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La jolla’s Historic Coast Walk Trail

La Jolla walkway
Orchid Icon  Orchid
  Landscape Architecture

THE KUMEYAAY WALKED IT  thousands of years; followed by the settlers in the late 1800’s and now people from around the world. Today, San Diegans will find historic Coast Walk Trail along La Jolla bluffs which runs about half a mile and 100 feet above the shoreline. The meandering trail offers expansive ocean views, wildflower and wildlife sightings, and a reprieve from the bustle of daily life.

Coast Walk Trail is a national treasure that was designated a historic cultural landscape by the City of San Diego in 1990. It is also a neighborhood gem, embraced by those fortunate to live nearby and benefit from its refreshment and beauty. When the sloping trail was noticeably deteriorating from increased use, soil erosion, overgrown invasive species, and lack of city funding, a group of neighbors formed the non-profit 505c3, Friends of Coast Walk Trail(FoCWT) in partnership with the owner of the Cave Store curio shop Shannon Smith to tackle the maintenance of this endangered resource. The nonprofit got to work, coordinating their efforts with city departments, local community boards, service groups, and residents.

Initial improvements  was accomplished right away, starting in 2016 it took four years to acquire a second, more extensive work permit. In 2020, when FOCWT acquired the second permit the more comprehensive restoration plan was delayed when the pandemic closed all public trails. FoCWT used the down time for community outreach, fundraising, and resident engagement, after all, immersing in nature is a prescription for good health and well-being.

When the work resumed, the volunteers and city approved contractor Black Sage Environmental repaired the dirt trail surface, added a top layer of decomposed granite to  prevent runoff and incorporated several water mitigation techniques to better manage soil erosion. FoCWT focus is on  “repair and replace,”  in an effort to create a trail experience as close to what the Kumeyeey and settlers experienced in times past.  Accordingly, they have spent the past two years removing overgrowth, planting native vegetation including endangered Torrey Pines, improving views, repairing wooden railings, fences, and an updated view platform.

FOCWT conductes Coast Walk Trail Walks and Talks for residents and community clean up efforts. To help educate the public about this unique coastal asset are signs the FoCWT installed with a QR code that connects to their website sharing information about the trail’s history and notable features including a self guided history hike.

These improvements have been made possible by many contributions, physical and financial, from the neighborhood, and additional support from community members and organizations. The Bishop’s School Community Service Team formed the Bishop’s Trail Squad, an effort that was later joined by students from the rival La Jolla High School. La Jolla Sunrise Rotary organized a “Walk for the Trail” event, and six completed La Jolla Troop #4 Eagle Scout projects.

Orchids and Onions will not be disappointed in your acknowledgment of the board FoCWT Brenda Fake, Dr. Paul Teirstein, Carolyn Edds, Erin McConkey, Shannon Smith and the community of the many “friends” for taking the initiative to improve and preserve one of our region’s natural gems. The ongoing labor and successful fundraising attest to the fastidious organization and infectious enthusiasm that has spread throughout
La Jolla and beyond. This group has stabilized, beautified, and “given back” a precious natural resource to San Diegans and visitors alike and  created a strong model for preservation partnerships other communities can replicate.

To learn more and see for yourself the before and after photos go to the following pages:

Friends of Coast Walk website https://www.friendsofcoastwalk.org
Friends of Coast Walk facebook page https://facebook.com/friendsofcoastwalktrail
Friends of Coast YouTube channel https://youtube.com/channel/UCRn6bRaAeAqMGzscDokMDYg

1500 Block of Coast Walk from Torrey Pines Road to 1325 Coast Blvd. - Cave Sjop

Project Owner/Developer:
Friends of Coast Walk Trail

Contact Name/Email:
Brenda Fake - befake@aol.com

Project Architect/Designer:
Black Sage Environmental / Jason Allen & Brenda Fake

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