San Diego, California - A new observation deck at Hollister Pond is the latest improvement to a South County swath of land that was once a dumping ground filled with concrete debris, trash, refrigerators, abandoned cars and dying vegetation. 

The deck was formally opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony SaturdayCounty Supervisor Greg Cox and dozens of residents formally opened a deck that overlooks the pond Saturday and also announced a prestigious new award lauding the County’s leadership in the ongoing restoration of Otay Valley Regional Park (OVRP) and greater south county area.

The California Park and Recreation Society presented the Creating Community Award of Excellence for Environmental Stewardship to County officials Friday. The award honors the County’s efforts in involving the community in beautification projects, community cleanups, environmental education and more for County parks and preserves in the south bay, including OVRP. 

The park currently features 8,500 acres of open space in the South County and plans are in the works to expand the parkland 13-miles from the coastal area to Upper Otay Lakes. Right now, the park offers quick trail access to the popular Bayshore Bikeway, fields, picnic areas and hiking, biking, and horse trails. The park is also designed to protect open space, wildlife, historical, agricultural and archaeological attributes.  

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Supervisor Cox said the award should be shared with the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, the Sellers Keever Foundation, the Swiss Club, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, I Love a Clean San Diego and volunteer support organizations..

“As a community we have worked together to create more public access to parks and open spaces and provide healthy recreational opportunities,” said Supervisor Cox. “Today, you can hike along the park’s completed western trail system and enjoy the habitat of burrowing owls, California gnatcatchers and native plants such as the San Diego sunflower and the Otay tar plant.”

“Thanks to Supervisor Cox and the community, this precious land will be preserved for generations to come,” said County Parks Director Brian Albright.   

For more information about County parks, visit www.sdparks.org.