San Diego Canyonlands is a non-profit that promotes, protects and restores urban canyons through education and community stewardship, particularly involving neighborhood schools. Improved connectivity across the canyons within the City Heights neighborhood became a Canyonlands focus as existing unplanned routes were difficult for children and others to use because they were extremely steep and were sloughing surface soils into downstream watersheds during winter rains. This was forcing children to use much longer on-street routes when there was the potential for trails through the canyons as appealing shortcuts.
The trail project was envisioned as a five-mile loop linking four urban canyons, serving as a linear park for neighborhood residents and youth with better walking and biking routes to school, as a nature classroom, as well as a hiking and jogging route. In 2013, KTUA provided technical assistance to San Diego Canyonlands on an Urban Greening Grant through the Strategic Growth Council. San Diego Canyonlands successfully received a $364,860 grant for planning and construction.
KTUA continued to worked with Canyonlands to select sustainable routes, followed by preparing design guidelines, a construction drawing package, shepherding them through city permitting, selecting a contractor and overseeing construction, a two year process. Construction administration included flagging trail routes to avoid sensitive plants and revising some segments due to erosion damage that had occurred in the two years since the original alignments were developed.