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Happy trails: Encinitas celebrates new Trail 95 in Olivenhain

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear snips the ribbon with Councilmembers Tony Kranz, Joy Lyndes and Joe Mosca.
Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear snips the ribbon with Councilmembers Tony Kranz, Joy Lyndes and Joe Mosca.
(Karen Billing)

They came by horseback, by bike and on a morning walkabout with the dog to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Olivenhain’s newest trail, Trail 95.

The $837,394 project includes 920 feet of new, multi-use trail along El Camino Del Norte, just east of Windmill Ranch Road, framed by white split rail fencing. The trail segment also features a new crosswalk that allows users to safely cross the busy road with the push of a button to stop traffic with flashing beacons. The buttons are placed at both pedestrian and equestrian heights.

On Aug. 23, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear snipped the ribbon on the trail alongside City Councilmembers Tony Kranz, Joy Lyndes and Joe Mosca.

“This project is another example of our commitment to improving our residents’ quality of life,” Blakespear said. “Trails improve connectivity and mobility in our communities.”

Blakespear said she has been exploring Olivenhain’s “amazing” trail system recently on hikes and runs as her daughter has started running cross country in the area. She has been impressed by the trail network that has been developed over the years by many dedicated people in attendance that day, including city staff and members of the Encinitas Trails Coalition and Encinitas Parks and Recreation Commission.

The new crosswalk across El Camino Del Norte.
(Karen Billing)

Blakespear said it was important to take the time to celebrate the accomplishment, “It’s an opportunity to say: we didn’t have this before, it was just a remnant of the road that was not usable and now it’s a beautiful trail,” she said.

Outgoing Councilmember Mosca, representing the community of Olivenhain, said he is becoming nostalgic nearing the end of his term thinking about all of the things they have been able to get done over his six years on the council and two previous years on parks and rec.

The new Trail 95.
(Karen Billing)

“There are a lot of commitments and there are a lot of challenges and needs throughout the city and spending on millions of dollars on trails in Olivenhain is not always the thing that rises to the top,” Mosca said, thanking the mayor and the council for their support in making this connection possible.

Mosca said about two decades ago, the city pivoted from trails only being developed because they were a condition of a new development to actual strategic planning—taking inventory of existing trails and identifying the gaps in the system and planning to close those gaps.

Trail 95 was a little longer of a gap to close but it now makes a connection across the road down to Ellie’s Bridge, connecting to Lone Jack Trail and all of the trails it feeds into. The trail also now connects with the County of San Diego’s trail system and up to Rancho Santa Fe Road.

Mosca said about $1 million has been spent designing the future Rancho Santa Fe Road Trail (Trail 82), a future multi-use trail that will go along the east side of Rancho Santa Fe Road, connecting Encinitas Boulevard to El Camino Del Norte, allowing another gap to be closed. He is looking forward to that ribbon cutting some day.

The new Trail 95 is for recreation but it’s also a lot more than that, Mosca said. “It’s still about people riding their horses and people walking and jogging but it’s also now an opportunity for people to not have to take their car to take their kids to school, not have to congest the road,” Mosca said, which helps the environment and the quality of life for residents. “It’s part of what makes Encinitas a unique and wonderful place to live.”

“This is just a really special moment.”

Check out the Olivenhain Trails Map at encinitasca.gov/Trails

Snipping the ribbon on the new trail.
(Karen Billing)


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