At the time Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542, a rich diversity of life was present, ranging from desert cactus to moisture-loving algae, tarantulas to sea slugs, and gray foxes to sea lions. Approximately 3,000 Native Americans lived in the San Diego area at that time. The Kumeyaay, or Diegueños according to the Spanish accounts, lived simply in the environment but likely impacted the landscape through the use of fire. Today, largely due to the impacts of European colonization and centuries of growth and development, the habitat Cabrillo saw is now among the rarest in the world. Although only a remnant of that biologically diverse ecosystem remains, it is well worth visiting and protecting.
Last updated: April 19, 2023