It's been one crazy year around the park. After navigating through the barrage of flak sent up by the City of SD this year in regards to SDRP funding and the longevity of the park in general it seems (fingers crossed) that we may actually be coming to some sort of an agreement. This is important because of it keeps the dream of someday having a continuous trail from Volcan Mountain in Julian all the way to Dog Beach in Del Mar alive. This also preserves one of the last major wildlife corridors left in the entire county.
Up until this month it has been pretty much "Famine" as far as the trails are concerned. The trails and the environment have really been struggling to compete with the constant usage. The park has been doing it's part to try and manage this appropriately. With that has come some new closures of certain trails within the Bernardo Bay area (South side of Lake Hodges) of the park. The trails add up to about 1/4mi worth of "fall line" trail as well as an illegally built trail that was causing a hazard for users on the designated trail. Some will and have argued in favor of keeping the trail but at this time it will not become a designated trail. We have also posted signs that read "No nighttime use" this too has garnered some criticism from users. Simple story is that there never was nighttime use to begin with it was just never posted. There are NO open space preserves within San Diego county that are open for nighttime use.
On to the "Feast", it is currently and has been raining pretty good on and off since the beginning of this month. That means that we have been working non stop on trail maintenance issues, like drainage and ruts and we have put a couple thousand plants in the ground to beef up a lot of our existing habitat management projects. The ground as we speak is currently very saturated and any rain we receive in the near future will either just pool up or immediately sheet off the trails into the low spots. While we try to get to these ares quickly we can't get to all of them. Be aware when out on the trails that these conditions exist and ride appropriately. Ruts caused by bikes will last and be seen for months and in some cases cause additional erosion. Best case scenario after an substantial rain is to give the area at least 24hrs to dry out and if on horseback you should wait at least 48hrs. While the park does not officially close it's trails down, I would still ask you to be a responsible user.
The SDRP mountain bike patrol is currently at 27 volunteers that patrol the park on a regular basis providing help and assistance to anyone who needs it. This year they have averaged about 50hrs per month and on track for another banner year. The patrols presence has gone along way in bridging the gap between users and land managers but there is a lot left to be done. For me personally they have been invaluable, I have been able to stay on top of issues better than ever before. Thanks to all volunteers, supporters and sponsors for keeping it going.
I am optimistic for next year at this time. I am hoping that after the park hammers out this agreement with the city that we will be set to start some new trail work. The Pauma Valley connector of the Coast to Crest trail is being planned and is currently under review. Hopefully before to long I will get to start building some new trail in a great location.
If you found all of this dry and boring I apologize. My next blog will be all about desert lunatics, debauchery and how not to taco your wheel when in the middle of the desert.