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Mary Ruth Cox | Via Grimaldi

The book, “The Story of Torrey Pines Extension," ($15), is available from the author, Mary Ruth Cox. If you would like a copy, please call her at 858-755-4007 or e-mail cs2cox@ucsd.edu.  Click on image to enlarge.

School children pranced in delight up the trail through the Torrey Pines Extension to their school. It was Earth Day, 2009, and their parents were taking a day off from commuting by car by walking with their children to the Del Mar Heights school. Bright sunflowers bobbed in the sea breeze on either side of the trail. What an adventure, to walk to school! And how lucky we were to have the extension of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to traverse!

Sixty years ago when we first came to Del Mar Terrace we took the open space between the Terrace and Del Mar for granted. Our children roamed in the wild canyons, swung from the Torrey Pines, and caught ‘horny toads’. Horseback riders galloped down the steep trails to the beach, shrieking with abandon. We hiked in the pine-clad hills without a thought for their future, just enjoyed their natural beauty.

A rude awakening came in 1964 when a bulldozer carved a road through the pines and sage southeast of Del Mar. Alarmed, conservationists imagined that houses, paved streets, and fences would soon obliterate the wilderness. They began a vigorous campaign to extend the existing Torrey Pines State Reserve north to protect the remaining stands of native Torrey pines on private land. After ten years of heart-breaking struggles the Torrey Pines extension finally became part of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in 1974. The battle to save the Torrey Pines was a triumph of conservation and became a model for others. A new book is now available with chapters about the acquisition of the extension, its geology, archeology, and trails, plus a special section by Kathy Dickey on birds observed there.


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