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
Spinning Wheel Demo
River Park Funding
Lagoon Bird Walk
VMF Film Festival
VMF Kids' Film Festival
San Diego Beetles
RB Historical Society Program at Sikes
Children's Nature Program
Piedras Pintadas Hike
A Sikes Spring
CSUSM Partnership
Lagoon Day
Backcountry Earth Day
Citizen Science
Del Dios Gorge Bridge
Volunteer Voice


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).

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).

Crest Canyon: 
At the San Dieguito Lagoon, turn south from Jimmy Durante onto San Dieguito Dr., which will morph into Racetrack View Drive.  Crest Canyon is about 2/3 miles south from Jimmy Durante Blvd.

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). 


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).


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).  


Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center: 

30275 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, CA. Located between Ramona and Julian at the intersection of Highways 78 and 79.

Ysabel Creek Staging Area:

(for access to the middle of the San Pasqual Valley Trail system)  

I-15 North towards Escondido, exit Pomerado Rd/West Rancho Bernardo Road. Take Pomerado Dr. East.  After 1/4 mile, turn left from Pomerado onto Highland Valley Road, continue on Highland Valley Road for 4 miles, take left on Bandy Canyon Road to Ysabel Creek Road. Trailhead is on the corner.


Sunset Staging Area:

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

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:

We apologize for our error.
  This event will NOT be held at the Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center.

  This event WILL be held at the restored Historic Sikes Adobe Farmstead in Escondido.

  Sunday, May 26, 2013
Time:  2:00pm - 4:00pm
Location:  Historic Sikes Adobe Farmstead (for directions see Sunset Staging area in the left column)
Before there were stores, settlers and pioneers had to make their own clothes, blankets, rugs, towels, and other textile goods.  Most families had a spinning wheel in their home to produce yarn made of wool, cotton, flax, and other fibers.  This yarn could be used for knitting or weaving to produce fabric. 

Join fiber artists and archaeologists Susan Hector and Michael Sampson as they demonstrate spinning on a wheel and handspindle.  Learn how a simple hand tool is used to produce yarn. 
by Susan Carter, SDRP Deputy Director 
Thanks to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner for sticking to his campaign promises and putting annual funding for the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority in his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013/14.  Now it's up to the City Council to approve the budget with the funding in place.  Thanks are also due to our other JPA members, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Poway, Escondido and San Diego County who persevered during the last three years allowing the River Park to survive.
Date:  Saturday, May 18, 2013
Time:  8:00am - 10:00am
Location:  Crest Canyon (see directions in left column)

Join John Haddock, a member of the Buena Vista Audubon, to discover birds of Crest Canyon and the San Dieguito Lagoon and to learn more about the local ecosystem.
Date:  Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 17, 18 and 19
Time:  8:30am
Location:  Julian High School

May 17, 18 and 19 brings the Second Annual Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival - Films To Change Your World, with countless inspiring titles, to the Julian High School for the benefit of the Volcan Mountain Foundation and its work to protect and preserve Volcan Mountain in its natural state for all generations. For more information visit
Date:  Saturday, May 18
Time:  9:00am - 10:00am
Location:  Julian High School

Kids will be delighted, inspired, and empowered by the one-hour selection of Wild & Scenic films by and for kids.  The Volcan Mountain Foundation is proud to offer this set of films that are a natural extension of VMF's Education-Outreach program, which seeks to nurture our future nature-lovers and conservationists.
Date:  Sunday, May 19, 2013
Time:  1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center located at 30275 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, CA  92070 (see directions in left column)

A discussion by Robyn Waayers including the following topics:
  • What ARE beetles?  Beetle diversity and abundance. Beneficial, harmful and neutral beetle species.  
  • A sampling of our local beetles:  the beetle species of the San Diego County mountains and points west, and the San Diego County deserts.  
  • Local introduced (non-native) beetles, including the Gold-spotted Oak Borer. Tips on how to observe and study beetles. 
  • The future for beetles.   

Robyn Waayers is a local community college instructor of biology and has studied beetles as a serious avocation since 2001.  She has discovered several beetle species new to California over the past several years and is a regular contributor to  She also has her own beetle web site:  "Beetles of the Cuyamaca Mountains":   There is no charge for this fascinating event. 

Rancho Bernardo Historical Society Speakers Series
Date:  Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Time:  10:00am - 11:00am
Location:  History Museum (13330 Paseo del Verano Norte) in the Bernardo Winery, Rancho Bernardo

The Rancho Bernardo Historical Society's Speakers Series will present a free program entitled The Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:  A Cultural Gem of the San Dieguito River Park. Speaker Anne Cooper, Museum Manager, explains why the Sikes Adobe, as one of the few remaining adobes in the area, is a significant San Diego landmark as it exemplifies an early local settlement of a middle class farming family typical of this community. 

The Sikes Adobe, located at the midpoint of the 55 mile long San Dieguito River Park, has been called the Gateway to the San Pasqual Valley.  Cooper, who holds a Masters degree in anthropology and history, has served as manager for five years and has overseen the restoration of the museum since it burned in the 2007 Witch Creek fire storm.  She trains docents, organizes special events, creates exhibits and solicits vintage furnishings, along with her active role as a River Park ambassador. 

The Historical Society has scheduled free educational programs, which include noted authorities in our community, on the third Wednesday of each month at 10:00am in the museum at 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte in Rancho Bernardo.   For more information visit

Date:  Sunday, May 19, 2013
Time:  12:00pm - 12:45pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center located at 30275 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, CA  92070 (see left column for directions)

This program is designed for children ages 6 to 12.  Spend time with San Dieguito River Park Interpretive Ranger for several hands on activities to better understand and appreciate the local environment.  For more information contact Interpretive Ranger Leana Bulay at 760-716-1214 or

Date:  Sunday, May 26, 2013
Time:  8:00am - 10:30am
Location:  Bernardo Bay Natural Area (see left column for directions)

Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with fresh air and beautiful scenery!  Join a Park Ranger for a 3.65 mile long informal, guided hike along the Piedras Pintadas Trail.  The trail is generally easy with a few short climbs.  We will see a year-round waterfall and might spot some late-spring blooms.
Date:  Sunday, May 26, 2013
Time:  2:00pm - 4:00pm
Location:  Historic Sikes Adobe Farmstead (for directions see Sunset Staging area in the left column)
Before there were stores, settlers and pioneers had to make their own clothes, blankets, rugs, towels, and other textile goods.  Most families had a spinning wheel in their home to produce yarn made of wool, cotton, flax, and other fibers.  This yarn could be used for knitting or weaving to produce fabric. 

Join fiber artists and archaeologists Susan Hector and Michael Sampson as they demonstrate spinning on a wheel and handspindle.  Learn how a simple hand tool is used to produce yarn. 
by Dick Edwards, Sikes Adobe Docent and President, Friends of the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead
Springtime at the Sikes Adobe brings a wonder of color and activity to the historic structure and grounds.  From the porch your eyes are filled with the breath of renewal, flowers, the vegetable garden, and the willows, mule fat (Baccharis salicifolia) and the green vista of the River Park before you.

This year there is a different feeling, something new is surrounding the farmhouse.  Beyond the picket fence towards the west, a grove of peach trees fill what had been vacant space.  To the east stands a new red chicken coop where once only silence filled the air, now today there are the warm sounds of ducks quacking as they wade in their new temporary pool.  Also, a new fence has been erected to not only keep the ducks safe but also to provide a large space for the five new Cashmere goats that are on loan to the farmstead for the purposes of brush management.  Today, visitors will find something new, warm and pleasant at the historic Sikes Adobe, a picture of ducks and goats filling the landscape. 

Finding animals and greenery in and about the grounds of a historic home or farmstead is not a new concept to historical parks and monuments.  Our Sikes Adobe lends itself to this form of interpretation providing a window to the past history of farming in the late nineteenth century here in the San Dieguito River basin.  The presence of the ducks and goats are thanks to our Resident Volunteers, Kenneth and Angie Rice. 

If volunteering within the River Park is something you've been considering, the Sikes Adobe needs you!  We have multiple needs for people of all ages.  From gardening to selling at the Sunday Farmers' Market to assisting with tours or school group visits, we have many and varied opportunities.  Please contact Anne Cooper, Museum Manager at  Hope to see you soon! 
by Elayna Flanders
Last November Elayna Flanders collaborated with associate professor and conservation ecologist Dr. Tracey Brown at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) bringing Dr. Brown's ecology students to conduct a multi-metric vegetation analysis of two different locations in the River Park:  along the Piedras Pintadas and the North Shore Lake Hodges Trails.  Students were asked to determine biodiversity and compare quantification techniques between the two sites.  This field research was replicated last month by this semester's ecology class.  

Elayna Flanders and our new intern Sarah Nichols met the ecology class last Saturday and Sunday morning along the Piedras Pintadas Trail.  They gave the class an overview of the River Park with details about each specific location and went over park safety.  Students then conducted their fieldwork using 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 River Park was thrilled to promote education at the college level, and we look forward to growing our relationship with CSUSM.  By beginning to establish a strong relationship with professors at CSUSM, we hope to support our goal of incorporating part of our new Citizen Science Monitoring Program into different school curriculums. 
by Bryan Ward
San Dieguito Lagoon Day 2013 was celebrated on Sunday, April 21, at the Del Mar Powerhouse.  The Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley, San Dieguito River Park, and the San Diego chapter of Surfrider Foundation were on hand to provide information about the lagoon and wetland restoration project, but the main event was a presentation by award-winning filmmakers and Del Mar residents Howard and Michelle Hall.  The Halls spoke about how they travel the world creating IMAX movies and then gave a special screening of their underwater film, 100 Miles, about the marine life living under the sea within 100 miles of Del Mar.  Thank you to Bill Michalsky and the rest of the San Dieguito Lagoon Preservation Committee for putting on this wonderful event!
The inagural Backcountry Earth Day celebration was a huge success! The backyard of the Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center was transformed into an earth-friendly fair.  Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) supplied fair goers with artisanal goodies and bird seed balls. 

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, San Dieguito River Park, San Diego County Parks and Recreation, Volcan Mountain Foundation, Wildlife Research Institute, San Diego River Park Foundation, Anza Borrego Foundation, Julian Historical Society, and the California Wolf Center all had booths with fun and educational activities.  Over 200 people attended this earth-friendly event. Hope to see you there next year!
by Elayna Flanders 
The Conservancy and River Park were thrilled to announce our development of a Citizen Science Multiple Species Monitoring Program a few months ago.  We have always had a goal to incorporate more research-based programs into the River Park.  There are already several projects in place including water quality testing, bird counts, and tracking team transects, just to mention a few.

However, a large-scale project like the Citizen Science Multiple Species Monitoring Program has not been undertaken until now.  Our goal, via this program, is to provide citizens with a different experience, a chance to assist the River Park in advancing restoration techniques, which in turn will allow the River Park to avidly use adaptive management according to our findings based on their data.  This research will inform future actions enhancing conservation efforts at the River Park and also provide valuable knowledge of how to incorporate citizen science into monitoring and management plans.

The programs 3 planning phases are laid out over a 12-month span.
by Taylor Likins

The construction of the bridge began in February 2007.  A local donor donated the money for the construction of the bridge.  It was manufactured in Colorado before being brought to California on three semi trucks in April/May of 2007.  The construction of the bridge was difficult due to the surrounding terrain and the limited access to the site.  A crane was used to lift the three pieces of the bridge off of the trailers that were parked on Del Dios Highway. 

Once the three pieces were assembled, three cranes were strategically placed, two on the north side and one on the south side, to lift the bridge into place.  It is a steel truss pre-fabricated bridge that stands at 180 feet long and 10 feet wide.  The bridge was needed to allow for easy passage across the river and to connect the Del Dios Gorge Trail with a SG&E maintenance road towards the Santa Fe Valley Trail.
by Bob Fink
I grew up in Escondido attending Orange Glen High School, Class of 1965.  After graduation I spent a lot of time hunting, hiking and camping in the local hills, even swimming in farm ponds.  I left the area in 1969 when I went into the army.  I have spent most of the last 45 years in Washington, Montana, Alaska and Yukon territory of Canada as I have found that the colder the region fewer people and more nature exists. 

I worked 25 seasons as a tree planter in the Pacific Northwest and spent 20 years as a guide for hunting, fly fishing, river rafting and dog sledding.  I kept active over the years doing commercial fishing, farm work and fire fighting.  About 25 years were spent living the simple life in the Yukon running sled dogs.

My volunteering at the River Park really helps put balance in my life here in suburbia, along with being a companion for my elderly mother.  I love getting a chance to plant native vegetation, and for years to come I hope to be able to look at the trails that I have worked on and enjoy seeing the spring flowers and birds of all types.  I am thankful for the opportunity to work with the great crew we have here.

Something I learned in the north was that the quality of life in a community is often linked to the volunteer spirit of its members.

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. or (858) 674-2275 x14. 

Interpretive Ranger and Riverscape Editor, Leana Bulay.