Archives: Current Issues 2005


The eye-catching temporary Strawberry Stand Wetland Learning Center on Via de la Valle opened October 15 with its first docent-on-duty greeting visitors to the western end of the 50-mile long San Dieguito River Valley Park.  Anne Merritt, Friends Board member and local plein-air artist pictured, is one of a half dozen volunteers organized by the Friends  to provide information on the Park’s western access trail, coastal habitat and the long anticipated 400-acre lagoon restoration project.

Docent Anne Merritt at the Strawberry Stand

The new docents will be on hand Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon at the Center, just east of I-5 off Via de la Valle.  Find your way to the remodeled strawberry stand by turning south on San Andres at California Bank & Trust. Park on San Andres and walk north-east on the path that runs behind the Bank, to the learning center.  Informational signs will lead the way.

 Visitors can take in views of the western river valley and read informational signage about nearby bird habitats and native plant life.  A major job of the volunteers will be to explain and answer questions about the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project, granted final approval by the California Coastal Commission on October 14 and scheduled to break ground on November 5.

Additional volunteers will allow the interpretive center to be open on Sundays.  For more information on volunteering contact Barbara Baker, River Valley Park, at (858) 674-2275 x14 or

The temporary interpretive center will stay in place during the restoration project giving way to a permanent structure when the restoration is completed in approximately 2008. In the meantime a once popular strawberry stand was remodeled as a temporary visitors center and is not only eye-catching but the recipient of two architectural awards, one for energy efficiency. Volunteers from the engineering firm Montgomery, Watson and Harza built the structure last year with funds made available by County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.