OUTDOORS ISSUES & CONCERNS

A quick alert to be careful about heading out on our trails as it’s not  like walking around the block. Wear good walking shoes for good grip, be careful to not stumble (a walking stick is often a good aid, especially when up and down hill hikes), be  prepared for the heat, and go with knowledgeable leaders in the back country. Finally, understand that Tom Leech has no liability for troubles on the trails.

Here are some past key issues of concern.  Will be updated ahead. Please feel free to contact us with any issues or concerns you may have at outdoorssd@aol.com.

BORDER FENCE DENIGRATES VALUABLE STATE PARK.

Have you visited Border Field State Park lately? Ever? Most people have not, yet it offers a most interesting visual and recreational treat. It is the most southwest corner of the county, in fact the whole country, bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the north by the Tijuana Estuary, and to the south Playas Tijuana, Baja California. Take a look before the in-work border fence goes in. Right now you can stand right at the fence and landmark for where the border was established.

A short holler away is Plaza Monumental, the bullfight ring, and on Sunday afternoons in mid year you can hear the music and cheers to remind you of that old Herb Alpert classic song (actually recorded in the downtown bullring a few decades back). The lively beach life of Playas de Tijuana is right there also. Stroll the beach (U.S. side only that is) or enjoy a picnic from tables overlooking the ocean. Survey the info kiosks and check out the birds at the Estuary (even restrooms). Now, having enjoyed it immensely, picture this immense new double (triple?) wall that is poised to go in and totally wipe out much of the park. Can it be saved? Maybe, with some serious letters and calls to Congress. To get there, drive I-5 south almost to the border, take Dairy Mart Road exit west to Monument Road and over to the ocean.

Much discussed has been the in-process fence along the border with Mexico. Lesser-discussed and considered is what damage that might do to the natural areas there. Depending on what finally is chosen, with Congress having said the Feds can, in this area, ignore long-required environmental damage studies as well as State and local planning requirement, damage there can be severe. The most-portrayed option has been the 3-fences one, with roads for border protection vehicles to pursue illegals, and taking land from the border to 150 feet north. In a conversation with a State Park official, one option for Border Field State Park would be to position the major fence(s) at the north edge of the park’s Monument Mesa (i.e. not right at the border which would effectively wipe out the park). Seems fraught with problems, such as how would park and nature lovers actually get to the parking and picnic area located right at the border. Effects on the Tijuana Estuary with the 3-fence plan would be severe.
Some recent comments:
– From Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff: “An impenetrable wall or fence spanning the entire border is not practical or affordable…We’re going to have a smart fence, not a stupid fence–a 21st century fence, not a 19th century fence.” (National Defense February 2006)
– Governor Schwarzenegger says building a 700-mile wall “would amount to going back to the stone ages.” LA Times, 4/24/2006.

BATTLE TO SAVE STATE PARK LAND CONTINUES…

The issue is the threat from an Orange County Toll Road to San Onofre State Park and San Mateo State Campground. The proposed toll road would start near the highly-visible San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and head northeast, causing major problems for Trestles Beach, the San Mateo Creek Trail and the campground with its 155 lovely campsites.
The State Park & Rec Commission November 2006 meeting was attended by over 1000 people, most supporters of the park and opposed to the toll road. Result: the Commission voted against the toll road going through the park. More recently the California Coastal Commission, at an event, with over 3000 people attending, voted against the toll road.