Dear Friends,

I spent the past two days in San Diego to get the Max Lenail Memorial Bridge back on track. I made good progress.

Laurie and I always knew that we would face government bureaucracy, and that we would have to stay very involved in the project. It is a private project on public land. We own the project, but the City decides in the end.

We have had amazing supporters all along:

-Councilmember Raul Campillo, who represents Mission Trails Regional Park and the surrounding communities (District 7).
-Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Morrissey, who erected a bench for Max right next to the San Diego River Crossing where the bridge will be built. Jennifer has been a full-on supporter of the bridge from day one.
-The San Diego Park and Recreation Department, who want the bridge completed to improve access and safety in the Park.
-Clubs and associations, from mountain bikers to hikers; members of the public; and the local news media.

Thank you for your support

In this latest visit, I again went down to the San Diego River Crossing, which is always an emotional experience. With me were Jennifer Morrissey and Foundation Board member Cindy Cornelius. Here are photos of us on the lovely Max Lenail bench (left). And facing the exact spot where Max perished (right). It was so idyllic and tranquil yesterday, but it quickly becomes an ominous place after a storm.

I met with senior City staff, and presented — alongside our project manager KPFF — to the Mission Trails Regional Park Task Force chaired by Councilmember Raul Campillo. The City’s Development Services Department presented their status as well. Raul Campillo strongly re-emphasized how much he wants the bridge built.

Top left: Jennifer Morrissey, Cindy Cornelius, Max Lenail bench
Top right: Ed Christensen and Erika Ferreira (both from Parks and Rec), and Raul Campillo with Kwaay Paay Peak in the background

Bottom: Evan Lakin (KPFF project manager), Liz Shearer-Nguyen (San Diego Development Services program manager), Elainey Fetene (KPFF), and Bao-Tran Vo (KPFF). Elainey and Bao are young KPFF engineers who have brought new energy and skills to the project.


We are actively planning for borings at the site at the end of September – the timing dictated by various environmental variables, such as water levels and wildlife. These will inform the exact location of the Max Lenail Memorial Bridge, its design and engineering, and its final budget.

While the City told us final approval may take another two years, we believe we can again beat the odds and get it done sooner. Our many supporters echo a similar optimism.

We so appreciate your interest and support, and will continue to send updates on our trials and victories alike!

With love,
Ben & Laurie