Environmentalists hope new steel fence will keep off roaders out of sensitive environmental areas

$350K fence expected to protect Proctor Valley

SAN DIEGO - Environmentalists are taking on off-roaders who are illegally driving their recreation vehicles on protected lands.

This week, the Chapparal Lands Conservancy began constructing 2.5 miles of steel fencing along Proctor Valley Road to keep off-roaders out of sensitive habitats.

"This is a place, people have come with their motorcycles and quads and trucks for years," said Chapparal Lands Conservancy Director David Hogan.

Signs all along Proctor Valley Road read "off road activity prohibited" and "restricted area keep out."  

Yet, there are miles of trails carved into the valley, and there are YouTube videos of people off-roading in the area.

"One teenager in a four-wheel-drive truck, give him an hour off the road, you can cost $500,000, a million dollars worth of damage," said Hogan.

Hogan successfully lobbied for $350,000 to build the steel railing. Crews from Alpine Fence were digging holes and installing segments of the fence Thursday.

"This valley that we're standing in is a very special place," said Hogan, who added there are 30 species of endangered animals and plants in the area.

10News cameras also found endless examples of people dumping televisions, mattresses and couches in the area.

Hogan said off-roading is the biggest problem. Besides tearing up sensitive habitats, the hot engines or sparks from metal parts could cause a brush fire.

"A weekend with a red flag warning like we have coming up here, an extraordinary risk of fire when people are out doing things they're not supposed to be doing off road," said Hogan.

Hogan said it happened last year when someone was in the valley illegally and started a 20-acre fire.

Caltrans, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and the Nature Conservancy all contributed to the cost of the additional fence.  

About four miles of railing was installed in previous years by a number of people, including the Bureau of Land Management.

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