City Council approves of strawberry field trail


Jason Kanetakis

With the Encina Plant seen in the distance, the proposed trail would span the Hub Park and strawberry fields area, neighboring the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Carlsbad City Council voted for the approval of a nearly 2.5 mile-long trail extending from the landmark strawberry fields to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. The Council approved the allocation of $674,500 in a unanimous vote last week.

The funds come from Proposition C, a measure approved by voters back in 2002 designed to pay for city trails and open space projects. The proposition is responsible for the funding of several Carlsbad park projects, the latest of which contributes to funding this landmark trail.

“[Prop C pays] for the environmental studies, all of the regulation procedures, coastal commission and construction, ” Councilwoman Cori Schumacher said. “Construction is a very active word for what will be happening [at the strawberry fields].”

The trail will run for 2.4 miles through an area known in Carlsbad for its sensitivity and protected habitats, as well as the prominent and loved aesthetic of the strawberry fields and the next door Hub Park area.

Hub Park neighbors the strawberry fields area. It is currently being leased by the City from SDG&E. Photo by Jason Kanetakis

“Right now [the trail is] imagined broadly as a multi-use trail, about 8 feet wide, which means you can get runners, cyclists [or] you can get folks who are walking their dogs on [a] leash,” Schumacher said. “We are committed to giving the community what it wants, which could also mean other passive uses such as picnic benches.”

Balancing the proposed trail’s construction and existence with the current protected and unique habitat of Hub Park is a vital issue of the construction progress, and the city council has made sure to instigate all studies and requirements for the trail in order to avoid any negative impact on the environment.

“[In] the environmental impact report studies, we’re testing and looking for pesticides, we want to look at the different species that are out there, and really just assess the land for what we’re going to need to do to mitigate any impacts,” Schumacher said.

The strawberry field trail is being planned around being as minimal and safe for the environment as possible, while also satisfying every trail-walking Carlsbadian wanting to enjoy more time gazing down a SoCal sunset with a view of the Hedionda Lagoon, Encina Power Plant and all the wilderness in between.

“I heard over and over we want access to the trail,” Schumacher said. “Everybody loved the idea of the open space being accessible and having a trail that would connect one of the key properties that we have in the city of Carlsbad: the Agua Hedionda lagoon. “So heading into being elected, I’ve always had this project in mind … It really signifies that period after the three, four years of a divided city around this particular issue that I’m hoping can bring us close to a more united era.”

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