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One of the major goals of the San Dieguito River Park is to establish a continuous open space corridor throughout the length of the Park that preserves natural habitats, protects linkages for wildlife movement, and provides compatible areas for recreational opportunities.

In This Issue
Festive Farmhouse
Lunchtime Market
Lagoon Walk
Trail Patrol Training
Restoration Project
Lagoon Update
Ranger Dante
Sikes History
Carol Carr


 Here is a link to the San Dieguito River Park Activity Calendar.     


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  Bernardo Bay Natural Area: (for access to East Lake Hodges Trails and the Ribbon Bridge)Take I-15 to the West Bernardo Dr./Pomerado Rd. exit. Turn left onto West Bernardo Dr. Within a half mile you will come to the parking area on the right side of the road.(click here for map)

Highland Valley Trail Staging Area:

From I-15 head east on Pomerado Road about 1/4 mile.  Turn left onto Highland Valley Drive and then within about 300 feet turn right into the parking area. (click here for a map).  


Old Coach Trail Staging Area:
From I-15 head east on Pomerado Road.  After about 1/4 mile turn left onto Highland Valley Drive.  Drive 2.3 miles.  The Staging Area will be on your right.  12460 Highland Valley Road, San Diego.  (click here for a map)    


San Andres Kiosk: (for east end Lagoon Trail access)  End of San Andres Drive in Del Mar, off Via de la Valle, behind the Albertsons Shopping Center. (click here for a map).  


Sunset Staging Area:

(access for Ribbon Bridge, Sikes Adobe, Mule Hill Trail, North Shore Trail, Bernardo Mountain)  

Begin North Shore Trail and Mule Hill Trail here.   

Directions: Take I-15 to Via Rancho Parkway exit, and at the exit ramp turn right at the light. Go to the light at Sunset Drive (less than a 1/4 mile) and turn right onto Sunset Drive. North County Fair Mall is on the left side of the road. This is a cul-de-sac with plenty of parking in the gated staging/parking area on the left side of the street, or along the street and in the lot at the end of the cul-de-sac. (click here for a map)

Create at the Festive Farmhouse
Date: December 4th
Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead: 12655 Sunset Drive, Escondido, CA 92025. (See directions to Sunset Staging Area in left column.)

Holiday decorating the old-fashioned way. Come to our "Festive Farmhouse" where we will be creating decorations which may have been used by the Pioneer Settlers of the San Pasqual Valley.  $3.00 per person or $5.00 per family at the door.

Please RSVP by December 1st to Sikes Adobe Museum Manager at or call (760)432-8318

Wednesday Too!
Date: Wednesdays from November 30th through December 28th

Time: 11:00am-2:00pm

Location: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead: 12655 Sunset Drive, Escondido, CA 92025. (See directions to Sunset Staging Area in left column.)

The 3-hour Wednesday market will be a "mini-market" offering foods only and geared toward lunch time patrons who will likely have limited time to spend.  The vendors are Mad Maui BBQ, Masala Cottage Cuisine of India, Java Break Express (full service beverages and espresso), Hummus/Pita, and Escondido local Belen Bakers.  Certified farmers and produce will vary from week-to-week based on what local certified farmers have available to bring mid-week.
Join a Ranger led Lagoon Talk Walk
Date: December 10th
Time: 9:00am-10:15am

This monthly walk will be led by a Park Ranger along the San Dieguito Lagoon.  Topics such as the restoration project, water quality and wildlife of the lagoon will be covered.  The winter months brings in a number of migratory birds.  Come discover the beauty of the Lagoon with us!

Location: Meet at the interpretive kiosk at San Dieguito Lagoon, south of Via de la Valle at the end of San Andres Drive in Del Mar, behind the Albertson's Shopping Center. (See San Andres Kiosk directions in left column.)
Patrol on Horseback
Date: January 28th and 29th
Time: 9:00am-2:00pm
Locations: TBA

This event will have several Ranger led presentations, detailed Park information, a guest speaker, Lieutenant Joe Young, from the Oceanside Police Department presenting "Verbal Judo", equipment use training, and in the field scenario/role playing.  There is no fee for this two day training, and refreshments will be provided.  To register please call (858)674-2275 x 14 or email
Sit on the Rattlesnake
Off the Coast to Crest Trail, downstream of Lake Hodges Dam, a "Rattlesnake" viewing platform has been created.  It was named that because it is made from native rock in the shape of a rattlesnake.  An interpretive panel will explain the importance of rattlesnakes in our ecosystem.

Rattlesnakes have been misunderstood by many.  Of the 33 species of snakes in California, rattlesnakes are the only ones that are venomous.  They are typically not aggressive to humans.  Their first instinct is usually to get away from humans.  If cornered, they will bite to defend themselves but typically give plenty of warning.  Using common sense, we can share our open spaces with this valuable member of the natural environment.  
Del Dios Gorge riparian restoration has begun with the removal of eucalyptus, palms, and other non-native species heavily impacting native habitat in this reach of the river.  The work is funded through a $1,049,368 grant from the California Natural Resources Agency's River Parkways program received in 2010 for enhancements to the River Park's Coast-to-Crest Trail and habitat restoration along the San Dieguito River in the scenic gorge below the Lake Hodges dam.

The project will be carried out in phases between November 2011 and January 2014 and will involve the removal of invasive, non-native species and revegetation with native plants.  Currently, a contractor with the California Tree Service is using a helicopter to move tree trunks out of the narrow river channel to a nearby site where the wood can be processed and hauled off.

For more on this restoration project, go to  
by Natalie Borchardt
In recent months, SDRP staff and volunteers have been hard at work in the coastal region of the Park.  We are happy to see trail users enjoying the newly opened lagoon segment of the Coast to Crest Trail that now extends to the western edge of the Horse Park Facility.

At the San Dieguito Lagoon
To the east of where the trail currently terminates, pre-construction preparations, including installation of a temporary construction fence, non-native invasive species removal, and bio-engineering techniques to sustain the river bank, are underway.  This next segment of trail heads toward the western edge of El Camino Real and is bordered by the Horse Park Facility and the northern bank of the San Dieguito River.  We hope to begin trail construction shortly.

The other project keeping Park Rangers and volunteers busy is a new trail system being constructed on the uplands in the southeastern portion of the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration Project (east of I-5, west of El Camino Real, north of High Bluff, and south of the San Dieguito River).

We are constructing trails on top of the sites where material that was removed to create the large pond and low marsh areas was disposed of throughout the duration of the restoration project.  The three interconnected trails, collectively named the Mesa Loop Trail ,are for wildlife viewing and therefore are intended for pedestrian use only. Upon completion of the trails, a gated parking area and information kiosk will be accessible from El Camino Real 
Ranger Dante

Dante is a Bay Area native who graduated from UC San Diego in 2010 with a B.S. in Environmental Systems.  In addition to having a background in ecology, he specializes in GIS.

Prior to joining the San Dieguito River Park staff, he interned as a field biologist in the marshes of the San Francisco Bay Area, monitoring and treating invasive cordgrass (Spartina).  He looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for the environment with all of you!
by Anne P. Cooper
When the Sikes family first came to the San Pasqual Valley, it must have presented a lovely aspect.  Mr. Zenas Sikes, Jr. arrived here sometime between 1870 and 1872, with his wife, Eliza, and their six children - four daughters and two sons.  They had lived together in California since their marriage in 1853, three short years after statehood.

Historic Sikes Adobe
The Sikes' background centered on farming, and they undoubtedly recognized the potential for farming in the San Pasqual Valley.  Though they were not the only settlers to purchase a piece of the former Rancho San Bernardo, they were among the first.  Mr. Sikes planned to plant wheat and rely on the moisture in the soil as well as rainfall for irrigation.  California's valleys in those years were cultivated to raise what was then known as "white velvet," and wheat was the cash crop.
Carol Carr
Carol Dickinson Carr has volunteered with the San Dieguito River Park for 11 years as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee.  In 2003, she helped re-establish the CAC's Trails Sub-committee and agreed to chair its monthly meetings and re-define its role.  The wide variety of projects the Trails Committee takes on, as well as our site visits to plan new trails, keep the work fun and challenging.  Carol's other volunteer work includes serving on the boards of two groups promoting bicycling facilities and bicyclists' rights, serving as a Sierra Club Chapter Outing Leader, a poll worker for elections, a set builder at North Coast Repertory Theatre, and past work for other committees since retiring 12 years ago.

Carol says, "I get a real sense of accomplishment helping to make our river park a wonderful asset for San Diego County.  While committee work is necessary, it's more fun to get my hands dirty as a member of the Dust Devils.  In May 2010, I joined Park Ranger Natalie once a week for seed-gathering in Crest Canyon.  Now I spend every Friday morning at the Del Mar Lagoon taking and planting cuttings, repairing trail surfaces, installing rocks and wattles for erosion control, hanging signs, tending the plant nursery, and sometimes just shoveling dirt around!"

"I hope everyone reading this will visit the new lagoon trails at the western end of the park.  It's easy here to turn your back on the freeway noise and urban sprawl and just contemplate the river.  Watch the birds that came back when the lagoon restoration finished.  Listen to the bird calls.  Smell the salt air and the sage plants.  Stand still and imagine the visitor's center that someday will be built into the hillside here.  Think about what you can do to make the park even better for your grandchildren."
Happy Holidays to all from the San Dieguito River Park!