From the Reader:
Denk Mountain is the unofficial name of the highest point in the City of Carlsbad. It may be a little presumptuous to call it a mountain, but at 1041 feet of elevation, it is high enough to offer dramatic views up and down the San Diego coast, especially west to where the Batiquitos Lagoon discharges into the Pacific.
The name honors the Denk family, who once owned much of the land that is now the Rancho La Costa Preserve, which is owned and managed by a non-profit, the Center for Natural Lands Management (tax deductible donations are appreciated). If you are a mountain biker and don’t already know about these trails, you should definitely check it out.
The preserve has over 6 miles of trails, some of which are very challenging. It can be a pleasant hike or trail run for anyone in moderately good physical condition. Many trails of varying difficulty lead to the peak. The route described here is only one of several possibilities.
The trails are open year-round from dawn to dusk, but the best times to go are mornings between January and June, preferably after a storm has left the area with clear air and perhaps some dramatic clouds.
Warning: rattlesnakes live here. Also, it is a very active mountain biking area. While hikers have the right-of-way, you should do whatever you need to do to avoid a collision with a rapidly moving bicycle. There is no shade, and the hillside tends to face toward the sun. Bring trekking poles if you have them, as they will be useful at times.Link to Full Article
Further north near Sage Creek HS and Calavera Lake:
The 473-acre reserve, located behind Sage Creek High School , was established in 2000 as a conservation bank to offset environmental impacts of nearby home developments. Its brushy hills are habitat for native species including the California gnatcatcher, a federally threatened songbird, and thread-leaved Brodiaea, a purple-flowering plant listed as endangered in California.
Quail, hawks and deer use the site, along with smaller creatures, said Gabriel Penaflor, who manages the site and nine other reserves in North County. On Thursday, a tarantula and caterpillars crawled across the trails, while white butterflies flitted overhead.
Gary Murphy, head coach for the north county coastal team of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, said, however, that students from adjacent Sage Creek High and other local schools should be able to ride trails through their own neighborhood.
“I want my kids and my friends’ kids to be able to go out and ride in dirt,” Murphy said. “Because there’s no more dirt left. It’s all concrete.”
Pert points out that the land was purchased for wildlife conservation, not recreation. Arguing that they should be able to ride in the reserve because they have traditionally done so is like claiming they should be allowed to ride across a nearby golf course, or in the backyards of neighboring homes, since those used to be open space as well, he said.
Instead, he said, there need to be other places open for mountain biking, or other ways of incorporating outdoor recreation into plans for new construction. In addition, he said, developers who pay for mitigation may also have to fund ongoing enforcement of the properties, along with education about their ecological value.