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Cowles Mountain trail repaired, ready to open on May 18

And, more accurately, call it “Coals” Mountain

New beverage vending machine at Cowles Mountain
New beverage vending machine at Cowles Mountain

The main trailhead leading to the peak of 1591-foot-high Cowles Mountain is scheduled to reopen May 18, a date coinciding with Explore Mission Trails Regional Park Day, a celebration for the park that includes Cowles Mountain and Lake Murray.

On March 18, the city closed the mountain trail at the intersection of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road for restoration.

Senior park ranger Matt Sanford elaborated on the work in a May 13 interview. He said that the trail is probably the busiest in the city, and it had been five to six years since the last restoration work. City employees and Urban Corps of San Diego members were among those working on the approximately 1.5-mile-long trail. Sanford said they started at the bottom and worked to the top of the mountain, making improvements that included installing rock stairs and improving drainage.

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Helicopters on April 22 and 29 dropped off 2000-pound bags containing pea gravel and brown decomposed granite, he said. Flights were planned around the nesting schedules of the California gnatcatcher and least Bell's vireo. Sanford said uses of the dropped-off material included filling in trail sections that were "highly traveled" and "where erosion was deep."

Workers also closed many unauthorized trails, using material such as rock walls and native brush. Sanford said "inexperienced users" sometimes followed others onto unauthorized trails. He said that improved signage provides information about the "importance of staying on the trail" and "a sense of habitat."

The subject of water for thirsty trail-users came up during a Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation report at the May 1 San Carlos Area Council meeting.

Resident Pete Guglielmini asked foundation executive director Jay Wilson, "Could a little water fountain be installed at the top of the mountain?" Wilson's expression conveyed the unlikelihood of that occurring. He replied that a vending machine selling water would be installed near the trailhead. "It takes credit cards so people won't break in and steal money.”

While researching this story, I found out that community stewards and advocates of San Diego’s tallest peak pronounce the mountain's name the way that George Cowles reputedly did: although Cowles’s name appears to rhyme with "towels,” he’s said to have pronounced it "coals."

Cowles was a rancher who lived in the East County from 1877 until his death in 1887, according to the book San Diego Trivia, by Evelyn Kooperman. His land became known as "Cowlestown," and his name might be better known if an election had turned out differently. Cowles’s widow, Jennie, married Milton Santee, and residents in 1893 voted to name the town after him.  

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New beverage vending machine at Cowles Mountain
New beverage vending machine at Cowles Mountain

The main trailhead leading to the peak of 1591-foot-high Cowles Mountain is scheduled to reopen May 18, a date coinciding with Explore Mission Trails Regional Park Day, a celebration for the park that includes Cowles Mountain and Lake Murray.

On March 18, the city closed the mountain trail at the intersection of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road for restoration.

Senior park ranger Matt Sanford elaborated on the work in a May 13 interview. He said that the trail is probably the busiest in the city, and it had been five to six years since the last restoration work. City employees and Urban Corps of San Diego members were among those working on the approximately 1.5-mile-long trail. Sanford said they started at the bottom and worked to the top of the mountain, making improvements that included installing rock stairs and improving drainage.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Helicopters on April 22 and 29 dropped off 2000-pound bags containing pea gravel and brown decomposed granite, he said. Flights were planned around the nesting schedules of the California gnatcatcher and least Bell's vireo. Sanford said uses of the dropped-off material included filling in trail sections that were "highly traveled" and "where erosion was deep."

Workers also closed many unauthorized trails, using material such as rock walls and native brush. Sanford said "inexperienced users" sometimes followed others onto unauthorized trails. He said that improved signage provides information about the "importance of staying on the trail" and "a sense of habitat."

The subject of water for thirsty trail-users came up during a Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation report at the May 1 San Carlos Area Council meeting.

Resident Pete Guglielmini asked foundation executive director Jay Wilson, "Could a little water fountain be installed at the top of the mountain?" Wilson's expression conveyed the unlikelihood of that occurring. He replied that a vending machine selling water would be installed near the trailhead. "It takes credit cards so people won't break in and steal money.”

While researching this story, I found out that community stewards and advocates of San Diego’s tallest peak pronounce the mountain's name the way that George Cowles reputedly did: although Cowles’s name appears to rhyme with "towels,” he’s said to have pronounced it "coals."

Cowles was a rancher who lived in the East County from 1877 until his death in 1887, according to the book San Diego Trivia, by Evelyn Kooperman. His land became known as "Cowlestown," and his name might be better known if an election had turned out differently. Cowles’s widow, Jennie, married Milton Santee, and residents in 1893 voted to name the town after him.  

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Comments
2

Used to spend tons of time out there as a kid...but we probably weren't welcome visitors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bycsJLnGwho

May 14, 2013

That vending machine won't make it until June 1st. Hell, it might not make it until the 18th.

May 15, 2013

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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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