Tag Archives: Mast Park

New Review for Mast Park Plans

The City of Santee has announced a third public review of the proposed Master Plan for Mast Park. This public comment session will be on the preferred design alternative from Schmidt Design Group. The public workshop will take place on Thursday, October 6, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Santee City Hall Complex, Building 7, 10601 Magnolia Ave.

Mast Park is the largest and oldest of Santee’s city parks, and the design and review process has been ongoing since early summer. The goal is to allow as much community input as possible to make help guide the future for this great resource. So far the community workshops have provided a number of ideas that Schmidt Design Group has incorporated into the current plan. One major area of focus has been on health and wellness, and part of the funding for the project is coming from a San Diego County Association of Governments (SANDAG) Healthy Communities Planning Grant. The grant itself is part of a county effort to address the nationwide obesity “epidemic.”

As it now stands, the plan addresses several important areas that community members insisted the designers include:

  • Keeping the park’s “natural, rustic character”
  • Providing additional picnic shelters for large groups and new picnic pavillions
  • Replacing the restroom facilities with newer, more efficient facilities
  • Dividing the current 2.4 acre off-leash dog park into separate large and small dog areas
  • Create an area for fitness equipment and a one-mile trail loop for hiking/walking
  • Provide an additional 60 parking spaces

The city would like to have everything in place to make a final decision either late this year or early next year.

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San Diego River Days

Mast Park Tamarisk Removal

This Saturday, May 9, San Diego River Days will kick off with events stretching from the river mouth at Dog Beach, through Old Town and Mission Valley, to Santee and finally Barona Reservation.  River Days continues with more events on Sunday, May 10, and the following weekend (May 16 & 17).  In Santee the Friends of Santee’s River Park will be coordinating a salt cedar (tamarisk) and trash removal project.  If you have read some of my earlier posts on the river, you know that salt cedar is a dangerously invasive tree that causes severe habitat damage.  If you are interested in helping out our local river, this is a good way to start.  The local activities start at 9:00 am at Mast Park and run until noon.  Other activities along the river have various times and locations, which you can find at the San Diego River Days site.

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SanTree Fest 2009 Report

Santee - Tree City USA 2008

Last Saturday (March 14) was the fourth annual SanTree Fest celebrating Earth Day and Santee’s sixth straight year being named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.  This year the event was held at Mast Park, which runs along the San Diego River just north of Mission Gorge Road.  The celebration included tree planting, non-native vegetation removal, and trash clean up.  There were also information booths from several local and state organizations and local companies, booths from a number of local restaurants, and music.  The 2009 Miss Santee and Miss Santee Teen were on hand, along with several of the runners up (look for a post on them soon).

San Diego River Park Foundation

A major partner in the festivities was the San Diego River Park Foundation, which coordinated the vegetation and trash removal activities.  The day started out cool, overcast, and a little damp – perfect weather for digging holes to Trash removal along the trailplant trees or cutting down unwanted invasive vegetation.  The main clean up work went on at the east end of the park, just north of Wal-Mart.  If you have never taken a close look, there is an entrance to a walking trail at the northwest corner of the parking lot, just north of the store entrance.  If you wander down the trail you will come to a small bridge over the river.  Just beyond that, the Foundation had set up shop for the clean up activities.  On the trail I passed several families out with their trash pickers and bags, pulling junk out of the brush along the way.  Then at the river several groups were involved in cutting out and removing non-native trees and brush.  The goal is to help return the river to as close to a natural state as possible – taking in to account that it runs through the middle of the city.

Non-native vegetation removal

 The main activity, tree planting, took place in an open area near the center of the park.  Dozens of volunteers were involved, including a large group from Hartford Insurance – easily distinguished by their maroon T-shirts.  I’m not sure how many trees were planted, but one section of the park was a mass of people digging, planting, and filling. 

SanTree Fest Information BoothsMeanwhile, others were taking advantage of the information and food booths.  There was a great deal of good information available on everything from waste and recycling t0 water pollution and smart planting choices.  Organizations as varied as the California Center for Sustainable Energy, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), and the San Diego River Conservancy.  Local restaurants sharing their goodies included Rubio’s, Cafe 67, Hungry Howie’s and Souplantation.  Below are some photos of the different booths, along with links to the various websites in case you want more information.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy had information about renewable energy sources and their EcoBuild San Diego workshop on April 4 – check their website for more details.

California Center for Sustainable Energy

The Urban Corps of San Diego had information on utility-friendly and shade trees

Urban Corps, San Diego

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had information on the Urban Forestry Program, as well as information from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Cal Fire

The San Diego Regional Urban Forest Council (part of the California Urban Forests Council) and the Natural Resources Conservation Services shared a booth with their information on resources, workshops, and events.  Sarah Marino (l) and Danielle Hirsch (r) from the local Escondido office of NRCS talked about the brush removal and modification programs and the federal money available for the programs.


Another urban tree organization on hand was United Voices for Healthier Communities, also allied with the California Urban Forest Council.

United Voices for Healthier Communities

Along with the San Diego River Park Foundation, one of its branches – Friends of Santee’s River Park – had information on activities and upcoming events.  One of their projects, the RiverBlitz, surveys the river to identify and map problems for later clean ups.  The next RiverBlitz will be on April 4 in Mission Valley and April 11 in Santee.

Friends of Santee's River Park

The San Diego River Conservancy, a state agency within the Resources Agency of the State of California, was there to present information on its activities in support of the river.  Exectutive Officer Michael Nelson (in the green hat) explained about the agency’s work to eliminate 14 acres of invasive plants from along the river near Ward Road. 

San Diego River Conservancy

Tom Walters and Connie Wood, Trail Guides at the Mission Trails Regional Park, were on hand to share information about events, activities, and more.

Mission Trails Regional Park

County of San Diego Vector Control and San Diego County Libraries were there to share information along with the County of San Diego Vector Controlother groups and organizations.  Also on hand were several companies, including event sponsor Waste Management, SDG&E, and West Coast Arborists.SDG&E

San Diego County LibraryWaste ManagementWest Coast Arborists

Of course there were the restaurant booths as well:



Cafe 67 (The sub clubs were especially popular)

Cafe 67

Smoothie King

Smoothie King

Souplantation (love those blueberry muffins)


Hungry Howie’s

Hungry Howie's

Henry’s Marketplace

Henry's Marketplace

Just to make sure everyone had a good time, SanTree Fest also included a few other activities…

Lowe’s sponsored a “Pot a Plant” booth.

Lowe's "Pot a Plant"

The City of Santee sponsored a craft booth, with help from the Santana High School cheerleaders.


The County Parks and Recreation Department gave people an up-close look at local wildlife.

County Parks and RecreationLocal wildlife


Meeting a tarantula

Music for SanTree Fest was provided by the Virtual Strangers, a top local bluegrass band.

Virtual Strangers

Santana Cheerleaders passed out avacado cutters.

Santana Cheerleaders

2009 Miss Santee, Sierra Billock, and Miss Santee Teen, Nicole Ehlke, greeted visitors.

2009 Miss Santee & Miss Santee Teen

West Coast Arborists presented a tree climbing demonstration.

WCA Tree Climbing Demonstration

You can check out the websites of any of the organizations involved if you want information about getting involved in conservation and community activities.


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SanTree Fest 2009

Mast Park

This Saturday, March 14, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Santee will hold its fourth annual SanTree Fest to celebrate Earth Day and the city’s sixth straight year being named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.  Last year’s event was held at Cajon Park School, and included tree planting, information booths, food, music, and tours of the school’s garden.  This yearMast Park Walking Trail the festival will be held at Mast Park and will also include a guided nature walk starting at 9:45 am at the trail entrance on the northwest side of the Wal-Mart parking lot.  The walk is billed as an all-ages and abilities event, and makes a nice kick-off for the rest of the day’s activities.

Tree planting will begin about 10:15 am, and you will need a liability waiver to take part in that or any of the cleanup activities planned.  There is no need for a waiver, however, if you just want to come out and enjoy the day with your neighbors, check out the booths (several local restaurants will be involved), or listen to the bluegrass music of Virtual Strangers.  And best of all, it’s all FREE!  (Love that word, don’t you?)  By the way, there will be no parking at Mast Park except for handicapped visitors – please park in the northwest Wal-Mart lot or at Carlton Hills School.

For more information about the event, check out the SanTree Fest page at the city website (where you can also download the waiver form), or call 619-258-4100 ext 201.  Thanks go out to corporate sponsor Waste Management for helping to make this event possible.

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