Park Expansion

Expansion of the Park

In 1924, the city council added other pueblo lands to the park. This addition was the result of a request for expansion by the City Park Commission and interested civic groups. The park now included almost 1,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, mesas, and beach. Between 1928 and 1930, the League To Save Torrey Pines fought and won against a proposed cliff road above the beach. The purpose of the road was to eliminate curves and grades in the old road. The opponents felt that the road would not only destroy a section of the park but would also be costly to build. One of the reasons the League was so against this new road was that it called for using landfill in the canyons so that the road could go across them.

With the advent of WWII, the Army leased 750 acres of Torrey Pines Mesa from the City of San Diego to be used for training purposes. Camp Callan then came into being as an anti-aircraft artillery replacement training center. It extended from the southernmost boundaries of Torrey Pines Park towards the Muir Campus of UCSD. In return for an occupational permit to use the lower portion of the park, the military had to guarantee that no part of the park would be damaged. The park itself was kept open to the public. The camp opened during January, 1941, and closed November, 1945. The buildings were torn down and used for lumber to build homes for veterans.

The city park under the authority of the San Diego Department of Parks & Recreation did not have the legal authority to protect the many endangered species with the level of protection they needed.  So a special city election in 1956 resulted in giving the nearly 1,000 acre park to the State of California for the higher protection afforded by being a state reserve. About 100 acres were appropriated for the construction of a public golf course. The State Park became official in 1959.  In 2007 the nomenclature was changed to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Extension was acquired in 1970 after six years of effort. Starting in 1964, local conservation groups (Torrey Pines Association, the Sierra Club, the Citizens Coordinate) became concerned with bulldozing of Torrey pines on the north side of Los Penasquitos lagoon to make roads for residential developments. In addition to support from local civic, social, and school groups, there was a lot of national media attention. The acquisition added about 197 acres and 1500 trees. Plants in the Extension not found in the main part of the Reserve include the coastal blue lilac and the scarlet larkspur. – Judy Schulman

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