Key Parcel Protected for San Dieguito River Park (CA)

SAN DIEGO, CA 7/26/04- The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation group, and the San Dieguito River Park, a local government agency, announced today the purchase and protection of 73 acres along the San Dieguito River Parkway directly adjacent to the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration Project, connecting the San Dieguito Lagoon wetlands to public lands upstream. The purchase closes a critical gap in the Coast to Crest Trail that runs along the 55-mile-long River Parkway from the headwaters at Volcan Mountain in eastern San Diego County to the coast just south of Del Mar. Thousands of motorists on Interstate 5 drive by the highly visible property every day. The property, valued at $4,253,000, was the top acquisition priority for both the River Park and the State Coastal Conservancy’s Wetland Restoration Project and will be managed for wildlife protection and public recreational opportunities such as hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.

“After years of planning and purchasing properties to make the San Dieguito River Park a reality, we are finally acquiring the last few properties to complete the 55-mile-long River Park. The purchase of this property closes an important gap in the river habitat corridor and will enhance the San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration project,” said Dick Bobertz, executive director of the San Dieguito River Park.

“Our conservation work along the San Dieguito River could not be implemented without the incredible partnerships we have formed with the San Dieguito River Park, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Board and generous private support from the San Diego Women’s Foundation.” said Reed Holderman, executive director of the Trust for Public Land-California. “We are continuing our work along the River Parkway and expect to help protect several more properties in the Santa Ysabel area before the end of the year.”

The Trust for Public Land recently completed its 10-year effort to protect 13,068 acres, through 20 transactions, at Rutherford Ranch on Volcan Mountain – the eastern anchor of the San Dieguito River Park.

Funds for the purchase came through the State Coastal Conservancy, the California Wildlife Conservation Board, and the San Dieguito River Park from funds generated by voter-approved bond measures Propositions 12, 40, and 50. In addition, the San Diego’s Women’s Foundation granted TPL $50,000 for conservation work in San Diego County.

“The purchase of this land for the San Dieguito River Park is another step forward in protecting San Diego’s precious natural resources for the future,” said Al Wright, executive director of the California Wildlife Conservation Board.

“The Conservancy’s Wetlands Recovery Project is greatly enhanced by the purchase of this property. It helps to protect San Dieguito lagoon, one of the last remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County,” said Sam Schuchat, executive officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy.

“The San Diego Women’s Foundation supports the land conservation efforts of the Trust for Public Land because they have a long history of producing results and protecting the land we love for ourselves and future generations,” said Julie Dubick, president of the San Diego Women’s Foundation.

The San Dieguito River Park, known officially as the San Dieguito River Valley Regional Open Space Park Joint Powers Authority, was formed in 1989 to create a natural open space park in the San Dieguito River Valley. The agency was formed by the County of San Diego with the cities of Del Mar, Escondido, Poway, San Diego and Solana Beach to acquire, plan, design, improve, operate and maintain the San Dieguito River Park.

The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving land of recreational, ecological, and historical value for the public. TPL works with local, state, and federal agencies and grassroots community groups to protect open space nationwide. Since it’s founding in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.9 million acres valued at more than $3.5 billion nationwide. In San Diego County, TPL has protected more than 28,000 acres since 1985.