June 3rd, 2016

Bayside Birding & Walking Trail Ribbon Cutting Celebrates People, Partnerships, and Wildlife

By Lisa Cox, USFWS
Just in time for National Trails Day, a ribbon was cut for a brand new trail at the San Diego Bay NWR June 3, 2016.
Andy Yuen, Sam Schuchat, Supervisor Greg Cox, Mayor Serge Dedina, Victoria Touchstone
Photo by George Dowden 

The 0.4-mile long meandering trail parallel to the busy Bayshore Bikeway provides a safe place for walkers and birders to enjoy the beautiful view and sounds of the South Bay. Funded by a generous $510,000 grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy, this new trail will provide equitable access to folks of all kinds who live nearby, or are travelling from far away. Both neighbors and tourists can now peacefully witness the wildlife spectacle of migratory birds that breed and feed here, with observation decks and interpretive signage.

Over 70 people attended the ribbon cutting event, with speakers acknowledging the people and partners that made not only the trail possible, but the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge itself. Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina spoke of when he was a kid and how he has seen the south bay transform over his lifetime, and highlighted people such as Mike and Patricia McCoy (now President and board members for the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association), and Jim Peugh (San Diego Audubon Society) who fought for this place to be protected and saved.

County Supervisor Greg Cox also touched on the development of the refuge, but also the connectivity of the trail to the Bayshore Bikeway system that encircles the refuge, and the conservation efforts of nearby Tijuana River Valley. “This part of San Diego is ground zero for not only resource protection for the bird species on the pacific flyway that rest here, but also the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park which also has a new trail system we are celebrating next Saturday June 11,” he said. Executive Officer Sam Schuchat of the Coastal Conservancy said, “I can’t think of anything that better exemplifies what we do and who we are than this project: wetland restoration and public access. In a city, Imperial Beach, that has embraced its environmental possibilities, next to an elementary school where hopefully the kids will occasionally be let outside to study real biology, instead of book biology.”

This particular area will indeed be used for field trips for nearby elementary schools. Where students can dive into applied science outdoors, while people walking by observe their neighborhood transforming into a flourishing place for both people and wildlife.

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