Young people tried out new bike park.
Young people surveyed county’s new bike park in Otay Valley. Photo by Chris Stone

Riders bicycling through a large ceremonial ribbon opened Otay Valley’s Greg Cox Bike Park on Wednesday. Seven miles away, officials unveiled the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Campground.

Jason Decker, 36, of Chula Vista took several spins around the course.

“I love this,” he said. “It’s a great outlet. It’s something I wish I had as a kid. I think it is perfect for this area.”

Decker called the area “underserved,” and “anything new and kind of like a challenge, and kind of get kids outside instead of getting into trouble is going to be great.”

County Supervisor Nora Vargas, who represents the district where the projects are, said: “We are excited for the new recreation opportunities these two new parks are bringing not only to the South County but to all San Diego County.”

“We must work together to continue to open new public spaces, along with more inclusive play spaces like the Bike Park, and to balance that growth with the necessary protections of our land and local resources.”

The $14.3 million, 79-acre Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Campground offers scenic views of the valley, access to more than 20 miles of trails and 51 primitive campsites, including 16 for tents, five for equestrian campers, 30 multi-use sites that can accommodate trailers and 10 yurts.

The campground is across from 1942 Monument Road and features County Parks’ only yurts — modern versions of ancient, round, tentlike, covered camping spaces, with doors, windows, bed frames and space for four to 10 people.

Each ADA-accessible yurt site has a picnic table, fire ring and a parking spot, with the option to add a second car. Primitive campsites do not offer hookups, power or water at each site.

“We are excited for the new recreation opportunities these two new parks are bringing not only to the South County but to all San Diego County,” said Vargas. “We must work together to continue to open new public spaces, along with more inclusive play spaces like the Bike Park, and to balance that growth with the necessary protections of our land and local resources.”

The projects are about seven miles, or 15 minutes’ drive, apart from one another in South County and will provide all county residents with two new recreational destinations.

The $14.3 million, 79-acre Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Campground offers scenic views of the valley, access to more than 20 miles of trails and 51 primitive campsites, including 16 for tents, five for equestrian campers, 30 multi-use sites that can accommodate trailers, and 10 yurts.

The campground also has an amphitheater, a nature education center and nature play equipment made of natural objects for children, and restrooms and showers.

The campsite is taking reservations for the regular sites and yurts will be available starting this weekend. Camping can be booked for $24 for tent, equestrian and multi-use sites, plus a $5 reservation fee. Reservation fees for the yurts are $60 for the smaller ones and $90 for the larger ones.

The Greg Cox Bike Park is the second bike skills park the county has built and will be operated by the city of Chula Vista from 8 a.m. to sunset. (The county’s first bike park, Sweetwater Bike Park, opened in January 2020.)

Like Sweetwater, the Bike Park named for the 25-year county supervisor, was built to create exercise and fun for riders of all ages and is free for users.

A man visiting the park said he appreciated the features, but was concerned it could be vandalized because there is no fence around the structures.

The 3.2-acre, $1.05 million park is just beyond 253 Rancho Drive and features beginner and intermediate bike trails, a beginner’s zone, a jump line and what county officials say is California’s largest modular pump track — a bicycle course of rollers, banked turns and other features that let bikers ride without pedaling.

Cox was thanked at the opening ceremony for his efforts and said he was “honored with the recognition and the naming,” but said it’s been a collaborative effort among three jurisdictions.

“It’s going to bring a lot of kids out and give them the skills they need to get outside and get some exercise and become healthier,” Cox said. “So it’s a real joy to see and it’s even more exciting to see the kids out here – and adults — using this facility.”

The bike park was immediately opened to the public at the end of Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting.

“Both of these projects have been a labor of love for County Parks,” said Brian Albright, director for the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation. “Research shows that spending time outdoors and in nature is good for you.

“We hope our parks will inspire more people to be active and build social connections – two things that seem especially vital, given the past year, for our physical, emotional and mental well-being.”

Contributing photographer Chris Stone contributed to this report.

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