Protecting our natural environment is a team effort. Coordination, communication and collaboration keep the riversflowing, both literally and figuratively. Finding the balance between preserving natural resources while providing recreational opportunities to the public is the mission of County Parks – and the agencies with whom the County partners on parks that span multiple jurisdictions – places like Otay Valley Regional Park (OVRP).
The OVRP project began in 1990 when an agreement between the County of San Diego and the Cities of Chula Vista and San Diego was established, and community stakeholders stepped forward to help coordinate park planning, acquisition and design. Together, the team works to build recreation activities along the entire corridor of the park while restoring native habitats for ideal nature experiences.
OVRP is located 4 miles north of the U.S.- Mexico International border. It’s one of the few remaining natural open spaces in southern San Diego County, and it’s continually growing. More than 5,000 acres have been acquired for open space and public access.
The planning area extends approximately 11 miles from the San Diego Wildlife Refuge salt ponds at the mouth of the Otay River, through the Otay River Valley, to the land surrounding the Lower and Upper Otay Reservoirs. The western portion, from the Bayshore Bikeway to Interstate I-805, is open to the public from sunrise to sunset, offering more than eight miles of multi-use trails and seven staging areas. View the virtual hike.
City of San Diego Senior Park Ranger Mika Shimada encourages everyone to visit OVRP. “Trails are designed for visitors of all ages, interests and abilities,” Mika said. “For example, we have an ADA-designated Finney Overlook Trail, and the park is bilingual, with educational signs in both English and Spanish.”
Recently, the Opening the Outdoors grant program has been used to define Safe Routes to Schools that are accessible from OVRP. Students are encouraged to walk to school using the OVRP trail network – discovering plants, animals and preservation efforts along the way.
Plan a trip to OVRP
Hiking, bike rides, nature walks, stargazing, tree planting, sketching and painting, birding, and other activities are all commonly seen on site. Download the Easy2Hike app which provides information on trailheads, staging areas and points of interest like Hollister Pond, Finney Overlook and the Ranger Station. You can also visit the Ranger Station at 2155 Beyer Blvd to pick up an OVRP Adventure Passport and earn stamps for attending monthly events. Completed passports earn special prizes!
Mark your calendars
The 8th Annual Discover OVRP Day will be hosted 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, May 19 at the Saturn Staging Area, located at 500 Saturn Blvd., 92154. The event is free and family-friendly, featuring live animals, nature touch tables, guided nature walks, mountain bike demonstration tracks, and much more. Follow us on Facebook to learn about upcoming events.