Though walkable since February, the trail is now and 100 percent complete.
In an area that was previously a bucolic labyrinth of trails pounded out by intrepid explorers along the San Diego River, there now stands a handsome-looking, fenced trail. It cuts through the 43-acre Carlton Oaks Preserve, a natural habitat that is "thickly wooded and features nature interpretive signs, benches and scenic views of river ponds with duck and other wildlife," located between Carlton Oaks Boulevard and Carlton Oaks Golf Course.
City leaders, including Councilmembers Rob McNelis and John Minto, outdoor enthusiasts and groups that helped bring about the trail, like the San Diego River Conservancy and the San Diego River Foundation came together on Wednesday afternoon to dedicate the new trail.
Work on this project began in October, and it includes a trail head, a half-mile-long walking trail, shade shelter, an informational kiosk and signs. The project came at no direct cost to the city and was made possible by a $406,000 grant from the state River Parkways Grant Program.
"There were no general fund or tax dollars used for this," said City of Santee Director of Community Services Bill Maertz.
The trail peters out at the Santee city boundary at the Carlton Oaks Golf Course, which is owned by the city of San Diego. Project Manager Steve Miller and Maertz indicated that Santee is working with San Diego and the San Diego River Conservancy to create a trail easement around the course that would connect to , connecting trails along the river from deep East County to the rest of San Diego. Another grant would need to be garnered in order for this to work, according to Miller.
This is all part of the city's conceptual plan, which is a long term plan that involves maximization of public use, flood protection of surrounding areas and the creation of bicycle and pedestrian corridors along both sides of the river.