By Rob Hutsel
The San Diego River Park Foundation continues to grow as one of our region’s largest environmental nonprofits dedicated to taking local action. Most people know it for its efforts to organize the community to remove trash from in and along the San Diego River. Some also know about its efforts to conserve open spaces in the upper reaches of the river’s watershed.
In May, the organization switches gears a bit to host a celebration of the San Diego River and invite people to come explore different nature opportunities and other fun experiences.
2017 will be the 14th edition of San Diego River Days. This year, the River Park Foundation features 35 free activities over a two-weekend period — May 12–14 and 19–21.
The idea for San Diego River Days came from Glenn Torbett and the Friends of Ruffin Canyon as a member of the San Diego River Coalition, a collection of groups and organizations with a common interest in the San Diego River. The event was initially conceived as a day-long celebration of the San Diego River so people could learn about the dozens of organizations which are part of the coalition.
The San Diego River Park Foundation took the lead on the very first River Days and it has grown ever since.
I have been part of every River Days and it is a real neat opportunity to experience the river with some very experienced people to guide you.
The hikes, bike rides and walks provide some insight that participants may not normally receive. There are also some fun and unique events, too. This year is no exception. Besides our organization, there are dozens of other groups hosting events, and they are an important part of the River Days story.
Hikes to remote areas in the headwaters, bike rides, native plant workshops, guided river trail walks, river cleanups, habitat restoration events, and more! Some of the events include:
- San Diego River Days kick off at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach in partnership with Friends of Dog Beach and the San Diego River Park Foundation.
- A petting zoo, pony rides, river crafts and other activities at and hosted by the Mission Valley Branch Library.
- The Backpackers’ Swap Meet at the Grantville location of A-16.
- A huge river cleanup near Fashion Valley.
- Dr. Norrie Robbins will lead a Geology and Ethnobotany Guided Discovery at Mission Valley’s San Diego River Garden.
- And last, but certainly not least, on Sunday, May 21, river-lovers will join at Bottlecraft Liberty Station for a San Diego River Days happy hour from 1–4 p.m.
The best way to receive additional information about the activities is to visit sandiegoriver.org.
Next year, even more activities are planned. Of course, this event isn’t possible without its sponsors who underwrite some of the costs to host this free event. My thanks to sponsors Think Blue San Diego, Civita and Sudberry Properties, KPBS, and San Diego Metropolitan Credit Union. Any businesses or organizations who are interested in supporting or being part of next year’s River Days are encouraged to contact the San Diego River Park Foundation.
We hope to see you at River Days!
—Rob Hutsel is CEO of the San Diego River Park Foundation. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.