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Nature and Trails Delight at Otay Valley Regional Park

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June 4, 2011

Horseback riders, hikers, bikers, and families enjoyed nature and exhibits at Otay Valley Regional Park’s first-ever parkwide community event on Saturday.

“Discover Otay Valley Regional Park,” held on National Trails Day, was designed to introduce the public to the South Bay park’s natural beauty and its 8.2-mile trail system. 

The day’s activities were kicked off by County Supervisor Greg Cox, San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez and Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox.

“Over the years, devoted volunteers and three jurisdictions have nurtured and improved Otay Valley, but even people who live nearby don’t always realize there’s beautiful park with a long trail system along the Otay River,” Supervisor Greg Cox said. “We think the event introduces the park to some new visitors who will return soon.”

The day featured activities at seven different areas of Western Otay Valley Regional Park, a sprawling open space that stretches from just west of Interstate 5 to Interstate 805.

At Saturday’s event, kids learned about the river valley’s distinctive habitats and species on a nature walk that departed from the Finney Overlook in San Diego, while birdwatchers with binoculars turned out early to explore with the Audubon Society.

With four ponds and a variety of habitats Otay Valley Regional Park supports an abundance of wildlife, including 200 species of birds, gray foxes, American badgers and the Pacific Tree Frog.

Also on Saturday, horseback riders led by the Bonita Valley Horsemen hit the trails; San Diego Fire and Police and park rangers showed off their vehicles while highlighting park safety; visitors learned about Otay Valley’s Native American history; and some competed for prizes in a “poker ride and hike,” making poker hands with cards collected along the trail. 

A joint planning and management effort between the County of San Diego and the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, the park has added numerous trails and connections, staging areas and native plants in recent years. Saturday’s event was designed to highlight the improved park to the community.

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