New trail, gate reconstruction in place at Mesa Preserve

       A new trail access and rebuilt main entrance have recently been installed at the Mesa Wildlife Preserve.
       The 24-acre open space property, originally bought by neighbors and now surrounded by development, lies below and west of Mesa Road, with its main entry gate at the end of Oswego Street north of King Street.
       The gate, which had at one point been partially torn down, has been rebuilt with a tight turn that blocks access by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles. Such vehicles bouncing through the preserve have become a “terrible problem” in recent years, according to Dave VanDerWege, executive director of the Palmer Land Trust, a non-profit entity that now owns and maintains the property as permanent open space.
       The preserve's new gravel trail - also built with a motorcycle/ATV blocker - comes up through a large gap between houses on Mesa Road about halfway between 19th and Fillmore streets. An older chain still goes across that access, but a more welcoming entry is contemplated and people are encouraged to go in there instead of trespassing down a private home's driveway farther north as they've done for years, VanDerWege said.
       “The people who use it (the preserve) most are kids coming down (on their way to and from Holmes and Coronado schools),” he explained. “Over time maybe we can train them to start using the new trail.”
       The new amenities were implemented as part of the ongoing construction of the Alta Mira subdivision, a 43-unit single-home development off King and 19th streets. Reciprocally, the Palmer Land Trust agreed to let the preserve entrance become part of an emergency access for Alta Mira, whose main street, Mountain Mahogany Drive (paralleling Oswego), dead ends at the preserve.
       The preserve was bought by neighbors, chiefly those off Friendship Lane, to prevent a housing development 26 years ago, after which it was deeded over to the Land Trust (then called the Palmer Foundation).

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