News Release


DATE: May 26, 2005

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors gave a nod to the past last week by making future plans for two localities that played important roles in regional history.

At the urging of Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the Board voted unanimously to acquire 230 acres of land from the Navy that would help open an off-limits stretch the Old Stowe Trail. The century-old logging route once connected Santee to Poway through, what are now, the Gooden Ranch and Sycamore Canyon open space preserves located east of Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

In addition, Supervisor Jacob convinced her colleagues to hire a consultant to help the County seek a national historical designation for Camp Lockett, a once-bustling WWII army camp in the small East County community of Campo. Completed in 1941, Camp Lockett was the last cavalry base- an installation that specialized in training troops to fight on horseback- built in the United States.

"Remarkable chapters of our region's past have unfolded along the Old Stowe Trail and especially at Camp Lockett. I'm delighted to help to preserve and honor our history by caring for these two locations," said Supervisor Jacob.

Camp Lockett is perhaps best known as the last home of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, entirely African-American cavalry troops with a proud history dating back to the Civil War. The camp also served as a prison camp for Italian soldiers captured by the U.S. during the war.

Soldiers at Lockett patrolled the rugged border on horseback and guarded the region's transportation links and water supply from an invasion that military strategists feared might come through Mexico, according to a 1993 article by Meredith Vezina published in the Journal of San Diego History.

The Stowe Trail was used to transport agricultural products and mail from East County to the northern part of the region. Today, it is popular with hikers and horseback riders who have been working for years to open a stretch of the trail owned by the Navy and restricted to military use.

Under Jacob's proposal, the County will acquire the land in exchange for an in-kind project to the Navy. The deal requires approval of federal legislation.