On Tuesday, February 25th five Club members and three guests enjoyed a field trip to the new County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation Nature Center at their Santa Ysabel Preserve near Julian.

The Center is on an 84 acre parcel which was donated to the County by the Nature Conservancy in 2010.

Trish Boaz, the Executive Director of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, arranged a van to drive all of us from Encinitas to Santa Ysabel. During that carpooling, Trish and Tom (driver for the Conservancy) gave us an update on their progress towards completing the Coast to Crest Trail, which will eventually stretch approximately 70 miles from Del Mar to Volcan Mountain. They described their efforts to acquire easements to fill the approximate 20 miles of gaps in the Trail.

Upon reaching the Center, Ranger Bill Augustus and his assistant James met us and gave us a tour of the brand new 6,000 square-foot LEED Gold and Zero Net Energy facility. In addition, Bill described the operation and output of their solar energy system, which covers all their needs.

They walked us through the interactive exhibits, community room and patio, and the outdoor playground and small amphitheater. The Nature Center is a great place for kids and adults to learn about the area. 

They also led us on a short hike from the Center, describing the Engelmann Oaks and other vegetation in the Preserve, which totals over 6,000 acres.

On our way back to Encinitas, we stopped for a quick fun lunch purchased at Don’s Market but eaten at Julian Pie Shop while we decided which pie to take home.

Pleasant field trip on a perfect San Diego day!