By JENNIFER MORRISSEY
Recently, the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation highlighted three park users to help illustrate how much the park means to the San Diego community. As one of the park’s neighbors, you know well how popular the park is and has become, especially during the pandemic.
Protecting and maintaining 8,000 acres as well as providing educational and other resources to Mission Trails’ estimated 2.2 million annual visitors is an immense responsibility. We at the MTRP Foundation support the park and its staff in this endeavor by raising funds for trail maintenance, habitat restoration, education programs and more. We all need the park, and now, we need you.
December is our most important fundraising month and it’s also when the majority of us make our charitable gifts. This year, please make a gift to support Mission Trails and take advantage of the special charitable giving incentives in the 2020 CARES Act. Learn more about these incentives, giving to Mission Trails, and make a donation at www.mtrp.org/giving.
Now, meet some of our regular park users, people like you who love MTRP.
On runner Jenny Nakamura’s first trip to San Diego to visit her boyfriend and now husband Sean, he took her to Lake Murray and Cowles Mountain.
“Both places are special for us. Lake Murray is one of my favorite runs. I love getting to the turnaround and seeing the bullseye at the end,” she said.
Nakamura runs 20-30 miles a week and lives near Mission Trails.
“It’s really cool to have trails in the city. I love that there is so much variety, from paved paths to trails with hills, single track, and even the occasional water crossing depending on the time of year.”
On Instagram as @runnylegs, Nakamura shares photos of her runs at locations near and far, including at MTRP. Remarking on a run earlier this year, she shared, “I remember doing a sunset run at Lake Murray the Thursday before everything locked down in March. It’s such a beautiful place to see the sunset.” We concur.
The bird watcher
Liz Doroski has been coming to Mission Trails since 1983.
“I remember walking the old potholed Junipero Serra road from what is now the Visitor Center to the dam. We had to climb across a large water/sewer pipe to get over the river and hike through the grasslands area. Now, with the establishment of the regional park status, the space is professionally and lovingly cared for and protected, which is invaluable, not only for people, but for nature.”
Dorski is an avid birder and enjoys birdwatching at MTRP.
“The best time to spot birds is either morning or dusk, but really any time of day will be fruitful if you are observant. So much of birding is listening, and being quiet and still. A good place to birdwatch in MTRP is near any body of water with lots of trees. The water draws birds for a drink, food, and bathing, while the trees provide safety and cover from predators.”
In addition to volunteering at MTRP, Dorski has more recently been one of the newsletter contributors, so she knows the park, its staff and volunteers well.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t recognize how fortunate I am to have a home, good health, social support, and resources; and I’m enormously grateful to be able to donate my time and money to MTRP to help keep it going for years to come. It’s not only our backyard, it’s home to many critters and plants who add to the park’s beauty, and they deserve our respect.”
The mountain biker
When Ramon Galindo isn’t working as a reporter at NBC 7, you’ll probably find him at Mission Trails where he’s been a frequent visitor for the past six years. In his job, he’s done stories about Mission Trails, including about hiking safely and our rattlesnakes.
In pre-Covid times, Galindo also volunteered at the MTRP Visitor Center.
“I was looking for volunteer opportunities and after completing the 5-Peak Challenge, it occurred to me that volunteering at MTRP would be a great opportunity to share my knowledge of the park’s trails while helping out the place where I love to spend my free time. When I interact with the public at the Visitor Center, I can discuss with them the park’s diverse plant life, fascinating geology, and the rich history of the Kumeyaay.”
In addition to hiking the trails and up Mission Trails’ five peaks, Galindo likes to mountain bike, especially on the trails near East Fortuna Staging Area.
“It’s a good workout and there are a variety of trails so you can bring friends of all skill levels,” he said. “I have been going to the park during Covid, but usually early in the morning and on the weekdays to avoid possible crowds. It’s still important to enjoy nature for physical and emotional health.”
Make a donation to support Mission Trails at mtrp.org. Donors of $100 or more will receive our new thank-you gift, an MTRP license plate frame! You can help the park today.
— Jennifer Morrissey is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.