Allen Road Trail and Canyon Clean-up

| July 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

By John Sandmeyer

Allen Road Trail is one of the finest canyon trails in Mission Hills. It’s a short length with a sweet aroma and has always offered natural relief and a valuable link to Mission Valley from Mission Hills. It starts at the top at the intersection of Allen Road and Fort Stockton Drive next to Espresso Mio Café in Mission Hills.

As you traverse down from Mission Hills, you will realize that the Ramada Inn has recently been replaced by the Hampton Inn. A trail now ends where a new retaining wall was constructed at the top of the Hampton Inn parking lot. It’s a clunky connection to the historic trail, not the continuation of the trail that should have been maintained to Hotel Circle South. The bottom quarter of the trail is now an asphalt hotel parking lot. Blacktop is not something Mission Hills’ canyons and Mission Valley needed more of and it appears to be contrary to the vision of the Mission Valley Planning Committee.

Regardless, some campers recently trekked their way up the long driveway, onto the trail and settled up next to some fine trees and dark brush. A complication quickly arose to hikers using the trail since the new campground was plotted firmly in the middle of the path.

A few weeks passed and the campsite grew continuous until it was donned with trash in a 50 meter radius. There were clearly some dedicated hours that the campers spent walking 20 feet from their tents to jettison ugly debris throughout all the bushes in the vicinity. Perhaps this was some sort of defense mechanism that was developed to ward off scary nature hikers.

Recently, San Diego Police officers issued a 24-hour warning to the settlers that they needed to pack up and move off the trail. The next day, a hearty group of San Diegans got to work and cleaned up the untidy mess that they left behind.

Special thanks to SDPD Sgt. Flores and his partners at Western Division for staging their presence at the clean-up. And thanks to local Judge and Presidio Little League coach, Peter Gallagher, who dedicated his ‘Central’ Community Service Taskforce to the cause. One camper, a woman in her late 30s, was having health issues from a medical condition. Fortunately an EMT was on hand with the clean-up crew to evaluate her, call for medics and get her transported to the hospital.

The clean-up was a difficult task as the camp was built in several locations along the pathway and because of the way the campers tossed their trash away from their tents. It took lots of work to collect all of the debris and three truckloads to dump all of the trash.

A resource that was offered to some of the campers that trickled in to collect their gear were calling cards to San Diego 211, which is a non-profit resource center that can help people sign up for EBT, get shelter information and counseling for addiction or abuse. Anyone can get this assistance by dialing 2-1-1 on their phone.

After all was completed there was a startling difference. Thanks to some dedicated Mission Hills’ residents and passionate workers from the community service crew. Today, there is some new trash in the area, but no evidence of a permanent camp looking to return.

Friends of the canyon want to keep this trail alive and healthy. If you are interested in helping with this cause, meet at 8 a.m. at Espresso Mio on the first Saturday of the month for a short hike and a trail check up. One of the “splendidest” pepper trees in Mission Hills is counting on us.

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