By Jess Winans
The shovels were lined out on Thursday, July 19 for the groundbreaking ceremony of a new ranger station at Mission Trails Regional Park.
The addition of the station serves as the conclusion of the East Fortuna Staging Area developments which began in 2004. The original developments included parking spaces for 47 cars and 15 horse trailers, 12 picnic sites and four horse corrals.
While the original developments benefited the Mission Trails community, rangers still worked in very crowded trailers or offices in the visitors center. This new station aims to solve that problem by adding office spaces for the 13 rangers that currently work at Mission Trails.
“There will be a small area where you can go in and pick up brochures so the public can come in and get information, but it’s [the new ranger station] mainly for park staff,” said Dorothy Leonard, one of the original founding members of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.
The new ranger station will also feature artwork by Encanto resident and artist Roman de Salvo who previously designed a playground for the city of San Jose and the Riparium public art at Ruocco Park north of Seaport Village.
“The trails inspired this work,” de Salvo said. “I’m a trail user here and I’m really into the trails, the river and wanting to celebrate the trails and the water here. We came up with this idea of how to create an abstract rendition of the park in a sculpture.”
The project totals a $6,638,550 investment — $867,540 from the Mission Trails Regional Park Antenna Fund; $4,071,010 from the city’s Environmental Growth Fund; and a $1.5 million donation from the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.
“We’ve been trying for a long time to preserve and promote nature in a very urban environment like San Diego,” County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar said. “If people haven’t been out here, they need to get here right away because this is a jewel for San Diego, it’s a hidden gem.”
Construction of the new ranger station began on Aug. 6 and is set to be completed next summer.
For more information about the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation or the New Ranger Station, visit mtrp.org.
— Jess Winans is the editorial assistant for SDCNN, parent company of Mission Times Courier. Reach her at email@example.com.