The Rancho Santa Fe Association is providing a crucial missing link through Rancho Santa Fe in the San Dieguito River Park’s Coast to Crest Trail, a 70-mile connection between the beaches of Del Mar to Volcan Mountain in Julian.
In order to make the connections in the Coast to Crest Trail, the River Park has worked to secure property and easements over the past several years. Today, more than 45 miles of the trail are complete and open to the public.
“This is the single most important parks and recreation initiative in the last 20 years,” said board member Philip Wilkinson. “It is phenomenal, and this is really important that we cooperate” with the River Park.
Rancho Santa Fe Association associate planner Larry Roberts said the easement is a tiny piece on the 88-acre Arroyo Property, open space land that the Association purchased in the late 1990s. While owned by the Association, the easement in question along the southern edge of the property is not within the Covenant.
The easement extends 1,400 feet and is 12 feet wide, connecting this portion of the Coast to Crest to Escondido. The trail will not interfere with the RSF Association trail of wood chips and organic mulch that runs parallel to the easement.
The Association’s trail committee came up with some conditions to place on the easement so that it can be revoked in the event that any conditions are not addressed.
Roberts said the biggest issue is maintenance and how to limit outsiders’ access to the Association. Access to the Covenant would be limited by barriers, fencing, rocks to stop vehicle passage and the natural topography — the steep embankments make it pretty difficult to leave the trail, Roberts said.
The Association will also not permit any grading of the trail.
“The trail gets quite steep, and they would prefer it to not be so steep, but we don’t want them to come in and grade,” Roberts said.
Any further improvements to the easement would require approval by the Association’s Covenant Design Review Committee.