Click here to read more about what one young activist did for the San Dieguito Lagoon, and it has made all the difference.
Ask yourself, if you learned that developments were being proposed that would degrade the natural environment, the rural character and the scenic beauty of your community, what would you do?
Click here to read more about development pressure.
Grass roots pressure from citizens such as Karen Berger, Bob Sensibaugh and Diane Coombs was powerful, but would not have achieved the desired goal without the political will and leadership of certain key elected leaders who listened to these citizens and other early supporters and determined to make it happen. Among those political leaders, two stood out as early proponents: Abbe Wolfsheimer Stutz and Susan Golding.
Click here to read more about political will.
What can be learned from the history of the creation of the San Dieguito River Park?
Several themes arise from reading about the people who contributed to the preservation of the San Dieguito River Valley as a natural open space park that should inspire others to accomplish great things themselves in their community and beyond.
Click here to read about what the creation of the park can teach us.
San Dieguito River Park Founders
Click here for a list of the SDRP founders and key players.
A Brief Timeline of Major Events
|1986||San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy established as a non-profit 501(c)3 group raising funds for land purchases in the River Park. Nancy Weare, President for the first six years.|
|1986||Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley established as a non-profit 501(c)4 advocacy group for protection of the River Valley. Alice Goodkind, President.|
|1989||San Dieguito River Valley Regional Open Space Park Joint Powers Authority is established as single-purpose government lead agency by the County of San Diego and the Cities of Del Mar, Escondido, Poway, San Diego and Solana Beach.|
|1991||First major land purchase by San Dieguito River Park JPA west of I-5 for Lagoon restoration.|
|1993||Highland Valley Trail, the first trail built by the San Dieguito River Park JPA, opens to the public.|
|2006||Southern California Edison begins implementation of San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project.|
|2007||Witch Creek Fire burns 62% of River Park property, including Park Headquarters and the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.|
|2009||David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge, world’s longest stress-ribbon bridge, costing $10,580,000, opens to public.|
|2010||Reopening of current Park Headquarters and Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.|
|2011||San Dieguito River mouth opened to tidal flux, marking the near completion of the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project.|
|2014||Birdwing Open Air Classroom at the San Dieguito Lagoon opens to public.|
|2021||Coastal Ranger Station at the San Dieguito Lagoon opens to public.|
|2022||Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead celebrates 150th anniversary.|