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Coast Walk Trail to get seven new Torrey pine trees

This area next to Coast Walk Trail in La Jolla will be planted with Torrey pine trees.
This area next to Coast Walk Trail in La Jolla will be planted with Torrey pine trees.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Seven new Torrey pine trees will be planted soon at Goldfish Point near the entrance to La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail.

Though that’s the big-ticket project on the trail to close out the year, it’s not the only work planned before 2022 arrives.

For the past several years, Friends of Coast Walk Trail has worked with the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board and the city of San Diego to carry out improvement projects on the trail, which runs between Coast Walk (a short street west of Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Place and Amalfi Street) and Goldfish Point.

Friends President Brenda Fake said work has been going on this year to improve safety on the trail, and planting projects are on the horizon.

“Everything is about getting rid of invasive [plant species] as much as we can and replanting the area with natives,” she said.

The seven new Torrey pines will be planted the week of Nov. 15 in the area overlooking the view platform next to the Goldfish Point bluff. Five of the trees were paid for by the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club in honor of late Rotarian Oliver Jones. One is to be planted in honor of the late Jim Allen, who owned the Cave Store, and one will be planted for the grandchildren of land-use consultant Michael Pallamary.

“The city removed a bunch of trees here because they are not managed, get too big and they can fall over,” Fake said. “Our intent is to plant them and manage them so they grow and create a canopy and build that over time. ... We’re going to have a nice grove here.”

Jones, who died this year at age 89, was a major donor and volunteer for Rotary causes and projects. Fellow Rotarian Trip Bennett said the grove would be “a nice memorial because it will grow into something beyond. The ripples he cast will go forward.”

Next on the list of trail projects to be completed this month is a cleanup of non-native vegetation by local volunteers, mostly students.

Students will be onsite in coming weeks to clean select areas in preparation for replanting by Black Sage Environmental, a San Diego-based land management company. One area will be replanted with California golden poppies and other native vegetation that grow up, not just out, “to make the area safer because it creates a hedge and holds the cliff,” Fake said.

Controlling erosion is a high priority for Friends of Coast Walk Trail, she said, and the board funded the purchase and installation of gabions (often a cage, cylinder or box filled with rocks) along the trail. The first of those were installed a decade ago and recently replaced. A second round was finished earlier this year.

Gabions are installed along Coast Walk Trail to help control erosion.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

“It’s a permaculture way of saving a cliff,” Fake said. “The rocks are embedded into a low point in the bluff so when the water comes down, it is directed to a gabion and dispersed through it, so it is spread out. The biggest thing we deal with is soil erosion, and we are trying to keep the trail so it does not get lost.”

Fake said a plan to add QR codes to existing signs is expected to be complete by the end of the year, giving a history of the trail dating to the 1800s. “It goes to the website to teach people about the trail, the natives that were first here, the fact that it is the only lateral walking path that people can walk along in this area, and the guys who used to jump off the cliff in a circus-style act,” Fake said.

Next year, “if we can raise the money,” FOCWT will replace some fencing with the post-and-chain barrier that currently lines the rest of the trail, Fake said.

Learn more at friendsofcoastwalk.org. ◆