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Beauty of our State Parks in Peril

By Bruce Coons

There are several San Diego County Historic cultural landscapes that are threatened that most of us think are protected. Three state parks residing in San Diego County are all in danger because of unnecessary and extremely destructive projects that are now being proposed.

Border Field State Park
Construction of the triple fence in San Diego threatens numerous cultural and historical resources. It is a rich cultural landscape that includes many diverse historic resources such as Native American archeological sites, early Spanish exploration and settlement routes, remains of early ranches, and the 1850s border monument, and WWII coastal defense gun control bunkers. The planned project would destroy a belt of natural habitat the width of a six-lane freeway, fill parts of a pristine canyon with soil gouged from adjacent habitat, harm endangered species in the sensitive Tijuana Estuary, and cut off public access to significant portions of the park. This freeway-wide cut and fill will be visible from downtown San Diego and the scar so visible it will be seen from outer space.

Statice in full bloom at Border Field State Park overlooking the Pacific, 2003. Photo by Sandé Lollis

San Onofre State Beach
A proposed six-lane, $875 million toll road is being pushed that would go through some of last remaining open space of Orange and San Diego counties. Habitats of eleven threatened and endangered species, in addition to severely damaging Native American archaeological sites and the world famous Trestles Beach surf spot, would be impacted, as well as the site of the first Christian baptism in California and the remains of the 1880s ghost town of Forster. The highway would cover 325 of the park's 2,000 acres in pavement.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
San Diego Gas & Electric Co. wants to plant 150-foot-tall metal towers in the sand and stretch 500-kilovolt wires across 23 miles of largely pristine landscape. The proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line would be visible from about one sixth of the park, officials say, which would be a detriment to historic viewscapes. It will also destroy the beauty of the incredibly scenic Santa Ysabel Valley and cross in front of the historic Warner's ranch house, this is the only place that you can see still "the promised land," as the emigrants from the states to California first saw it.

"These are three major projects, which propose to use parklands that were purchased and maintained with our tax dollars," Senator Chris Kehoe said. "Because open space is readily available, our parks are at risk of becoming the preferred corridors for infrastructure siting. Parks seem to have become the paths of least resistance."

Write, call and email to your mayor, councilpersons, and federal representatives and please go to and sign the petitions they have set up.

2007 - Volume 38, Issue 1


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From the Editor

Most Endangered

A Brief History of Rancho Guejito

Another Part of the Story

The Threat

The Beauty of our State Parks in Peril

The Cultural Landscape Connection to Historic Preservation

What is a Cultural Landscape?

The Historic Home Landscape and Gardens

A Short Landscape Glossary

Importance of the Garden in Home Planning

When was Modern New?

Every Bungalow Represents our History

History Repeating

The Sherman-Glbert House

150th Anniversary of the Jackass Mail


Strength in Numbers

Lost San Diego

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