Friends of La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail enjoy completion of Phase 1

By Ashley Mackin

Friends of Coast Walk Trail, the group behind the restoration of the pathway that spans from Coast Walk to Cave Street parallel to Torrey Pines Road, are making noticeable headway in their quest to enhance it.

Most visibly, the deep groove in the middle of the path near Goldfish Point has been filled in and leveled. “We were able to stabilize what we considered the most dangerous part of the trail from a walking standpoint,” said Friends of Coast Walk Trail founding member Brenda Fake.

Natural resources management firm Black Sage Environmental was contracted to level the walkway. Foreman Tim Fraher explained that his crews took small rocks to fill in the gap, and dirt from the hillside to level it out, topped with decomposed granite.

Over time, with people regularly walking the trail, the materials will be compacted “like concrete.” He added that water does not absorb into decomposed granite, which could prevent erosion.

Other portions of the path will also be filled in and leveled as funds become available. Fake explained the work thus far has been funded by donations and Friends of Coast Walk trail memberships, the majority of members being nearby residents.

The project started when residents contributed money for the removal of the invasive arundo plant (a tall, cane-like grass that can grow up to 30 feet) on one of the hillsides along Coast Walk Trail in 2011, which was also done by Black Sage Environmental. The arundo was removed, and native vegetation was planted to prevent the arundo from growing back.

As other possible trail improvement projects came into focus, along with the increasing cost to implement them, the Friends expanded their reach to gather memberships and donations beyond those who live nearby.

In April, the Friends launched a successful membership and donation drive to raise money to repair the spots on the trail most in need. Now, they have further aspirations.

“The next step will be finish the trail restoration and improve the walking area to make it safer,” Fake said. “The second thing is minor planting, ideally some time in the fall so the rains will help water the plants. The last thing is implementing a maintenance plan.”

She added that the plants they intend to use would be low maintenance and require little water, but some care would be needed, so the Friends will continue to collect funds for future upkeep.

As funds become available and they have enough to complete each task, the Friends will contract the restoration piecemeal. They do not have a timeline in mind. The total for the remaining work is $20,000. Although donations of any amount are welcome, Fake said, a Friends membership is $350 annually. She said about 97 percent of every dollar goes toward the trail and the remaining is retained for the 501(c)(3) operating costs.

“I want to thank everyone who has donated to this,” Fake said. “Hopefully, we can raise some more to finish this project so people can enjoy the trail.”

To donate, mail contributions to: Friends of Coast Walk, 1515 Coast Walk, La Jolla, CA 92037. For more information, e-mail