La Jolla’s Friends of Coast Walk trail seek help with projects

By Ashley Mackin

In keeping with the tradition of La Jolla residents rallying together to get things done — think Mary Coakley-Munk renovating the restroom at Kellogg Park and Phyllis Minick’s Children’s Pool Walk beautification project — the Friends of Coast Walk are looking for new members to help preserve, restore and enhance the Coast Walk Trail.

The group’s goals for the area that spans from Coast Walk to Cave Street parallel to Torrey Pines Road are to protect the environmentally sensitive bluffs, improve trail safety and appearance, and create an ongoing maintenance plan for the vegetation.

The group has raised money to implement some enhancements to the ocean-side trail, but would like to garner more cash to finish their plans. Their immediate tasks include stabilizing the soil erosion along the walking path and planting new shrubbery to delineate it; providing general repair to the stairs and bridge; and restoring the hillside to prevent erosion and reduce fire hazard.

Annual membership dues start at $350 and founding member Barbara Fake said all of it goes directly to trail projects.

The group’s wish list also includes an improved safety barrier along the trail at its entrance, and a redesign of the stairs for emergency access only, in the hope that will encourage pedestrians to use the trail instead of Coast Walk, a small street that runs alongside it at the trail’s beginning.

Founding member Linda Fisler added that in a best-case scenario, she’d like to see the bridge replaced. Fake explained that three years ago, Coast Walk residents started noticing the trail was deteriorating and the invasive species Arundo had overgrown in the canyon. They formed a 501(c)(3) and reached out to the city of San Diego for guidance on how to alleviate the problems.

“This could not be done without the support and guidance of city management,” she said. “They get (criticized), but that has not been the experience we’ve had with city managers from the departments of Streets, Stormwater, and Parks and Recreation, who have been guiding us through this and helping us.”

The city started by suggesting the firm, Black Sage Environmental (BSE), for the Arundo removal and canyon replanting. BSE removed the Arundo in 2011 and is continuing to stabilize the cliffs and replant them with native species conducive to erosion control. Fisler said native species are ideal because once they are established, they do not need to be watered regularly.

Additionally, the Friends of Coast Walk called on BSE to renovate a portion of the trail that had eroded to the point people felt it was not safe to walk upon.

The city was quick to approve the renovation because the trail is classified as a “street,” not a “park.”

“It’s worked to our advantage because the city is more willing to grant permits when the project is paid for,” Fake said. “They just don’t have the resources to help, so they’ve welcomed our assistance.”

To get these improvements done, Friends of Coast Walk (after securing the appropriate permits) would contract the repairs and split the bill among members. Fake noted that there are nine residences that are a part of the Friends of Coast Walk, and because they belong to couples, that makes 18 members. Though hoping for more members, Fake said the group would happily take one-time donations.

To join the Coast Walk effort and for more details, e-mail