Outdoor enthusiasts may soon have a new connection between San Diego’s Mission Trails Regional Park and Goodan Ranch Park in Poway via a trail planned as part of the Castlerock housing development on the Santee-San Diego border being considered by the San Diego City Council Monday.
This new link would create opportunities for hikers, bicycle enthusiasts and others to enjoy a network of existing multi-use paths and recreational spaces in the surrounding area. In addition, the trail would be complemented by other recreational features of the project including a four-acre neighborhood park and smaller pocket parks throughout the development.
“The Castlerock community has been designed to be respectful of the natural environment and emphasize open space, energy efficiency, habitat preservation and trail access," said Jimmy Ayala, Director of Community Development for Pardee Homes.
“Through the incorporation of outdoor project amenities, Castlerock residents will have ample opportunities to engage with the natural environment and lead healthy, active lifestyles.”
In addition to the trail and recreational features of Castlerock, about 95 acres, nearly 50 percent of the project site, will be dedicated as permanently protected, natural open space that is consistent with the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP). The MSCP is a comprehensive program to preserve more than 900 acres of natural habitat and open space in San Diego County that make up the unique biodiversity of the region.
Project plans include the protection of five existing seasonal vernal pools that are located within the open space area of the Castlerock site and the restoration of 11 wetland areas adjacent to the existing vernal pools to support fairy shrimp and other vernal flora. Vernal pools are seasonal wetlands that support vegetation and wildlife species and are considered a valuable environmental resource.
Preserve Wild Santee has voiced their concern about impacts to wildlife in the Sycamore Canyon area at the project site, and Coastkeepers has highlighted the issue of impacts to the endangered San Diego Ferry Shrimp in vernal pools near and within the project site, saying that not enough protection is being given to the pools and they are too close to proposed homes.
The San Diego Planning Commission has recommended approval of the project and the San Diego City Council will consider the project on Monday.
A Pardee Homes press release contributed to this post.