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Pauma Valley’s Secret Treasures

Jim Bartsch

By Jamie Reno | Photography by Sergio Hernandez

However, the resort/casinos are only the opening chapter of the epic and largely untold story of Pauma Valley, which boasts an abundance of history and secret treasures just beginning to be discovered by the outside world.

With active gem mines, spectacular hiking trails, scenic campgrounds, historic missions, world-class golf, ancient American Indian archeological sites, California’s longest zipline, surprising Hollywood connections, an innovative adoption of drought-resistant farming, and an embrace of solar power, Pauma Valley is an eclectic and

enticing destination.

Among the many surprises is the unique climate. Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, says that one of the things people love most when they visit the valley are the four seasons.

“Unlike most of San Diego, we enjoy real, changing seasons,” says Mazzetti, who has the valley’s independent gene, served in the Navy, built his own house, solar-powered well, and greenhouse, and constructed a pond on his property. “We have golden leaves in the fall, snow and cool winters, fog rising from the valleys, spring citrus blooms, and a good hot summer.”

Mazzetti adds that the many different cultures in Pauma Valley are becoming much closer. “In the past, the Indians and the residents, with a few exceptions, mainly old families, pretty much kept to ourselves,” he says. “We lived side by side with very little contact or communication as individuals, or with other local governments.

“The non-Indians knew very little about us and vice versa. Being in business is changing that.”

Mazzetti explains that, increasingly, “Tribal members are willing to entertain the idea of better community relations. As a result, I think we are all becoming real neighbors in the best sense of the word—at least that is my hope.”

Pauma Valley’s Secret Treasures

Jim Bartsch

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