San Dieguito River Park
Historical Time Line & Numbers

updated 01/07/12

river park by the numbers up to 2010

Western San Dieguito River Valley and Lagoon History

2011 Nov.7  Dedication of the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric Company.

2011 Sept. 29 Opening of the San Dieguito River inlet to tidal flux, marking near completion of San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration project.

2010 June Reopening of the Sikes Adobe Ranch house on Sunset Dr. and in

2010 Oct. Reopening of the River Park Office on Sycamore Creek Rd. Both restored after the destruction in the 1907 Witch Creek Fire with FEMA and insurance funds.

2009 Old Grand Avenue Bridge, shortened and restored as Lagoon Viewpoint.

2007 Oct.7 Witch Creek Fire burns 62 % of the River Park including the Headquarters building on Sycamore Creek and the Sikes Adobe Ranch house. The fire burns westward along the San Dieguito river corridor and reaches Rancho Santa Fe.

2006 Southern California Edison starts San Dieguito Lagoon restoration project.

2005 Oct.12 California Coastal Commission approves San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project.

2000 Sept. Publication of the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration Project. Essential components are the creation and restoration of tidal wetlands, permanent opening of the inlet channel and the creation of inter-tidal habitats both east and west of I-5.

1992 California Coastal Commission approves San Dieguito Lagoon as site for San Onofre nuclear power plant mitigation project.

1991 First major land purchase by San Dieguito River Valley Joint Powers Authority east of I-5 for Lagoon restoration.

1989 San Dieguito River Valley Regional Open Space Park Joint Powers Authority is established as single purpose government lead agency.

1987 Creation of a multi-jurisdictional task force under SANDAG for the sole purpose of creating a San Dieguito River Valley Park.

1986 Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley is established as an non-profit 501(c ) 4 advocacy group for protection of the River Valley. Alice Goodkind, President.

1986 San Dieguito River Park Conservancy established as an non-profit 501( c ) 3
group raising funds for land purchases in the River Park. Nancy Weare, President for the first six years.

1986 July 1 City of Solana Beach incorporated.

1980/1985 SANDAG develops vision of San Dieguito River Park.

1980-1983 Coastal Conservancy creates 70 acres “Fish Hook” tidal basin on San Dieguito Drive

1979 Del Mar adopts San Dieguito Lagoon Enhancement program.

1976 California Coastal Act was enacted by the California State legislature to provide long-term protection of California’s 1,100 ml. coast line. The Coastal Commission manages the conservation and development of coastal resources through a regulatory program.

1974 The California Department of Fish and Game and the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service recommend the San Dieguito lagoon for priority acquisition.

1974 San Dieguito Lagoon Planning Committee established by Del Mar City Council with the purpose of preparing a plan to protect, revitalize and manage the lagoon ecosystem in anticipation of the upcoming Coastal Act.

1972 A group of Del Mar residents starts formulating a plan for saving the San Dieguito Lagoon

1972 November. California voters approve Prop 20, the Coastal Conservation Initiative which leads to the adoption of the Coastal Act of 1976.

1966-1967 Construction and opening of Interstate 5 .

1959 July15 City of Del Mar is incorporated.

1952-1968 Airport closes and its building are put to various business uses including one of first computer manufacturers.

1947-1951 Navy quitclaims 80 acres of airfield to San Diego County for $1.00.

1943 Grand Avenue Bridge constructed to provide access to US Naval Auxiliary Air Facility. The airfield becomes a base for lighter-than air aircraft (aka blimps), used as anti-submarine patrols along Pacific Coast.

1941 Dec.7 Pearl Harbor. Del Mar Fair closes for the duration of WW II.
Fairgrounds became barracks, galleys, offices and classrooms.

1938 Airfield is developed into a municipal airport to serve fairgrounds racing patrons.

1937 July 3 Del Mar Race Track opens. WPA provides initial funding.

1936 Oct. 8 San Dieguito County Fair opens .

1927 Major flood destroys Hwy 101 bridge.

1926-30 California Swamp Reclamation Act leads to filling northern wetlands of San Dieguito river mouth and construction of a golf course.

1924 Historic Leandro Osuna Adobe house purchased by A.H. Barlow. Rehabilitated by Lilian Rice and presently owned by the Rancho Santa Fe Association. Dedicated as a local historical landmark in 2006.

1922 June 7 Groundbreaking for community of Rancho Santa Fe.

1920s US Navy establishes the San Dieguito landing field.

1918 Lake Hodges formed behind the dam by capture of San Dieguito River headwaters.

1917 US Navy acquires land for the airport site, north of Crest Canyon.

1916 Major flood leads to creation of Hodges dam.

1889 Map. US Coast and Geodetic Survey map. Topography of the Pacific Coast, Southward from the San Dieguito Valley CA shows that San Dieguito lagoon expanded more than a mile inland.

1882 Aug14 Southern California Rail Road service opens. First constriction of San Dieguito Lagoon river mouth.

1854 – 1884 Map of Township nb 14 South Range nb 4 west San Bernardino Meridian, examined and approved by the Surveyor general office San Francisco CA in 1884.
Northern section of the map shows part of Rancho San Dieguito.

1854 – 1876 Map of Township nb 14 South Range nb 3 west San Bernardino Meridian, examined and approved by the Surveyor general office San Francisco CA in 1876.
Records 538 acres of salt marshes at the mouth of the San Dieguito River

1850 California joins the United States.

1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo concludes the Mexican American war with the Mexican Government ceding all of California, Nevada and Utah and parts of other states to US. Mexican land grants to be honored.

1846 Dec. 6 Mule Hill Battle. Mexican American war event . America soldiers were attacked by Californios, descendants of Mexican and Spanish colonists. Leandro Osuna, who had shot to death a captain of the U.S. Dragoons in the Battle of San Pasqual, committed suicide in the Osuna family home.

1846 June 14 Bear Flag raised at Sonoma. Proclamation of California Republic.

1840 Juan Maria Osuna obtains the 88,824 acres of Rancho San Dieguito: land grant from the Mexican government. Later this became Rancho Santa Fe.

Between 1833 and 1845 Mexican Government deeds part of Rancho San Dieguito land grant to Juan Maria Osuna, first mayor of San Diego. Site of future community of Rancho Santa Fe.

1833 Secularization Act passed by Mexican Congress. Beginning of the end of missions period and opening of “ranchos” era.

1821-1848 Mexico declares independence from Spain. California under Mexican rule.

1789 Gaston de Portolà, leader of Spanish expedition to open a land route to Monterey, CA and confirm Spain’s sovereignty claims in Alta California. Juan Crespi’s diary is the first written record of the crossing of the San Dieguito River Valley.

9000 to 1789 Archeological evaluations document occupation of the San Dieguito Valley by native Americans with oral tradition but no written culture.

9000 BC Partial skeleton on Scripps Bluff documents earliest human occupation in San Dieguito River Valley.


San Dieguito River Park by the Numbers

Updated: June 25 2010 - as of 2012 some of this material is out-of-date.

Watershed: 221,440 acres; 346 sq. miles

Focused Planning Area: 94,000 acres including Guejito basin

San Dieguito River Park and other publicly owned lands: about 50,000 acres

Total Del Mar Fairgrounds Property: 405 acres
       350 acres  Fairgrounds & Race Track West of I-5
        65 acres Del Mar Horse Park East of I-5

San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration: by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric Company

Coastal Commission Permit conditions: 150 acres net wetland to be restored of which:

• 115 acres of wetlands
• 35 acres wetland credit for keeping the inlet open in perpetuity
• extra amount of wetland was restored (4:1 ratio) to mitigate for berms

Trail Miles when completed:  80 miles plus.
         Coast-to-Crest Trail will be 55-60 miles.

Trail Miles built to date:  60 miles of which about 34 miles are part of Coast-to-Crest trail.

Number of bird species in watershed: 300 species

Dollars: San Diego Lagoon restoration by Southern California Edison: $86 M

River Park land purchases:   $ 37,700,000.  

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