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Cowles Mountain at Mission Trails park — loved too much

Trail closed March 25 to April 17

For hikers it’s exercise rewarded with 360º panoramic views. For Cowles Mountain it’s trail damage and habitat destruction.

Hikers anticipating a challenging spring break hike up Cowles Mountain at the Golfcrest trailhead in San Carlos were disappointed to discover signs announcing its closure for repairs from March 25 through April 17. Park and Recreation staff, volunteers, and Urban Corps employees will rebuild and improve the trailhead during these eight weeks.

The daily drumming and trampling of the trail by thousands of feet take their toll each year. According to Senior park ranger Matt Sanford, the “trail tune-up” will include more lodge pole fences and signage so hikers remain on the dedicated trail. Additional trail enhancements are decomposed gravel to level sections and natural rock or soil berms to redirect rain run-off for erosion prevention.

Ranger Sanford noted that many hikers don’t understand the significant damage that occurs to the adjacent sensitive habitat. Hiking off-trail into the native shrubbery tramples native plants, disturbs nesting birds, and animal dens. Dead plants cannot hold the soil so rain run-off and intense foot traffic slowly erode the native. Close observation of the mountainside reveals these bald spots. Workers will barricade these trails with rocks and dead shrubbery to discourage entry.

Hikers can still access Cowles Mountain from other directions. Alternatives are the Big Rock trailhead, Big Rock Park trailhead, Lake Murray Boulevard trailhead, and the Barker Way trailhead and the Barker

Way Service Road. All of these trails go to the Cowles summit and are in good shape.

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For hikers it’s exercise rewarded with 360º panoramic views. For Cowles Mountain it’s trail damage and habitat destruction.

Hikers anticipating a challenging spring break hike up Cowles Mountain at the Golfcrest trailhead in San Carlos were disappointed to discover signs announcing its closure for repairs from March 25 through April 17. Park and Recreation staff, volunteers, and Urban Corps employees will rebuild and improve the trailhead during these eight weeks.

The daily drumming and trampling of the trail by thousands of feet take their toll each year. According to Senior park ranger Matt Sanford, the “trail tune-up” will include more lodge pole fences and signage so hikers remain on the dedicated trail. Additional trail enhancements are decomposed gravel to level sections and natural rock or soil berms to redirect rain run-off for erosion prevention.

Ranger Sanford noted that many hikers don’t understand the significant damage that occurs to the adjacent sensitive habitat. Hiking off-trail into the native shrubbery tramples native plants, disturbs nesting birds, and animal dens. Dead plants cannot hold the soil so rain run-off and intense foot traffic slowly erode the native. Close observation of the mountainside reveals these bald spots. Workers will barricade these trails with rocks and dead shrubbery to discourage entry.

Hikers can still access Cowles Mountain from other directions. Alternatives are the Big Rock trailhead, Big Rock Park trailhead, Lake Murray Boulevard trailhead, and the Barker Way trailhead and the Barker

Way Service Road. All of these trails go to the Cowles summit and are in good shape.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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