County residents who love to hike and tiny endangered birds got new spaces to stretch their feet and wings Wednesday when San Diego County Supervisors approved adding new park land in Otay Valley and the Rancho Santa Fe – 4S Ranch area.
In separate actions, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved adding 15.65 acres of stream-and-forest land into the Otay Valley Regional Park, and 31.15 acres of land including sensitive southern maritime chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitat to the Lusardi Creek Preserve.
The new park land will provide protected refuge for the California gnatcatcher — the 4 ½ inch-long, blue-gray non-migratory songbird that is on the federal endangered species list and one of hundreds of birds, plants, animals and habitats protected under the County’s Multiple Species Conservation Program. It will also set aside valuable riparian wetland area as well as southern maritime chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitat.
The acquisitions will also allow new hiking trails to be created for County residents. The property in the Lusardi Creek Preserve is expected to feature new trails that will ultimately connect with the San Dieguito River Park trail system, a project that will eventually connect a trail system that stretches from Del Mar to Volcan Mountain north of Julian.
The 15.65 acres in the Otay Valley Regional Park will provide a potential connection point for existing trails running through that park area. The Otay Valley Regional Park, located in unincorporated County, City of San Diego and City of Chula Vista property, is run, designed and maintained by all three governments under a Joint Powers Agreement. The new County-acquired land will eventually be managed by the City of San Diego.