Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | June 3, 2011

State Park News – Gate & Lock the Road???

  Ohmygoodness!  Take a look at the plans coming down from Sacramento on GATING and LOCKING the road through the State Park.  I’ve waited to turn this letter around because I first wanted to speak with our wonderful Ranger, Jessica, and her supervisor, Nedra. 

The idea of having padlocks at the entrance to the park and at the top of the Nate Harrison Grade, of course are not their ideas at all.  So, please be kind in your comments to them – don’t shoot the messengers! 

My suggestion would be, if the Park must close, KEEP THE PUBLIC ROAD OPEN.  Nate Harrison Grade, to my knowledge, was the first road up the Mountain, and to my way of thinking, was a Public Road long before the land was acquired by the State Park.  Having to fiddle with padlocks to open and close, each time the 300+ staff and guests come and go at the Christian Conference Center, or the 300+ staff and guests at the School Camp, plus the utility companies and all the vendors, seems to make no sense.

If close they must, would it be a wise idea to simply put a chain across the driveways, residences, and campgrounds, but KEEP THE ROAD OPEN?  Locking out the road in two places, in my opinion, invites vandalism.  I can only imagine that some folks would resort to having bolt cutters tucked away for those times when the South Grade is closed due to an accident or mud slide, and residents find the need to be part of a long line of vehicles winding up the Nate to get home to Palomar, Warners, Borrego or beyond.

The State Park has maintenance the park of State Park Road that goes through the park. So, road maintiance snow plowing would need to be addressed – could the County take that on? 

Of course, many of us are looking forward to the opening of the newly refurbished Boucher Fire Lookout.  Lotsa money has recently been invested there and it is almost ready for the Grand Opening!  That historic building is on State Park land (oh, that land actually belongs to “We the People”, right?).    It just seems that there could be other options.

Another idea is that  instead of boarding up the historic homes in the park, perhaps they could be rented  out.  Vacation Rentals are booming up here.  Makes sense to me!   I’d be glad to manage them.  How fun to stay in one of those cabins built by the CCCs seven decades ago.  Think there could be quite a waiting list!

Click to read Nedra’s letter.  She welcomes your comments and also invites you to voice your opinion to Sacramento:

email their comments and feel free to share this information
• Click on Parks Closure List (Orange block)
• Click on “Share your ideas for helping State Parks” (at the bottom of page)

Attention Ruth Coleman

PO Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296

Save Our State Park!

Bonnie Phelps,

Editor of the Palomar Mountain News since 1998

760 742-1742


  1. From: Rosemary Johnston
    Nedra shared some costs and income info with me that indicates Palomar park just about broke even in terms of income vs. costs for salaries and maintenance. It had more than 100,000 visitors in 2008-2009!
    This is just a crime. I cant’ bear the thought of not taking our grandkids to Doane Pond to listen to the frog symphony on a summer afternoon or frying up some trout we caught at the pond. Ernie Cowan is right. It is a jewel heist.
    I have already contacted Steve Breen, the SD Union cartoonist, and given him an idea of a cartoon with a park closed sign and a ‘welcome vandals, poachers and arsonists’ sign because that’s who will occupy the park once it’s closed. It will be trashed.

    Rosemary Johnston
    Executive Director
    Interfaith Shelter Network of San Diego
    3530 Camino del Rio No., s. 301
    San Diego, Ca. 92108

  2. I like Bonnie’s idea……GO Bonnie! I don’t think that a gate and padlocks is going to keep adventuress souls out of the park, they will just park and trek it. My family and I have been visiting PMSP for 23 years. My children who are now in their twentys witnessed their first snow fall, built their first snowman, first time sledding and catching a fish. We still on occassion rent a cabin for much needed serenity from metropolis. I know that if there were more opportunities for rentals we would try those out as well. Yes, it’s unfortunate that the park is closing and it’s sad, but I think with Bonnie’s ideas we can take a negative and turn it into a positive and in turn create more fond memories for future families!

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