|The trail will be on the north side of the SD River|
The city of Santee is moving forward on plans to develop another portion of the San Diego River Trail.The newest segment will be a 1.3-mile-long path along the newly named Walker Preserve, a 107-acre parcel located between Magnolia Avenue and the city’s eastern border with Lakeside.
The property recently was acquired with grants obtained by the San Diego River Conservancy and transferred to the city of Santee in December.Before opening it for public use, the city wants to build a parking lot, along with a trail head, information kiosk and trash receptacles. A rest room is also being considered.
Fencing and signage must be installed to protect wildlife habitat and keep the public from wandering off the trail. The proposed 14-foot-wide trail will meander along the alignment of the unpaved haul road previously used for a sand mining operation.With fencing or other design featueres, the trail will be segregated from the western portion of the property, which is leased by RCP Block & Brick for storage of aggregate material.
“We need to develop this trail in a way that preserves habitat for endangered species and makes the experience enjoyable for the public,” said Community Services Director Bill Maertz.One of the reasons the site was purchased is to preserve habitat along the river that supports three endangered bird species.
The trail has been included in the city’s long-term capital improvement program, but the project will probably take a year or longer to complete."We thank the public for their patience while we gather funding and design a plan to develop this trail the right way,” Maertz said. “We want to ensure the public can safely use the trail and that sensitive habitat for endangered species is protected.”