Whelan Lake is a Bike Trail Site according to Parks and Rec, and Bicycle Master plans.
However, we were told that Oceanside reneged on the idea or regretted having it a bike site because of the birds at Whelan.
The facts are as follows in regards to birds and trail impact:
A study of the Boise River in Idaho examined flushing distances of bald eagles when exposed to actual and simulated walkers, joggers, fishermen, bicyclists, and vehicles (Spahr 1990). The highest frequency of eagle flushing was associated with walkers (46 percent), followed by fishermen (34 percent), bicyclists (15 percent), joggers (13 percent), and vehicles (6 percent). However, bicyclists caused eagles to flush at the greatest distances (mean = 148 meters), followed by vehicles (107m), walkers (87m), fishermen (64m), and joggers (50m). Eagles were most likely to flush when recreationists approached slowly or stopped to observe them, and were less alarmed when bicyclists or vehicles passed quickly at constant speeds. Similar findings have been reported by other authors, who attribute the difference in flushing frequency between walkers and bikers/vehicles either to the shorter time of disturbance and/or the additional time an eagle has to “decide” to fly (Van der Zande and others. 1984).
Bikes typically move through areas more quickly and quietly than other user groups so critters can get back to their business more quickly. And they aren’t likely to pause and scan with “predatory-like” moves of people with binoculars and cameras, whom are more likely to spook animals. Bikes have the lowest environmental impact to birds as noted here, or habitats in general as noted by Micheal Beck of The Endangered Habitats League in passing during a discussion at an Earth Discovery Institute event for the reasons stated above.
In spite of this, the main goal for Whelan, would be to use it strictly for just passing through along the border of Camp Pendleton to get to the golf course area. Please see the map: here.
The future of the lake is in jeopardy anyway, as Oceanside plans to start charging for filling the artificial/unnatural lake. (more info 1, more info 2)