La Jolla Parks and Beaches discuss fire concerns in Pottery Canyon
Published - 09/04/20 - 08:30 AM | 2596 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print

In August La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. formed a working group to study fire risk in Pottery Canyon, as well as getting an update on re-creating Princess Street coastal access.

LJPB resumed a discussion of fire safety concerns presented by Pottery Canyon Natural Park at 3034 Torrey Pines Road. Pottery Canyon is a relatively undeveloped public park with a hiking trail and a historic pioneering pottery site.

For years the canyon has been plagued by flooding and fallen trees, which some fear presents serious fire safety and access issues.

“I have received emails from folks around Pottery Canyon concerned about the fire risk created by debris down in the canyon,” said LJPB chair Ann Dynes.

“LJPB is being recognized as a forum and a potential conduit to relay information to the City about Pottery Canyon,” said board member Claudia Baranowski. “We’re happy to work with other local organizations on open space brush abatement, though the City requires that brush must be within 100 feet of a structure before they will abate it. The next step is to ask for a fire hazard advisor from the San Diego Fire Department for an assessment (of canyon fire risk).”

Neighbors during the Zoom meeting expressed fears about canyon access in the event of a fire, warning that brush removal has not been performed there for some time.

A motion was overwhelmingly passed by LJPB to form a working group to ask the City to take remedial action to reduce the fire risk in Pottery Canyon and to report back to the group in September.

Turning to Princess Street, Pam Heatherington of the Environmental Center of San Diego discussed the progress being made on a project to restore access to the historic La Jolla trail which is in disrepair and unusable.

Heatherington said one objective of trail restoration is to ensure that the trail will “allow views of the natural environment.” She noted, “We also don’t want a lot of concrete if we can help it” while adding, “We’d rather have something that could be replaced or removed easily.”

Added Heatherington, “We’ve finished Phase 1 of the project, and are now moving into Phase 2, which will involve construction drawings. Phase 3 will be actual construction.”

When finished, the rehabilitated Princess Trail will provide public access to a stretch of the shoreline now isolated by development. The planned trail will descend 50 feet from the public street at the bluff top to the beach below. 

“I thought the trail would be lifeguards-only for emergency access,” said LJPB Board member Patrick Ahern.

“It (trail) goes back to its original intent, which was public access,” answered board member Melinda Merryweather.

Responding to the timetable for completion of Princess Street trail restoration, Heatherington said, “Depending on the geotechnical report on what we need to do to get down to the beach, we’re looking at another year or two.”


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