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By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – After more than four years of efforts by local environmentalists and community leaders to convince the state to take action on a 25-year-old resolution, Caltrans and the City of San Diego have designated State Route 52 a Scenic Highway. 

The designation applies to a stretch from mile post 9.5 near Santo Road in San Diego to mile post 13 near Mast Boulevard in Santee.  The highway passes through Mission Trails Regional Park.

According to CalTrans, “SR 52 traverses an impressive open-space system that preserves San Diego’s diverse natural history. Notable scenic features include: Mission Trails Summit which divides the coastal plain from inland valley and Cowles Mountain, the highest point in the City of San Diego (1,592 feet).  From within MTRP, views on clear days extend from sea level to over 6,000 feet in Cuyamaca State Park and the Cleveland National Forest.” 

Mission Trails also contains natural habitats including riparian woodlands, vernal pools, coastal safe and chaparral as well as sensitive habitats for the Endangered least Bell's vireo and thraetened California gnatcatcher.

Caltrans officials, along with Santee Vice Mayor Jack Dale and San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman, unveiled a new sign Wednesday at Mission Trails.

Save Mission Trails volunteers Theresa Mullins and Roslind Varghese discovered the unrealized resolution, according to Preserve Wild Santee’s Facebook page. Preserve Wild Santee also acknowledged the efforts of Santee Councilman Jack Dale, Save Mission Trails President Stephen Houlahan and the SMT volunteers, planner Melissa Garcia, former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilman Scott Sherman as well as Caltrans Scenic Highway Coordinator Stephen Alvaraz.