Local man setting out on 4-day hike to raise awareness about the San Diego River

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego River has come a long way since 34 million gallons of raw, untreated sewage flowed into its waters 14 years ago.

Today, some folks might take a hike along its shores, do a little bird watching nearby or drop a fishing line in the water.

But there’s still work to be done to restore and preserve the 52-mile stretch of river that runs from the Cuyamaca Mountains northwest of Julian to the Pacific Ocean near the entrance to Mission Bay.

For Doug Taylor with the San Diego River Park Foundation, it’s a mission he hopes people will take to heart. And he’s willing to hike the entire distance of the river to show everyone what a beautiful treasure we have.

Taylor will be getting up bright and early on Thursday to begin a 4-day hike along the river. And he’s hoping you will join him by following his blog - he’ll be posting pictures and providing updates along the way.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of what’s been going on with such a beautiful river,” he said.

The San Diego River pales in comparison to the likes of the Sacramento River in northern California or the mighty Columbia River that runs through Oregon and Washington. It’s much smaller.

“Often people don’t see it unless it’s flooding,” Taylor said.

The hope is that people won't forget that the San Diego River is there. That's what happened in 2000 when the millions of gallons raw sewage spilled in to the water.  It was nearly a week before anyone noticed what had happened - even though it was the biggest sewage spill in California's history.

The San Diego River Park Foundation came into existence as a response to that environmental disaster. And they've been working to mitigate the damage ever since.

Taylor has never hiked the entire river - just stretches here and there. He expects the upper section of the river, which is more remote, will be the most beautiful part of the journey. He said once he reaches areas that are more populated below the El Capitan Reservoir, he expects to see the impact of people on the waterway.

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