Tijuana River Valley Campground ...

David Norgard presenting the status of the Tijuana River Valley campground.

David Norgard, senior park manager with the San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation, addressed the Kiwanis Club of Imperial Beach/South Bay and presented an overview of the proposed Tijuana River Valley Campground. Construction is slated to begin later this year with a Grand Opening scheduled for next Spring.

Norgard, along with Crystal Benham, group program manager, were the featured speakers during the Kiwanis Club semi-monthly meeting held last Tuesday, May 7, and were introduced by Leon Benham, Kiwanis president elect, (no relation to Crystal Benham).

The campground will be located along Monument Road about ½ mile north of the international border, a mile from the coast and just east of Border Field State Park. The campground will offer 67 campsites in phase 1, including multi-use (tent or RV), tent-only sites, large yurts, and small yurts with some of the yurts being Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible. Each campsite will have a fire ring and a picnic table. 

In addition to the campgrounds, there will be an outdoor nature education center with an amphitheater, which will offer a variety of programming and interpretive events. The campground will be connected to the existing 22 miles of trails and over 1,800 acres of the Tijuana Estuary. 

The campsites will not include water or electrical hookups and will avoid sensitive habitat areas which will be protected by cable fencing. Amenities will include restrooms and showers for guests, and there will be an onsite ranger’s office.

The first phase of the campground, described above, is fully funded and was approved unanimously by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in January 2019. The second phase, east of the main campground, is planned to be a separate cluster of 13 equestrian focused campsites but still requires funding and further approvals.

Following the presentation, Crystal Benham answered questions and noted that due to ongoing sewage spills in the Tijuana River Valley, there have been concerns that the campground might contain contaminated soils. To alleviate these concerns, the Department of Parks and Recreation tested twenty-nine soil samples, both dry and wet samples, from the proposed campground site which showed nothing that would constitute health hazards or showed any contamination from the sewage. Leon Benham added that he conducted soil testing in 2014 in Goat Canyon and learned that the soil in the area was safe and the sewage pollution didn’t contaminate the underlying soil. 

Crystal Benham also addressed concerns about flooding and said that all of the campground structures will be outside of the floodway and there was no recent history of flood waters reaching the proposed campground site.

Norgard said that he has discussed this project with representatives from the U.S. Border Patrol and they said that increased public activity associated with the campground would be positive and create a deterrent toward potential criminal activity. 

For more information about the Tijuana River Valley Campground please visit the San Diego Parks and Recreation website www.sdparks.org.

The Kiwanis Club of Imperial Beach/South Bay meets at 12:15 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at St James Church, 866 Imperial Beach Boulevard. Everyone is welcome. More information is available at https://kiwanisibsouthbay.org/.

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