Getting closer and closer to the beach

A small but vital piece of land sandwiched between the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the mouth of the San Dieguito River represents one of the last links in the Reach-the-Beach campaign.

The parcel, already acquired by the San Dieguito River Valley Joint Powers Authority (JPA), was the focus of a recent site visit by the Trails Committee of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee to the JPA Board.

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Because this trail segment currently is unused, JPA staff would like the area to serve as a placeholder park demonstrating the River Park’s intentions to complete the trail while in the meantime allowing public use of the land. The tail end of this trail segment will eventually form the western gateway of the C2C Trail, similar to the eastern gateway at Vulcan Mountain defined by an art installation by James Hubbell, the distinguished San Diego artist, sculptor, and architect. A similar marker is being considered for the western terminus that will form an interim turnaround point for trail users until a rail bridge and platform are built allowing passage to the beach.

The trail segment will be accessed from Jimmy Durante Drive on the east (currently through a locked gate requiring special permission from the Fairgrounds) and follow the river bank toward the ocean. The west end now is blocked by the railroad. Eventually the tracks will be elevated to accommodate a seasonal platform for fair-bound passengers while allowing the C2C Trail to connect to the beach. For the time being, there is a crude 20-foot-wide path alongside the fairgrounds bordered by a low, split-rail fence. It’s unclear when the public will actually be able to enjoy this temporary park, so stay tuned.