Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation news – July 21, 2017

By Jay Wilson

The best

Thank you to the readers of San Diego Family Magazine for voting Mission Trails Regional park the “Best Place to Connect with Nature” for 2017. Here is a quote from their June issue:

Bring the kids and explore one of the largest urban parks in the United States and original home to the native Kumeyaay people. Enjoy more than 60 miles of hiking trails, guided Family Nature Walks, horseback riding, animal sightings and more.”

(l to r) Incoming MTRP Foundation Executive Director Leslie Perkins; SDG&E Community Relations Manager Morgan Justice-Black and outgoing MTRP Foundation Executive Director Jay Wilson. (Courtesy MTRPF)

Explore Mission Trails Day

The 15th and very successful final Explore Mission Trails Day (EMTD) was held at the East Fortuna Staging Area (EFSA) on May 21.

We want to thank our sponsors: City of San Diego Special Promotional Program, County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program, Republic Services Inc., Superior Ready Mix, REI, Lightspeed Outdoors, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, and in-kind donations from San Diego Family Magazine and San Diego Community News Network.

This was the final EMTD as construction of a new administration building is scheduled to be underway in 2018 at the East Fortuna Staging Area where the event was held.

Photo contest

The 25th annual Amateur Photo Contest, sponsored by San Diego Family Magazine, has just concluded. Their promotion helped generate entries from a whole new group of amateur photographers.

The Visitor Center Gallery was filled with 115 spectacular photographs on the walls of the Gallery. For the first time, 50 digital entry photographs were rotated on a 40-inch monitor.

You may view the winning photographs on our website; go to and click on Amateur Photo Contest under “More News.”

The 26th annual Amateur Photo Contest is not that far away.

Summer camp

The final summer camp, “Nature Detectives,” for children 6 to 12, will be held Aug. 7–11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MTRP Visitor Center.

Children will enjoy exploring the park with Alicia Berg, the MTRP Foundation Education Program Instructor, and learn all about the fascinating plants, animals, and bugs that live in Mission Trails. Science, plus natural history and more!

The cost of the camp is $125 per child. Go to our home page at, and scroll down under “More News” for more information and registration forms. For additional questions about the summer camp, email Alicia Berg, at

Let’s go camping!

The Kumeyaay Lake Campground is open Friday and Saturday nights. The cost is $24 per night. For more information and registration, go to and click on Campground at the top of the home page.

A fond farewell, a pass of the baton

For the past nine-plus years, I have been writing articles for this publication while serving as the first executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation. This is my last article as I am retiring from the MTRP Foundation as of Aug. 11.

The baton is being passed to Leslie Perkins who will assume the position as executive director. I have known and worked with Leslie for many years in the community, the city of San Diego, and Mission Trails.

Leslie and her husband Johnnie and son Loren live in San Carlos. For the past 20 years, Leslie has been traversing the trails in the park and has assisted with fundraising as far back as 2002.

My greatest satisfaction in serving as executive director was implementing the foundation’s education fieldtrip program developed by Alicia Berg, our Education Program Instructor, and securing the grant funding through San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s Environmental Champions program.

Over the past eight years, more than 35,000 students and members of youth groups from throughout San Diego County have participated in this fieldtrip program. Morgan Justice-Black, the Community Relations Manager for SDG&E, stopped by recently and presented the MTRP Foundation with another SDG&E Environmental Champions Grant for $25,000 to help fund our education program for the 2017/18 school year.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve the MTRP Foundation, its board of directors and staff, and to work with the very dedicated rangers and support staff of the city of San Diego, and more than 125 outstanding volunteers who last year donated over 13,000 hours of their time and expertise to MTRP. Please continue to enjoy MTRP and to support the MTRP Foundation.

—Jay Wilson is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation. Reach him at

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