Adobe Falls problem moving slowly toward solution

Posted: October 21st, 2016 | Allied Gardens, Communities, News, Top Stories | No Comments

by Doug Curlee | Editor-at-Large

Access to controversial party area may be cut off this winter

For more years than anyone wants to remember, San Diego State students, and many others, have invaded the Adobe Falls area of Alvarado Creek between College Avenue and Waring Road.

People have combined partying with more graffiti painting on the rocks of the falls than anyone could have imagined. Efforts have been proposed to clean the years of paint off the rocks and return them to their natural look, but those efforts have run afoul of various environmental concerns over further polluting the creek itself.

After years of complaints from Del Cerro residents on the north side of Interstate 8, SDSU has now finally almost completed a 200-foot long fence that runs along a foot path beginning at the terminus of Mill Peak Road. No one is saying that will end the trespassing on San Diego State property, but what it will do is make the illegal hike to the Falls a whole lot more difficult to accomplish.

A fence has been built and “No Trespassing” signs posted along the access points to Adobe Falls. (Photo by Doug Curlee)

A fence has been built and “No Trespassing” signs posted along the access points to Adobe Falls. (Photo by Doug Curlee)

Greg Block, chief communications officer for SDSU, is the only one allowed to speak on the issue, which is an indication of how long this has been hanging fire and angering area residents.

Some wanted the whole SDSU-owned acreage in the canyon fenced, which isn’t really an option, since just 200 feet of fence set the school back more than $82,000.

“Our property is pretty large,” Block said. “Our property line extends well beyond the end of the fence. We are trying to make it long enough to create a barrier both physically and visually.”

Time will tell how much good the fence does in stopping trespassers.

The other part of the problem is a tunnel running underneath Interstate 8, feeding water flows from the school and adjacent areas down to Alvarado Creek, so it can flow on into the San Diego River, and eventually out to sea.

The problem is twofold. Students, and others, have used the tunnel over the years to go under the freeway and to the Adobe Falls area. It’s an incredibly dangerous route to take, for one thing.

For another, the tunnel is not under SDSU control — it belongs to Caltrans.

Block outlines the problem this way:

“We are in discussion with Caltrans about installing a grate of some sort that closes the tunnel. The concern is that when heavy rains come, the grate will get clogged and cause flooding. So, they are working on solutions around that.”

Caltrans spokesman Steve Shultz agrees with that appraisal, but warns not to expect a solution next week.

“We are working on the problem, and we are talking constantly with SDSU about it,” he said. “I’m not sure what we’ll come up with yet, but we are hoping to have something in the works this winter, if not the actual fix.”

—Doug Curlee is Editor-at-Large. Reach him at

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