Home News Update on Del Mar Mesa Trails

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Update on Del Mar Mesa Trails PDF Print E-mail

As of December 12, 2008, all city-owned land is closed to trail users. Most tunnel trails at least in part go through city land. Also, California Dept. of Fish and Game does not allow biking on their lands because of vernal pool sensitivity.  You can help the situation by showing respect for the habitat and following the posted signage while we continue to advocate for a legal sustainable trail system.  Stay off of the closed trails so we can demonstrate responsible and respectful stewardship.

Please do your part to educate your friends that compliance with Rules of the Trail is critical now more than ever. Remember, its because there are important biological resources in Del Mar Mesa that it remains open space at all. Please be patient as we work through the process and advocate for responsible public access to this special place. Subscribe to SDMBA TrailNews to stay informed as SDMBA advocates for trail access in Del Mar Mesa.

Del Mar Mesa “Tunnels” Timeline and Update 2009

1997: The Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) is adopted as a comprehensive plan to provide habitat protection as development occurs. Nearly 75-percent of Del Mar Mesa is designated Multiple Habitat Protection Area (MHPA) having core habitat value to the MSCP. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game (resource agencies) are signatory agencies to the MSCP and they own and manage some land within the preserve. Trails are allowed within the MHPA but must be compatible with the preservation goals of the MSCP. The Del Mar Mesa Specific Plan was created in conjunction with the planning effort for the MSCP Subarea Plan. The city is responsible for implementing a resource management plan (RMP) for the Del Mar Mesa Preserve and other areas. 

March 2004: SDMBA and The MultiUse Trails Coalition (MTC) submitted comments on The Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa Preserve’s RMP that was available for review and public comment at that time.



July 2008: The revised draft RMP is provided to the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Citizens Advisory Committee (LPCP CAC) by the City of San Diego with comments due July 31st.  The CAC was expected to vote and recommend approval or denial to the City.  The CAC requested an extension, due to the short notice, and an extension until October 14, was granted.


August 2008: The city and resource agencies discover that the “tunnels” are being used by mountain bikers and they conduct field visits to identify impacts that were not well known by most agency technical staff. The resource agencies pressure the city to shut down access through the preserve but the city persuades the resource agencies that shutting down the area is not practical.


August 2008: SDMBA and MTC mapped the Del Mar Mesa Preserve area to propose a plan to legitimize trails to serve as a management tool for the preserve.


September 18, 2008: SDMBA and MTC presented the proposed trail plan and maps at a September 18th Stakeholder’s Meeting.  Over 150 people attend including many mountain bikers that were fond of the area.


October 2008: A wildlife tracking study that determines supportable trails opportunities is provided to the City of San Diego.


October 2008: SDMBA and MTC provide comments regarding the draft RMP to the City of San Diego.


December 12, 2008: The City of San Diego designates “tunnels” that are on city property as off-limits after further cutting was noticed in tunnel 5. Signs with maps are posted designating certain routes for access through the preserve. SDMBA posted the news on the SDMBA website.


December 2008: SDMBA and MTC met with key representatives from the City Park and Recreation Department to discuss the issues. City staff explains that the issue of legitimizing trails is in the hands of the resource agencies. SDMBA also met with staff of City Councilmember Donna Frye (Natural Resources and Cultural Committee) to discuss the issues.


December 2008: The revised RMP was delayed until further notice.  The City of San Diego recommends a trails plan similar to that proposed by MTC and SDMBA to the resource agencies.  


January 2009: The MTC leads the effort to revitalize the Volunteer Patrol at LPCP


January 15, 2009: Members of SDMBA and other stakeholders meet with the City and the resource agencies to discuss the proposed trail plan and agency concerns with habitat preservation.


January 30, 2009: SDMBA writes a letter to the resource agencies that elaborates on opportunities for SDMBA and the mountain biking community to provide education regarding habitat preservation; provide enforcement; and provide resources for habitat protection and restoration.


February 2009: The resource agencies issue a letter to the City with their recommendations. However, the city feels the letter does not provide the city with specificity to move forward.


March 2009: The City delays release of the RMP until they can address the issues raised by the Agencies. The city and agencies continue to meet to clarify opportunities for trails with the city.





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