Walker Trail celebrates grand opening

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Santee hosted the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of its new River Park Trail section on April 23. This trail connects Santee from Magnolia Avenue to Lakeside’ s Little League baseball fields near Riverford Road.

Equestrians, walkers, hikers, bikers and dignitaries were on hand to show support of the trail.

Santee hosted the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of its new River Park Trail section on April 23. This trail connects Santee from Magnolia Avenue to Lakeside’ s Little League baseball fields near Riverford Road.

Equestrians, walkers, hikers, bikers and dignitaries were on hand to show support of the trail.

Bill Handlon, spokesperson for the Walker family, said the groundbreaking for the trail was a mere two years ago and it was completed in record time. John Minto, Santee vice mayor, said that 2,000 trees and plants were put into the ground in 2014 and another 2,000 were planted in 2015. Assemblyman Brian Jones gave a Proclamation from the State of California, as he spoke about the wonders of the new trail. Waste Management was thanked for its free removal of debris during the construction.

 Known as the Walker Trail and Preserve, the 1.3-mile connector is a beautiful handicap accessible decomposed granite trail with lodge pole fencing. It was formerly used as a haul road for trucks and sand mining equipment. Large ponds of green water can still be seen when peeking through the tulles and willow trees. Even the backside of Santee Drive-in Movie Theater can be seen. These sand mining ponds are the only water visible in the San Diego River since three dams were built up river.

Sam Walker (former Agriculture teacher at El Capitan High School) gave a brief history of his family’s days of running the Walker Dairy on the 104-acre riverfront land. Beginning in 1926, five generations have farmed both sides of the river. In 1960 they sold the land and it became a sand mining operation for RCP Block & Brick. The next leg of the trail connector will be through the RCP cement plant land West of Magnolia Avenue to Town Center Park and will probably take place in 2017, once they have moved its operations to Chula Vista.