Community Commentary Life, Liberty and Leadership

Lagoon conservancy needs our help

There’s a buzz in North County these days on the subject of preserving community character. 

Those of us blessed with the good fortune to call North County home know we’ve found a unique jewel along the coast to raise our families and live our lives.

That’s why I was so happy to speak with Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident Janie DeCelles this week about an exciting project she is working on to protect the community character we all experience as we drive the historic Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar into Encinitas. The project, called “The Campaign for Gateway Park” is an effort to save precious non-replaceable lagoon land to benefit current and future generations. The catch is that without financial support from the community the land might not be saved. They need our help and it seems to me the public has a choice on this one: community character or bulldozers.

The property is located at the southern entrance to Encinitas as you drive north along the PCH. As you embark on a sweeping turn you pass the Gateway Property located on the east side of the PCH. The property abuts the San Elijo Lagoon and the Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail. It sits directly across from Seaside Beach and has views to Dana Point. The goal of the campaign is to save the property and its natural beauty, trails and ecosystem for future generations. The alternative might be a high-density hotel.

The land had been proposed for a large-scale development that would have destroyed existing community character. Late in 2011 the property came onto the market because of a faltering economy and the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy was able to purchase the property for $3.75 million thanks to some community members who stepped forward to loan funds.

Today the Conservancy is seeking to raise funds to repay the lenders so that they can permanently own the property. The goal is $3.75 million in 2012. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the public to step forward and help protect important land for future generations. The window is closing and time is of the essence.

All donors of $2,500 or more will be acknowledged on the site and certainly any amount is appreciated. Ways of giving include cash, stock or land to the Conservancy that might be traded or sold and planned gifts from trusts or estates. The objective is to ensure the Conservancy has the funds to manage the property in perpetuity. If you value community character this is an opportunity to help preserve it.

Information about this terrific project is available at

Thanks to Janie and the many community members who have stepped forward to help get the project this far. Your leadership is an asset to all North County residents and is a glowing example of participating in liberty.