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friend to friend


A Project of Sierra Club DecemBer, 2006

transportation study
concludes toll road won’t fix traffic
the Foothill-South Toll Road which would bisect San Onofre State This isn’t the first time the toll road agency has exaggerated
Beach and the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy will not ease traf- their traffic projections. Inaccurate traffic and revenue predictions
fic on I-5, according to a new study by the Orange County Transpor- for the San Joaquin Hills (73) Toll Road have brought that system
tation Authority (OCTA). to the brink of bankruptcy. And just a few years ago, the proposed
The new figures contradict optimistic projections by the toll Foothill-South Toll Road was downsized from 8 lanes to 6 lanes due
road agency that the Foothill-South Toll Road would eliminate con- to weakness of demand for the project.
gestion on I-5 through South Orange County. OCTA’s long-range The OCTA has proven that the Foothill-South Toll Road will
transportation plan, which was completed in July, predicts a far not achieve its stated goal of traffic relief on I-5. What it will do is
more congested future for I-5 than the toll agency envisions. ruin California’s 5th most popular state park at San Onofre, threaten
“Even with a fully functional Foothill South, I-5 will still be the world class surf beach at Trestles, force the abandonment of the
bad. The tollway is not as advertised,” said Laguna Niguel Mayor San Mateo Campground, and bisect the Donna O’Neill Land Con-
Cathryn DeYoung, a former OCTA board member who unsuccess- servancy.
fully challenged Patricia Bates for county supervisor in the Novem- The TCA should abandon their plans for the Foothill-South Toll
ber election. Road and concentrate on real transportation solutions – like fixing
“Both agencies should sit down, look at the data and deter- I-5 - that preserve our state park, clean surf and community.
mine what they are going to do,” DeYoung said.
Visit the OCTA website at to view the 2006 Long Range Transportation Plan

8th annual hike & holiday party

SAVE THE DATE: saturday, dec. 16th
hike: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PARTY: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
See inside for details.
volunteer profile: carey strombotne
into action
Derek, Carey and
Rex Strombotne
with Buddy,
in front of the
Carolyn Wood
View Knoll and
a couple of years ago some friends were heading out
to Tesoro High School to a hearing on the proposed
the Laguna
Greenbelt. 241 toll road. Living in Laguna Beach, I knew all about
toll roads, the years of effort to block the 73 toll road
from carving through our gorgeous canyon, and how
destructive and wasteful that turned out to be. I had also
seen a few “Save Trestles” bumper stickers around town,
and was curious to learn more about the fight to save the
famous surf break.
That day, when I learned that the Foothill-South Toll Road would go directly through a California state park, I immediately
knew this was fundamentally wrong. In fact, I was horrified! The more I learned about the plan to pave through San Onofre State Beach,
bisect the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy, trounce a Native American sacred site, imperil an entire list of endangered species and foul
the world class surf break at Trestles, the angrier I felt. The impassioned speakers at that hearing and passionate residents who showed up
in numbers to oppose the toll road inspired me. Although I had never thought of myself as an activist or environmentalist per se, I decided
to join the fight.
My friend Janine Robinson, who was with me that day, also was inspired into action. For several years we had been walking our
dogs through local trails amid Laguna’s hard-earned open space. On our hikes, we have no choice but to see the concrete mass of toll road
cutting directly through the hills. This constant reminder inspired both of us to inform our friends of the threat to other precious open space.
To learn more, we contacted Brittany McKee of Friends of the Foothills, and invited her to my home to talk to a group of friends.

…we learned that the city of Oceanside was about to pass a

resolution opposing the toll road being built through a
state park. Janine and I decided we could help motivate our
hometown (Laguna Beach) to pass a similar resolution.
About 40 people showed up, and once they understood the impact of the toll road, they were all eager to help stop it, too. Shortly after
that meeting, we learned that the city of Oceanside was about to pass a resolution opposing the toll road being built through a state park. Janine
and I decided we could help motivate our hometown to pass a similar resolution. Using the local media and a growing email loop, we spread
the word about the resolution. The night that our City Council was set to vote on it, nearly a hundred people packed the council chambers to
support our efforts. Laguna’s council members passed the resolution unanimously to the whoops and cheers of the entire room.
Janine and I were further inspired to join a group who were going to Sacramento to demonstrate on the Capitol steps against the toll
road, and help bring the issue statewide.
Throughout this process, I have learned that getting involved and taking small steps can add up to making a huge difference. This is a
fight that we cannot afford to ignore. Together, we can “Save Trestles” and stop this absurd and destructive toll road!

Carey Strombotne
Volunteer, Friends of the Foothills/Sierra Club
the bolsa chica wetlands: foothill-south
an inspirational success story
By Jerry Collamer
a few months back, a 30 year struggle to preserve and restore something toll road
wonderful, necessary and important along Southern California’s coastline
The Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach had been taken hostage 100
years ago by oil drilling interests to be continuously abused and exploited - fi- native american
nally to face the ultimate Southern California coastal open space battle-to become
a luxury housing development.
To stop the destruction of this fragile habitat, local residents organized and
sacred sites
began educating the public about the value of these wetlands and their impor- By Rebecca Robles, Chair, Native
tance to the fragile Southern California ecosystem. American Sacred Sites Task Force
Finally, astonishingly, preservation won out over concrete. The Bolsa
Chica Wetlands are preserved and its restoration is now ongoing. A new Coast
Highway bridges a newly dredged inlet allowing ocean water to clean and revital-
t he state park at San Onofre State Beach is a
treasure for numerous reasons. To local Native
ize the wetlands. Americans, San Onofre is known as Panhe-
30-years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent - to put back, as God (Pange or Panxe), one of the original villages
originally intended it to be – 900 acres of wetlands. of early California. The Portola Expedition of
Now drive 30 miles south from Bolsa Chica, to the perfect San Mateo 1769 provides the earliest written descriptions
Creek flowing from its pristine 20,000 acre coastal watershed, to a vibrant wet of this historic coastal region.
and wild ocean experience called Trestles. You’ve entered San Onofre Beach As the Portola expedition crossed the
State Park. coastal portion of present day Southern Cali-
The San Mateo Watershed contains the pristine San Mateo Creek and a vast fornia several villages were encountered.
undisturbed coastal watershed. The gold standard for all other south-coast water- Near the mouth of San Mateo Canyon,
sheds. Whole and vital. Call it naturally perfect and you’d be right. Because that’s Francisco Crespi, a member of Portola's expid-
what it is. ition, was told about two Indian children who
Let it be. Let it be. Let it be. No toll road. Not here. Not ever. were dying at the inland rancheria and he vis-
Our coastline can’t afford it. ited them to baptize them before they died. This
is the origin of the name Los Christianitos.
Panhe was the largest village according
to the traditional history of the Acjachemen
Nation (Juaneno.) The population of this
thriving village became the labor source for
Mission San Juan Capistrano. Panhe has been
correlated with archeological site CA-ORA-22
at the mouth of San Mateo Creek.
This sacred site is part of San Mateo
Archeological District, and listed on the
National Register of Historic Places and the
Native American Heritage Commissions
Sacred Lands file. Panhe was part of a signifi-
cant network of villages which are now paved
over and inaccessible for cultural activities.
Panhe is an active ceremonial site. It
plays a crucial role in Acjachemen history
and is a place where traditional ceremonies
and reburials have occurred. It is irreplace-
Friends of the Foothills/Sierra Club volunteers at the San Clemente Fiesta Day spread the able and cannot be mitigated or replaced in
word about the destructive Foothill-South Toll Road. We collected over 1,000 signed cards present time. The loss of this sacred site,
which we will deliver to the California Coastal Commission asking that they protect Tres- located on public land, would be a gross
tles Beach and the San Mateo Campground from Foothill-South Toll Road. tragedy.
If you would like to volunteer at our next outreach event, contact Brittany
at 949-361-7534 or email
san onofre state beach on governor’s website
Congratulations to everyone who has called, emailed and sent letters to Governor Schwarzenegger to let him
know that you oppose the proposal to extend the Foothill-South Toll Road through San Onofre State Beach. As a
result of your efforts, the governor’s email page now offers, “San Onofre Toll Road” as a subject, along with
other state issues including Education, Caltrans, and Immigration. This demonstrates that we have the Gover-
nor’s attention and have succeeded in raising the profile of the campaign to statewide significance.

Help us keep the pressure on!

Send the governor an email telling him
to oppose the Foothill-South Toll Road.
San Clemente, California 92674
P.O. Box 3942

A Project of Sierra Club

stop the toll road south

Permit No. 50
saturday, december 16th!
hike and holiday party
don't miss the annual
Saturday, January 13
Sierra Sage/Friends of the Foothills
Saturday, March 17
Sierra Sage/Friends of the Foothills

san clemente ridgeline trestles beach

Enjoy this ridgeline walk with panoramic views of the San Clem- Enjoy this walk to the famous surfing beach at Trestles and the
ente back country and Dana Point on a clear day. The trail is hilly extensive wetlands area through which San Mateo Creek flows. A
and mostly paved. Meet 8:30 am at the end of Calle Cordillera in Friends of the Foothills member will discuss the ecological impor-
the San Clemente Business Park. From I-5, go 1 mile east on Ave. tance of the surrounding area and the damage that connection of
Pico and turn right on Calle Amanecer. Go 0.3 mi and turn right on the proposed Foothill-South Toll Road at I-5 would do. Meet 8:30
Calle Cordillera to end. 3 mi. rt., 200’ gain. Bring water, hat, and am at Trestles surfers’ parking lot. (Take Cristianitos off-ramp from
sunscreen. Rain cancels. I-5 at south end of San Clemente, go left one block and left to lot). 4
mi rt. 100’ gain. Bring water, hat, and sunscreen. Rain cancels.

Sunday, February 11 Saturday, May 5

Sierra Sage/Friends of the Foothills Sierra Sage/Friends of the Foothills

donna o’neill land conservancy donna o’neill land conservancy

Enjoy the beautiful natural scenery on this slow-paced nearly level Enjoy the beautiful natural scenery on this slow-paced nearly level
walk. Expect early wildflowers. A Friends of the Foothills mem- walk. Expect early wildflowers. A Friends of the Foothills mem-
ber will discuss the ecological importance of the Donna O'Neill ber will discuss the ecological importance of the Donna O'Neill
Land Conservancy and the surrounding area. Meet 8:30 am at the Land Conservancy and the surrounding area. Meet 8:30 am at the
South Orange County rideshare parking lot. Conservancy dona- South Orange County rideshare parking lot. Conservancy dona-
tion of $5 to support the work of the DOLC is appreciated. 3 mi. tion of $5 to support the work of the DOLC is appreciated. 3 mi.
rt. Bring water, sunscreen and hat. Rain cancels. rt. Bring water, sunscreen and hat. Rain cancels.

Ever wonder what great open spaces and

wonderful vistas lie beyond the fences and park-
ing lots of South Orange County? SAVE THE DATE
Let experienced Sierra Club hike annual starr ranch BBQ
leaders show you some
of Southern California's Sunday, April 22
most beautiful places. Sierra Sage/Friends of the Foothills

All Sierra Club members and friends are invited to the

annual Sierra Sage Starr Ranch Barbecue to enjoy this
authentic bit of Old California ranch life with a “genuine
country barbecue.” Prior to the barbecue we will have
birding walks and hikes within this beautiful rustic 4,000
acre Audubon Sanctuary. A portion of the proceeds will
For more information or directions go to the Friends of the Foothills campaign. Details will
call Brittany McKee, Conservation be provided in the Spring newsletter. For more informa-
Organizer at 949-361-7534 or tion, please contact Mike Sappingfield at 949-768-3610

South Orange County (SOC) hikes rideshare meeting point: Ortega Business Center parking lot,
southeast corner, at the intersection of Ortega Highway and Rancho Viejo Road in San Juan Capistrano.
Important information for all hikes: Always bring water; sturdy, comfortable shoes; hat. Wear sunscreen. Rain cancels.
th Dec. 16th
hike and holiday party
10:30am to 11:30am

Enjoy an easy educational walk through San Ono-

fre State Beach, and learn from a knowledgeable
Sierra Club volunteer about the importance of the
San Mateo Watershed, San Onofre State Beach,
and the rich Native American history of the park.
We’ll also talk about the damage that the proposed
Foothill-South Toll Road would do to this area,
which scientists say is of global significance.
Meet at at the Trestles surfer's parking lot
(Take Cristianitos off-ramp from I-5 at South
end of San Clemente, go left one block and left
to lot). Bring water, hat, and sunscreen. Rain

11:30am to 1:00pm
guest speaker:
Rebecca Robles
Chair, Native American Sacred Sites Task Force

After working up an appetite on the hike, please

join us for a picnic (provided by Sierra Club) at
Please join the Sierra Club and the Friends of the Foot- the San Mateo Campground Amphitheatre at the
San Mateo Campground. We’ll celebrate another
hills Coalition for our annual holiday celebration. It’s our
year that we have successfully fought the Foothill-
way of saying thank you for all of the hard work you do South Toll Road, enjoy great food and honor our
to protect Orange County’s valuable natural areas and most hardworking volunteers with an outdoor pic-
nic at the park.
clean creeks and surf. Our grassroots campaign could
not be successful without you. Kids and family are welcome

Photo by:

rsvp: Brittany McKee at 949-361-7534 or

Friends of the Foothills is a community-based effort made up of thousands of local residents, business
owners, and organizations including the Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and the Audubon Society
dedicated to protecting valuable open space in our region, including protecting San Onofre State Beach.

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