Fiesta Island – From Lagoon to Dog Park

by on November 15, 2021 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

A week ago, on Tuesday November 9, the San Diego City Council finally adopted a plan for Fiesta Island, the 470-acre island in the middle of Mission Bay.

The city was considering two options for the fate of the southwest portion of Fiesta Island, which includes a very popular dog park.

  • Option “A” would have reduced the space of the fenced-in dog park to accommodate room for a playground, picnic area, boat launching area and a road to go through the dog park;
  • Option “B” was the more dog-friendly plan that calls for most of the southwest part of the island to be dedicated to our canine companions as solely an off-leash dog park.

The California Coastal Commission reviewed how to to modify the open spaces at Fiesta Island as part of the Mission Bay Park Master Plan. In 2019, the city’s Environment Committee rejected option “A” in favor of the more open space for San Diego dogs. The Coastal Commission suggested some modifications to the dog-friendly plan and the city council adopted them.

Most of the island’s northern peninsula will be closed off to the public year round. A small bike and pedestrian path on the east side of the peninsula and about half of the shoreline will be closed to the public during Least Tern breeding season.

Fiesta Island will soon feature a large off-leash dog park, a concession stand and multiple restroom areas, a campground and several areas dedicated to wildlife preservation. Some people involved in the process wanted the “island” to remain as natural and wild as possible. They resisted those who wanted to develop every corner. Somewhere in the middle, FIDO, the dog-owners group, exercised their power and got most of what they wanted –  which keeps a portion undeveloped.

Fiesta Island itself is the result of the city developing Mission Bay into an aquatic paradise in the fifties, and has no genuine history as a place. It was totally human-created, the result of the dredging of the bay to enable boating. The entire bay used to be a real lagoon and was called “Bahia Falsa” – false bay – by the Spanish.

Dog-lovers in OB and most of the Peninsula go to Dog Beach. But the expanse of the dog park on the island is impressive. And the OB Rag continues its campaign to get OBceans and Point Lomans to notice and be involved in what happens in Mission Bay. If the ocean is the front yard of Ocean Beach, then Mission Bay is the sideyard and deserves attention.

News source: 7SanDiego

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie November 15, 2021 at 12:24 pm

I often bike around Fiesta Island and enjoy the birds that make up the wildlife. Actually saw a golden eagle perched on a fence a couple years back. (I’m waiting for Judy Swink to comment; this is an issue close to her heart – Fiesta Island, not eagles, although I’m sure she loves eagles too.)


Jeeer November 15, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Dogs constantly off leash out of bounds….Even dog beach.


Judy Swink November 17, 2021 at 12:10 pm

Yes, Fiesta Island has been a great interest of mine along with all of Mission Bay Park for many years. I was on the Mission Bay Park Committee for 18 years including the many years consumed with developing the precise plan for Fiesta Island, begun in 2005 but delayed numerous times as FIDO lobbied for the lion’s share of the recreationally-usable park land on Fiesta Island – 1/3 of it. I am a strong supporter of off-leash dog park areas but there are many other park uses who also need to be included in park planning.

I am pleased that the city has finally approved a Precise Plan for Fiesta Island but remain disgusted that FIDO refused consistently to support use of 7 acres of the 93 acres in question to provide better access for other than dog owners to the large peninsula. Eighty-six (86) acres should have been sufficient to set aside for off-leash use.


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