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
Lagoon Trail Walk
Jaycees Christmas Parade
Trail Maintenance
Habitat Restoration
Lagoon Bird Walk
General Store Open House
Sikes Christmas
College Reseach Project
Water Quality Testing
Bat Boxes
Sycuan Grant
Trail of the Month
Carl Moczydlowsky


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


Located at the Sikes Adobe (see directions to the Sunset Staging area in the left column).

Every Sunday:
10:30am ~ 3:30pm
(except if Easter, 4th of July, or Christmas).
Quick Links...

Connect with Us!

SDRP website

Bernardo Bay Natural/Staging Area: (for access to East and South 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 a map).

Del Dios Gorge/
Santa Fe Valley Staging Area:
On Del Dios Highway, across the street from the Cielo Shopping Center, is the Lemon Twist Stand.  The road to the staging area is within the Lemon Twist pullout, immediately south and west of the Lemon Twist stand. (click here for a map).

Dust Devil Nature Trail

Staging Area:

From Del Mar Heights Road go north on El Camino Real.  The staging area will be at the edge of the San Dieguito Lagoon on your left.  You will continue past the staging area, making a U-turn at San Dieguito Road, then driving south on El Camino Real to the staging area (click here for a map). 


Highland Valley Trail Staging Area:

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


Highland Valley - 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 Drive Interpretive 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).  


Ramona Grasslands Staging Area:

From I-15 head east on Pomerado Road.  After about 1/4 mile, turn left onto Highland Valley Road.  Drive approximately 10.5 miles up Highland Valley Road to the Ramona Grasslands.  You will see the staging area and trail head on the north side of the road (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).
from the links below:

Explore the San Dieguito Lagoon with a Ranger.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Time:  9:00am - 10:15am
Location:  San Andres Interpretive Kiosk (see directions in left column).

This walk will be led by a Park Ranger along the San Dieguito Lagoon. This trail offers beautiful views of the lagoon and wildlife that inhabit the area. Topics will include the lagoon restoration project, plant and wildlife identification and updates on current Ranger projects.
SDRP participates in the Jaycee Christmas Parade.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Time:  9:30am - 12:00pm
Location:  Down Broadway from Escondido High School to Grape Day Park in downtown Escondido.

The San Dieguito River Park is proud to participate in the Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade for the third year in a row.  This year's theme is "A California Christmas."  For more information about the Escondido Jaycees or the Christmas Parade, visit their website.
Participate in our 'free' weight loss program.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Time:  8:00am - 11:00am
Location:  Highland Valley - Old Coach Staging Area (see directions in left column).

Join a Park Ranger for this month's volunteer trail maintenance event. Work on clearing brush from trail and improving trail conditions! Bring drinking water, sun protection, and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Please RSVP to or (858) 674-2275 x14.
Some of our native plants need help getting reestablished.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Time:  8:00am - 11:00pm
Location:  Ysabel Creek Staging Area.

The event will consist of planting native plants, removing invasive plants to protect wildlife habitat, and maintaining new restoration areas. Tools, training and work gloves are provided! Bring drinking water, sun protection and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Please RSVP to or 858-674-2275x14. Space is limited!
You will see at least one of these ...guaranteed!

  Saturday, December 15, 2012
Time:  8:00am - 10:00am
Location:  San Andres Drive Interpretive Kiosk (see directions in left column).

Join John Haddock, a member of Buena Vista Audubon and a Whelan Lake Bird Walk Leader, to discover birds of Crest Canyon and the San Dieguito Lagoon and to learn more about the local ecosystem.
New old things are wonderful and unique gifts.
  December 15 and 16, 2012
Time: 11:00am - 5:00pm
Location:  Downtown Santa Ysabel (Intersection of Highways 78 and 79).

Come join us for music, refreshments, wildlife and much more. Great gifts available for the entire family at the General Store.

Happy Holidays!

The Sikes Adobe, decorated for Christmas, welcomes you December 8th and 9th.

10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays,
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, and  
10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays
Or by APPOINTMENT:  Contact Anne Cooper at or (760) 432-8318.

Sikes will be closed December 22, 23, 25, 27, and will be open December 29 and 30.
by Elayna Bryant
The San Dieguito River Park offers many learning opportunities.
This month started off with a visit from undergraduate ecology students of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). Associate Professor and Conservation Ecologist Dr. Tracey Brown asked her students to conduct a multi-metric analysis of two different locations along both the Piedras Pintadas and North Shore Lake Hodges trails.

Students were asked to determine biodiversity and compare quantification techniques between the two sites. Their fieldwork used random sampling techniques to insure non-biased results. Baseline transects were measured and students applied line intercept, plot, and point-quarter techniques along these baselines. In assessing differences between the sites, students will use this data to calculate species richness, evenness, and Shannon diversity.

This data, along with additional research (disturbance rates, endangered species present, history, historical artifacts, fragmentation, surrounding habitat, etc.), will be written up as a scientific paper discussing which area is of higher conservation importance (hypothetically). The park was thrilled to promote education at the college level, and we look forward to growing our relationship with CSUSM.
The water is getting cleaner!

If you'd like to help out with water quality testing at the San Dieguito Lagoon, please contact to make reservations.

This is a program through San Diego Coast Keeper, and free training is provided every other month. Testing takes place once a month, usually the third Saturday of each month, and we ask for a three-times-a-year commitment.
by Ranger Dante Lee
Ranger David on the Del Dios Gorge Trail opens the demonstration bat box.

Much like rattlesnakes, bats have built up a bad reputation, but in fact, they're a vital part of a healthy ecosystem. Bats are flying mammals, and they pollinate many important plants, disperse seeds, and keep insect populations in check.

Did you know that bats can eat up to 1,000 insects in an hour? Over 20 different bat species have been detected throughout San Diego County. Bats need streams, forests, and open space to hunt for insects or nectar. In addition to protecting existing open space in the River Valley, the River Park has installed many bat boxes throughout the region over the years. Bats use bat boxes as rest points throughout the night while they travel away from their more permanent daytime roosts.

You might see some bat boxes from the Del Dios Gorge trail, along the San Pasqual Valley Trail and more recently, the Dust Devil Nature Trail. You can even see what the inside of one type of bat box looks like by opening the interpretive bat box along the Del Dios Gorge Trail. Remember, just like other mammals, bats can bite if they are threatened or frightened. If you see a sick or injured bat, leave it alone and contact Project Wildlife.
Thank you Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation, for your generous assistance.
The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy are excited to announce that through the generosity of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation and the assistance of Dave Roberts, the River Park Rangers have now acquired essential equipment to assist in the day to day activities at the River Park. 

Newly elected San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, a past chairman of the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, assisted the Park in its endeavor to acquire the equipment," From my time on the Board, I quickly saw how the Park's Rangers were stretched too thin, covering the expanse of the entire 94,000-acre open-space greenway. It is clear that the work of the rangers would be aided by the right equipment."  Roberts approached the Sycuan people, who through their charitable contributions to the San Diego community embrace the role of a good neighbor, to request their aid in the purchasing of two trailers. "I greatly appreciate how the Sycuan Nation readily agreed to supply the funds to purchase this new equipment for the San Dieguito River Park Rangers," said Roberts.

The Sycuan people and their ancestors have lived in San Diego for 12,000 years and feel it is their obligation to help their neighbors and to make San Diego a better place. "The San Dieguito River Park rangers are grateful to our generous neighbors, the Sycuan Nation. The dump trailer and tool trailer will save Park funds by making daily tasks of Park rangers more efficient," said Leana Bulay Interpretive Ranger.
by Cindy O'Grady

Hike Volcan!
What do these three things have in common - hiking, education, and apple pie?

Answer: All of these can be enjoyed on a trip to the Volcan Mountain section of the Coast-to-Crest Trail, and November is the perfect time to go.  Along with spectacular views and the sheer pleasure of being outdoors, the area also affords a great opportunity for informal science learning.

Driving along Route 78 affords the best chance to observe the hydrology and geography of the San Dieguito watershed. Your children can see how the land changes from the urban environment near North County Fair into the agriculture fields of San Pasqual Valley, then into the backcountry as you ascend.

Now for your hike! Although Volcan Mountain Preserve is open year-round, the section from mid-summit to the top is only open weekends from April through November. Trail difficulty is officially rated at "3", which afforded no problem for my friend's 10 year old.
Once at the top, you are rewarded with a view to the west all the way to the ocean on a clear day. Turning around, you'll see the Anza Borrego Desert, just a few short miles away down the eastern slope of the mountain.

Afterwards, head over to historic Julian to enjoy the (literal) fruits of Apple Days in pie or cider and learn about its gold mining past. Education never tasted so good!
Volunteer Voice
Carl maps so that Ranger Natalie will come home on time!
Carl graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000 after studying environmental science and geography. Always wanting to learn to surf, Carl then moved to San Diego in August of 2000 with his now wife, Park Ranger Natalie Borchardt.

He first learned of the Park in 2005 when Natalie applied for a Park Ranger position. Carl actually started consulting for the Park in 2006 doing GIS work with his company Closed System, but as his business and the Park evolved, he started working on GIS projects pro-bono. Carl is currently working on developing a mobile mapping application for use by the Park staff, volunteers, and maybe even the general public. The mobile Park GIS app actually started out as an attempt to make Natalie more efficient at work so she'd be home for dinner on time! That didn't work out so well! Version 2 of the Park GIS app is still in development, and pending some technology improvements and slated for the end of the year, should be much more robust and useful.

"It is a really unique opportunity to be so involved in your spouse's work. Generally, I don't think too many people get a chance to volunteer and help their significant other with their day-to-day work life. Plus, I get to try out some new technologies and learn with a real project without too demanding of a client!"
Happy Holidays from the San Dieguito River Park staff.  All of us in the San Dieguito River Park office are working hard to improve your Park and to make it available to you for recreation and education.  Please feel free to contact me with Riverscape comments or requests.
Leana@ or (858) 674-2275 x14.

Interpretive Ranger and Riverscape Editor, Leana Bulay.