Mission Trails Regional Park Climbing Access Information
ACSD attended the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Task Force meeting on September 17, 2008 to voice our concerns over recent changes to the Mission Trails Regional Park Master Development Plan. The Master Plan is currently being updated with suggestions made by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for Mission Trails. The suggested language included text that specifically limits rock climbing to only one area of the park and would officially make it against park rules to climb anywhere else within the park limits. ACSD felt that this language was too restrictive and should be removed to allow for climbing in various areas throughout MTRP. A formal letter was submitted to the MTRP Task Force explaining our concerns.
We wish to thank the Task Force for being very receptive to our most recent suggestions by moving to modify the Master Plan language during their meeting. A motion was made by District 7 Councilman Jim Madaffer, Task Force Chair, to incorporate ACSD’s request to remove the restrictive language limiting climbing in the Mission Gorge area of the Park to the west facing side of Kwaay Paay only. Additional language was also included that should benefit the climbing community in the future. Primarily, that an upcoming Programmatic EIR (Environmental Impact Report) which is being done in conjunction with the MTRP Master Plan Updates WILL evaluate other climbing opportunities within Mission Trails Regional Park!
This is wonderful news, to say the least, and is the first step in building positive relationships with the MTRP Citizens Advisory Committee and park staff as we look to the future to create additional climbing opportunities within the park for “responsible” climbing use. Don’t plan on any of these additional climbing opportunities becoming available immediately, but do plan on rolling up our collective sleeves as there will be much work ahead of us in moving forward and assisting the park with the planning and operational logistics that will have to be worked on—together—to make these “opportunities” a reality!
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition. Your signatures—your voices—were heard yesterday, and answered!!!
Update: July 17, 2008
ACSD attended the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Task Force meeting on July 16, 2008 to voice our concerns over recent changes to the Mission Trails Regional Park Master Development Plan. The Master Plan is currently being updated with suggestions made by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for Mission Trails. The suggested language included text that specifically limits rock climbing to only one area of the park and would officially make it against park rules to climb anywhere else within the park limits. ACSD felt that this language was too restrictive and should be removed to allow for climbing in various areas throughout MTRP. A formal letter was submitted to the MTRP Task Force explaining our concerns.
On July 16, a group of ACSD members attended the Task Force Meeting to speak to the members about our concerns. After a lengthy discussion between task force members a motion was made not to approve the Master plan updates as recommended by the CAC, but to send the document back to the CAC for modification. The motion passed by the task force requested that the CAC work with ACSD to come up with language that is agreeable to both parties and includes a proper environmental review of rock climbing activities within the park. This environmental review will include analyzing climbing areas closed in 1999 to see if they can be re-opened. The task Force appears open to discussion and open to the idea that areas in the park may be reopened for hiking and climbing.
This is the first step in preventing climbing resources within the park from being closed off permanently. ACSD will continue to work with the MTRP CAC and Task Force in hopes that climbing areas within the park will be recognized as valuable recreational resources and will be open for all to enjoy.
A sub-committee is forming to work on the Mission Trails Climbing Resources issue. If you are interested please attend the next Allied Climbers of San Diego Member Meeting and join the subcommittee... If you can not attend the meeting please email access to see how else you can help.
Summary of Issue:
The Mission Trails Regional Park Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is in the process of updating the Mission Trails Regional Park Master Development Plan. Proposed updates to the Master Plan include language that would restrict rock climbing to the one main climbing area within the park (Main Mission Gorge Area off the climbers loop trail). ACSD and the Access Fund Regional Coordinator went to the Mission Trails Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on Jan 8, 2008, where we spoke about maintaining the option to use various parts of the park for climbing. We requested that the CAC remove language that would restrict climbing in other areas of the park. The CAC took a vote and voted approx 6-4 to limit climbing only to the one main cliff. This wording is being added to the Mission Trails master plan: http://www.mtrp.org/master_plan.asp
The CAC makes its recommendations to the Mission Trails Task Force, which then has to approve the changes. The Mission Trails Regional Park Task Force is meeting on July 16, 2008 to vote on the CAC’s recommended changes. ACSD is going to be at the Task Force meeting to let them know that we disagree with the CAC’s recommendations and would like the Task Force to reconsider approving the updates as written. ACSD has submitted a letter formally outlining our position on recreational restrictions in the park.
It has been the policy of the park since 1999 to limit climbing to the main cliff along the climbers loop trail, but it was never written into policy. The head ranger had said in 1999 that the various closures could be reconsidered in the future, but now that will not be possible once the closures are made permanent in the Master Plan.
Other climbing areas within the Park closed in 1999 without written or scientific justification include: the abandoned quarry in southwestern boundary of park, boulders along the San Diego River, the southern and east sides of Kwaay Paay mountain, (north of Mission Gorge Rd), the
north side of Pyles Peak (south of Mission Gorge Rd.), and the south side of South Fortuna Peak (north of Father Junipero Serra Rd).
The quarry in particular is a valuable climbing resource. There are about 15 good sport routes there from 35 to 70 feet long. The rock is more vertical, continuous, and has more holds and texture than the polished rock at the main cliff. It faces SE whereas the main cliff faces west, so they are shady at different times of the day. The quarry is located only about 20 yards north from a maintained dirt road in the park so it requires no new trails. The dirt road is lined with fencing. The river riparian zone is located on the south side of dirt road, so it is easily kept separate from the quarry. Since it is an abandoned quarry, the ground is already disturbed. The quarry forms a manmade alcove cut into the hillside, so it is not part of the main wildlife corridor along the river.
ACSD will continue to work on this issue in an attempt to appeal the recommendations of the CAC. We feel rock climbing is a passive, human powered, environmentally clean recreation activity that has not been scientifically linked to any negative effect on sensitive resources and native habitat found within MTRP. Rock climbing is enjoyed by many San Diegans and their families and, much like hiking, is absolutely compatible with the Mission Trails Regional Park’s founding language as a Community Park.
How can you help?
If you were not able to make it in person to the July 16th meeting, please write a personal letter to the Task Force members listed below. Tell them that The Park belongs to the community and as such, you strongly feel it should be managed to accommodate the needs of the community. Maintaining existing closure restrictions and adding additional restrictions on the use of the Public’s Park is an unbalanced approach to managing an urban community park. Ask the Task Force to remove Master Plan Update language that increases restrictions on climbing.
San Diego Councilmember Jim Madaffer
Chairman of MTRP Task Force
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 236-6677
Fax: (619) 238-1360
San Diego Councilmember Donna Frye
202 "C" Street, MS #10A
San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: (619) 236-6616
Fax: (619) 236-7329
County Supervisor Pam Slater
County Administration Center
1600 Pacific Highway, Room 335
San Diego, CA 92101
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob
County Administration Center
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101
Santee Councilmember Brian Jones
Santee City Hall
10601 Magnolia Ave.
Santee, CA 92071
La Mesa Councilmember Ruth Sterling
La Mesa City Hall
8130 Allison Avenue
La Mesa, CA 91941
MTRP Citizens' Advisory Committee Chair
Mission Trails Regional Park
One Father Junipero Serra Trail
San Diego, CA 92119