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Old 04-12-08, 01:05 PM   #1
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Del Mar Mesa: Goodbye . . .

Pardee homes is going to start grading of the Del Mar Mesa area for development Monday. Ride it one last time this weekend if you can. I rode there this morning and there is already surveying marks and orange fencing up.

Here is a message I received today clarifying what will or will not be open during development:

I just met with Pardee and the grading contractor this morning and we
have good news.

"Side Hill" will remain open for the duration of the project.
Access will be provided by going to the end of Carmel Mountain Road,
past the construction trailer office where a trail will be delineated
with orange fence and signs behind the newest construction site up to
the power line tower, and follow the newly installed signs to "Side

Cobbles/Queens will remain open with a slight variation at the
entrance/exit onto Del Vino; ALL USERS will have to enter from the east
side of Del Vino on the d.g. path through the wooden bollards.

Shaw Valley Trail will be OPEN WEEKENDS ONLY (Saturday and Sunday).
This is a little more difficult to explain, but once all the work is
done and signs are in it should be easy to follow. The grading
contractor will be installing a road from the end of Carmel Mountain Rd.
winding east down into the valley and then back up to the mesa, this
would obviously cause an impassable berm; however they will install a
ramp on the north side of the berm from the trail that will be open on
weekends for equestrians and hikers to get up to the newly constructed
road, turn west toward Carmel Mountain Rd and link onto the new trail
access to "Side Hill". This will all be signed and fenced.

will be protecting vernal pools that are being restored, so it is very
important that you STAY OUT.

The developer assured me that trails are a high priority, they want to
get the grading done and the new trails in as soon as possible. The new
trail will go along the rim of the canyon and then a bit through the
neighborhood past and through the vernal pool sites that are being
preserved. It won't be the winding ups and downs that are there
now, but it will be a nice link between Cobbles and Side Hill/Shaw

Now I know there is concern that even though Cobbles and Side Hill are
open, having no way to connect by way of the mesa seemingly doesn't
do any good unless you live in the neighborhood. However, I have to
disagree with that view. Once you pop out of Cobbles, go out to Del
Vino and then down Del Mar Mesa Rd to the west (there are multi use
trails along the road, or just ride the road) until you get to Carmel
Country Rd go south up the hill to Carmel Mountain Rd and turn east to
the end where you can access Side Hill. I know it's not Open Space,
but you'll get a good work out and it is a great loop. Also, you
can access the Neighborhood 10 trails and "Eucalyptus" from
Carmel Country Road. It will be something new…

I really want to emphasize again how important it is to not build/cut
any new trails through the open space areas. This is a transition we
all have to deal with, so let's make it as easy and uneventful as

Please pass this email on to everyone you know that uses the Del Mar
Mesa trails so they won't be caught off guard Monday morning when
they go out for their daily run. Thanks, BE SAFE AND HAVE FUN.

Gina Washington

Senior Park Ranger

City of San Diego, Open Space Division

858.538.8066 (PH)

858.536.8334 (FAX)
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Old 04-15-08, 02:14 PM   #2
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Destruction almost complete

It's taken more than ten years for Pardee Destruction, Inc., but their final solution to the once peaceful and vibrant habitat that was Del Mar Mesa is almost complete. My final ride from east to west across the already scarred landscape was in April 1999. I haven't had the heart to return since. Peacemeal preservation/restoration of isolated vernal pool areas amounts to too little too late. The microsystem is dead and those small areas to be "preserved" will eventually succumb due to isolation from the rest of the system. Ignorance and greed have triumphed once again. As it is with the other coastal sage habitat that has been lost to the obsolete and discredited paradigm of leapfrog urban sprawl, the quiet undulation of springtime wildflowers in the ocean breeze, the fishhook mammilaria and barrel cacti, the dudleyas, the multitudinous birds and reptiles, rabbits and fieldmice will live on in my memory. We're going to have some serious explaining to do to future generations whose legacy has been squandered for short term gain. "Having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art anyone could ever hope to own." -Andy Warhol
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Old 04-15-08, 02:21 PM   #3
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Who's going to be the first here to give up their home and live off the land. Remember, where you live was at one time "pristine" also.
Ralph (not Ralphie) on a Roubaix in
Huntington Beach, CA
& Iron Horse Maverick 5.5
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Old 04-15-08, 03:08 PM   #4
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When my house was built in 1924, there were still enormous expanses of undisturbed coastal sage habitat, coastal mesas, and vernal pools in Southern California. In 2008, almost all of it is gone forever. Only that privately owned land that is for some reason unbuildable remains. Even our precious state parks are under attack from the corporocracy. In 1924, lots were graded individually or a few at a time. The environmentally destructive practice of mass earth movement and total displacement of native topsoil didn't commence until after World War II (Levittown). By the early 1960's, a few forward thinking visionaries began to question the desirability and long-term ecological effects of mass grading from the standpoint of preservation of wildlife corridors to ensure the continued viability of interconnected microsystems. By this time, however, the financial relationship of land developers with local politicians had become so entrenched that academic opposition to the destructive practice of mass earth movement to create more and more of suburbia was already officially ignored if not actively resisted. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are starting to experience the end of the fossil fuel driven suburb/freeway paradigm, with its attendant pernicious effects on the health of both individuals and the environment. Naturally, as with any social upheaval, there are going to be folks who are uncomfortable with moving beyond this.

Finally, I and a few other locals share the unique perspective of actually having experienced the unquantifiable and priceless sensations of the silence and peace of undisturbed coastal sage ecosystems. As with other transcendental experiences, there is no way to describe it to those who have not felt it personally, so I cannot fault anyone for defending urban sprawl and the land use policies that allowed it. Growing up in San Diego County and watching for half a century as politicians permitted developers to commit wholesale destruction of what I held dear has been heartbreaking. Any sentient human who was in my place 50 years ago will know how I feel. I'm sorry you missed it.
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