POST and SMC Partner to Preserve Tunitas Creek Beach
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced today the purchase of a 58-acre beachfront property, at the intersection of Tunitas Creek Road and Highway 1 in coastal San Mateo County, for $5 million from V Trust, LLC. The goal of this acquisition is to preserve, rehabilitate and prepare the property for safe public use that respects the local environment.
“A stunning property like Tunitas Creek Beach should be cared for and available for everyone to enjoy,” said Walter T. Moore, President of POST. “This is an ambitious vision that is going to take support from the entire community to make it a reality. We hope to restore this property and open it to everyone to visit and be refreshed by its beauty and to share its many natural resources with all of the living things that make Tunitas Creek and the beach their home.”
Situated along a bluff at the mouth of Tunitas Creek, the site had been used for centuries as an Ohlone seasonal village and was a stopping point on the Spanish Portola Expedition. The entire property had been in private ownership for more than 100 years, but has become seriously environmentally degraded due to unsafe and unmanaged public use. Most recently, it has become popular via social media as a place for large, overnight campouts. This has caused significant environmental degradation to the sensitive cliffs and the Tunitas Creek corridor as well as unsanitary conditions on the beach. While POST is purchasing the southern parcel, county staff and POST are cooperating closely with the property owners on the north side of the beach who are in full support of this plan.
“The opportunity to create a brand new public beach in San Mateo County does not come around often. . . . We look forward to preserving this beautiful place forever in a way that benefits the environment and our entire community at the same time.”
~ Supervisor Don Horsley
“The opportunity to create a brand new public beach in San Mateo County does not come around often,” said Supervisor Don Horsley. “Tunitas Creek Beach is a hidden jewel with over a mile of scenic Northern California beach, as community members have long known. I want particularly to acknowledge the efforts of local groups such as TLC, Locals who have volunteered to care for and bring attention to this special place. We look forward to preserving this beautiful place forever in a way that benefits the environment and our entire community at the same time.”
In July of 2017, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved enforcement of prohibitions such as no camping and fires that will protect the coastal environment and ensure visitor safety. Tunitas Creek Beach currently has no facilities and is only accessible via a steep, eroded trail on the property or through the environmentally sensitive Tunitas Creek corridor. The beach is home to a federally protected snowy plover. The restrictions are similar to those in place at many County parks and are being enforced by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. The most immediate changes the public will see to the property support emergency access for public safety, with full public access coming later. View the new regulations.
“Places like Tunitas Creek Beach belong to everyone,” said Kari Mueller, Vice-Chair of the Surfrider Foundation for San Mateo County. “However, to ensure that everyone can continue enjoying this beautiful place we need to responsibly improve, manage, and maintain the public access. We all share the responsibility of making and keeping this a special space. Surfrider is thrilled to support POST and the County in the acquisition of this land to manage and improve public access for generations to come.”
POST is looking to raise $10 million from the community and community-based organizations to fund the purchase and the environmental restoration of the cliffs and beach. These funds will also cover the design and construction of safe public access trails, parking, restrooms, and possibly, a ranger station. Restoration of the creek corridor will require additional funding. Working in close coordination with San Mateo County Parks, it is hoped that the improvements will be completed and the property open to the public as a County Park within three years. Protection and management of the property is expected to cost the County an additional $10 million dollars over ten years. The property also offers an opportunity to complete a gap in the California Coastal Trail.
About the Peninsula Open Space Trust
POST is a leading private, nonprofit land trust that protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,500 acres as permanent open space and parkland in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Visit openspacetrust.org for more information.
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