UltraSystems Teams up with KPFF

UltraSystems became involved with this heart-breaking project when one of its long-time teaming partners, KPFF, reached out to have us join their team. We are deeply saddened by this tragic drowning, however, supporting Max’s family to help build a bridge at the Mission Trails Regional Park in honor of Max Lenail will create a safer environment for future avid hikers.


In January 2021, Max Lenail, a  pre-med student at Brown University, went on a hike at the Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego County.  Max was a on a popular hike in the Fortuna Peaks area, and just a few minutes away from the Visitor Center Loop. Sadly, Max drowned while hiking on a dangerous part of the trail, crossing the San Diego River.

His parents approached San Diego officials with the intent to ensure the safety of “people like Max”, fellow hikers, runners, cyclists, and first-time visitors alike, would not be in peril at the park crossing going forward.

The Max LeNail Memorial Bridge project was unanimously approved by the Park Task Force, chaired by Councilmember Raul Campillo, on May 20, 2021. With their cause approved they set out to use their energy and networks to improve the park for users to benefit for decades to come. The project then received a $1.5 million grant from the State of California on July 22, 2021 from President of the California State Senate, Toni Atkins.

Project Moves Ahead

In their end of the year update, Max’s parent’s Ben and Laurie wrote, “We have selected a prime contractor for the Bridge for Max project: KPFF Consulting Engineers. We evaluated other compelling proposals, and KPFF won on the merits. Their architectural partner is Safdie Rabines, and their environmental consultant is UltraSystems. The project is now starting in earnest.”

UltraSystems will be assisting KPFF prepare the Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) documents so the project will be California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) certified and lessen the impact to the natural environment as required.

About Bridge for Max

Max’s parents partnered with The San Diego Foundation to launch the Max Lenail Memorial Bridge Fund on Max’s 22nd birthday, March 26, 2021. The fund is accepting tax-deductible donations, which are exclusively earmarked for the construction of the pedestrian bridge.

About UltraSystems

UltraSystems, founded in 1994, is a multi-disciplinary, full service environmental consulting and planning firm serving both the public and private sectors. The 27-year-old firm provides expertise in development planning; site selection and analysis; CEQA and NEPA compliance; technical studies, and environmental compliance during construction. UltraSystems Environmental is certified as a WBE, SBE, DBE and WOSB company and is headquartered in Irvine, California.


Blog Author – Brandie Metcalf, MSEd, MA is the Senior Marketing Specialist at UltraSystems working on proposals, social media, and teaming opportunities at the Irvine Headquarter office.