SOLANA BEACH — In an effort to keep the Coastal Rail Trail well maintained, Solana Beach officials have agreed to informal monthly meetings with representatives from a local garden club with the hopes of bringing new life to the trail.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, there was no regular landscaping maintenance, which led to a proliferation of weeds along the trail.
During the Solana Beach City Council’s annual review of the popular trail this week, two representatives from volunteer-based Seaweeders Garden Club offered to help maintain the path.
Kathleen Drummond, a member of Seaweeders, said vegetation overgrowth along the trail is an ongoing problem.
“We’ll have to work harder as a community to get the trail back into its glory than we would have had the weeds not grown so prolifically during the pandemic,” Drummond said.
Drummond proposed creating a select committee of Seaweeders to meet on a regular basis with city representatives and discuss preserving the trail’s natural beauty by maintaining the surrounding foliage.
“Just to talk about our observations along the trail and maybe make some suggestions where some additional maintenance, or a focused maintenance, would be recommended,” Drummond said.
The Solana Beach portion of the Coastal Rail Trail stretches approximately 1.38 miles from Ocean Street down to Via De La Valle between Coast Highway 101 and the rail line. The trail is often used by both pedestrians and cyclists.
Cindi Clemons, of Seaweeders, also spoke to the City Council this week to offer her perspective on the issue and while reiterating the group’s desire to aid the city in trail maintenance.
“I would like to add that a well-maintained landscape provides a peaceful and meditative quality to the wellness of those who frequent it,” Clemons said. “I walk the Rail Trail in its entirety a couple of times a week and enjoy watching other people enjoy this rare gem in our city. Thank you for making the asset available for all of us to enjoy.”
The council displayed broad support for the initiative and directed staff to conduct regular meetings with Seaweeders to discuss ongoing maintenance.
Mayor Lesa Heebner mentioned her personal disappointment with the current state of the Coastal Rail Trail.
“As the city manager knows, I’ve been unhappy with the state of the Rail Trail for a while now because of the proliferation of weeds,” Heebner said. “It just seems that they’ve gotten away from us. And I’ve also noted that sometimes I watch the weed pulling and it’s not getting those roots out.”
Councilmember Jewel Edson spoke on behalf of the council and expressed gratitude to the Seaweeders.
“I want to thank the Seaweeders for their generous offer. I think this is a great move to get it whipped back into shape,” Edson said. “You know with gardens it takes a little bit of time sometimes but I think that we have all the right people on the job, both staff and our very generous Seaweeders.”