Harbaugh Seaside Trails set to open early next year

Mosaic work underway at the new Harbaugh Seaside Trails.
(Betsy K. Schulz)

The Harbaugh Seaside Trails is taking shape on the three-acre coastal overlook at the gateway linking Solana Beach and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, promising an open space preserve for dog-walking, sunset-watching and peaceful contemplation in nature.

The new Nature Collective project is set to open in February 2020 and will feature a series of trails in a loop to mimic an ocean wave, an artistic donor monument and an observation deck shaped like a shell to carry on the ocean theme.

A railroad undercrossing will provide visitors with safer coastal access into San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and beyond.

The Nature Collective is especially excited about the donor monument, designed by public artist Betsy K. Schulz. On the circular monument feature, Schulz is applying mosaics that represent several iconic native plants and animals found at the San Elijo Lagoon. The unique style continues the art themes she has installed at the Solana Beach arch on Coast Highway 101, and farther south at the Del Mar Library.

“It is going to be a spectacular art piece for the public,” said Jennifer Bright, development and communications director of the Nature Collective.

Bright said Harbaugh Seaside Trails represents a great story of communities coming together to save one of the most beautiful spots in north coastal San Diego from being developed. In December 2011, the then-San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy was able to purchase property for $3.75 million thanks to a handful of donors stepping up to loan the funds.

More than 1,200 generous supporters donated to a fundraising campaign to pay off the loan, from $11 donated from a child’s birthday party to the Harbaugh Foundation’s $1.15 million gift. In January 2015 the land was saved and renamed Harbaugh Seaside Trails in honor of the late George and Betty Harbaugh and their contribution.

As with all of their restoration projects, Nature Collective plans to involve the community to work on the trails and put in the some 4,000 plants at Harbaugh that will represent four different plant communities meant to educate the public about conservation.

Dates for the upcoming restoration projects at Harbaugh are Nov. 16, 23; Dec. 7, 14, 21; and Jan. 11, 18, 25. All events are from 9 a.m. to noon.

“It’s a really great project and I’m happy to see it coming together,” Bright said.

Keep track up all of Nature Collective events at