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Unauthorized Trails Restoration Update
Recently there has been considerable discussion resulting from a letter written by the US and CA Fish and Wildlife Services to the City of San Diego regarding the Mission Trails Regional Park master plan update and natural resource management plan. A main point emphasized in the letter related to unauthorized trails that have been illegally constructed north of State Route 52, commonly referred to as the East Elliott Area.

Chris Zirkle, Deputy Director of the City of San Diego’s Open Space Division, provided some background to help clarify the matter. We are not closing trails since the city has never officially opened and/or authorized the trails. Initially, Park Rangers will be restoring unauthorized trails that were constructed since 2010. Additional restoration efforts are pending.

The unpermitted destruction of plants in parks has been illegal in the City of San Diego for over 20 years and the use of illegally cleared areas has been illegal for over 17 years. In some open space areas like East Elliott, this protection became even more heightened with adoption of the Multiple Species Conservation Program in the mid-1990s, which identified the East Elliott area as a “Core Biological Area” within the City’s Wildlife Preserve.

Charter Section 55 makes the City Council responsible for enacting park rules and makes the Mayor responsible for managing parks and enforcing the Council’s rules. As with any other acts of vandalism in parks, the response is to restore the damaged assets. In this case, restoration requires the re-establishment of native vegetation, which in turn requires the cessation of impacts caused by repeated use.

There is a process in place to create legitimate trails and that process is underway via an update to the Mission Trails Regional Park Master Plan. This update would incorporate the East Elliott area into Mission Trails Regional Park and revise the entire Trails Plan for the park.

encompasses nearly 5,800 acres of both natural and developed recreational acres Its rugged hills, valleys and open areas represent a San Diego prior to the landing of Cabrillo in San Diego Bay in 1542.
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  One Father Junipero Serra Tr.,
San Diego, CA 92119
(619) 668-3281

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