News from the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation – Oct. 21

By Jay Wilson

Summer recap

During the summer, the Visitor Center enjoyed a facelift on the second floor of the Exhibit Hall with the unveiling of two new exhibits:

The “Wonderful Wildlife of Mission Trails,” with its two 42-inch touchscreen monitors depicting spectacular photographs and information for a wide variety of the wildlife of Mission Trails from the elusive mountain lion to the beautiful monarch butterfly.

And the “Flying Embers – The Hidden Threat” exhibit with a video emphasizing the real threat of embers from wildland fires that can travel over five miles before being blown into your attic. Make sure you travel up the ramps and check out these marvelous new exhibits.

The summer ended with three beautiful weddings and two very special 50th wedding anniversary celebrations as private party evening events in the Visitor Center and on the Terrace overlooking the tranquility of Mission Gorge. When you are looking for that unique venue for a special event such as a wedding, a corporate event, a fundraiser, a celebration of life, or a retirement party, the Mission Trails Visitor Center is the place to be. Contact Maggie Holloway in the MTRP Foundation office at 619-668-3280 or email her at

Art in the Park

The Fifth Annual Art in the Park Fine Art Exhibition — featuring 48 pieces of juried artwork, all of Mission Trails, that includes landscapes, animals, plants and history — is on display through Nov. 4 in the Visitor Center Gallery. Each piece of fine art is for sale and 30 percent of each sale benefits the MTRP Foundation. The media include: acrylics, ceramics, colored pencils, oils, pastels, pencil/ink, photography, watercolors, and more.

5-Peak Challenge

The 5-Peak Challenge continues to be very popular. As we go to press, nearly 4,000 individuals have been officially registered as having successfully completed the 5-Peak Challenge. The record, for the nearly 16 miles of trails is 2 hours and 22 minutes, accomplished by a 100-mile ultra-marathoner who has run trails in the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal.

Halloween Spooktacular

Frost is not on the pumpkins just yet at Mission Trails, but our free Sixth Annual Halloween Spooktacular will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the MTRP Amphitheater.

There may be just the teeniest bit of a shiver. That’s what storyteller Harlynne Geisler promises when she tells her not-too-spooky tales for children ages 3 to 93. The Halloween Spooktacular is free and is again sponsored by Team Northcutt Realtors.

There is Halloween fun for everyone! Children are encouraged to come in costume, and each child will receive a bag of Halloween treats. Seating is limited (150 seats), and it will be first come, first served.

Free concerts at the Visitor Center

On Oct. 30, renowned guitarist Fred Benedetti returns to the Visitor Center Theater; which is then followed on Nov. 6 by the San Diego Clarinet Quintet. All the concerts begin at 3 p.m. Please remember that seating is limited to 93, and the Fire Marshall does not allow individuals to stand during the concert.

Guitarist Fred Benedetti returns to the Mission Trails Visitor Center Theater on Oct. 30. (

Guitarist Fred Benedetti returns to the Mission Trails Visitor Center Theater on Oct. 30. (

Arbor Day

The park’s annual Arbor Day will be celebrated on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Oak Grove Loop on the east side of Father Junipero Serra Trail across from the Visitor Center. For a donation of $100 you may plant a tree. Check our website under “More News” for more information and the Arbor Day Tree donation form. In order to ensure that trees are available for all donors to plant, please make your donation by Nov. 21, 2016.

Thank you

There are always people and organizations to thank for their involvement and support for MTRP and/or the MTRP Foundation. The MTRP Foundation recently received an Environmental Champions Grant for $25,000 from SDG&E to provide educational fieldtrips for students and youth groups for the 2016/17 school year. This year it also includes an opportunity for a one-night educational fieldtrip for sixth-graders attending a school in the San Diego Unified School District.

We also thank Jeff Clemetson, the editor of this publication, the Mission Valley News and La Mesa Courier; Deanna Spehn, the editor and publisher of the Tierra Times; East County Herald photojournalist Jay Renard and Dee Dean, its publisher; and Don Teemsma, president of Ideal Plumbing, Heating, Air and Electrical for his company’s continued support of MTRP and the MTRP Foundation.

Visit our website at anytime. There is always an adventure waiting for you at Mission Trails!

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

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