Pescadero Creek Park History
By 1971 the property had expanded to 5,700 acres, mostly logged over timberland purchased from the Santa Cruz Lumber Company which had just closed its mill. The Army Corps of Engineers was to construct a dam on Pescadero Creek creating a lake containing 60,000-acre feet of water, and flooding everything below 400 feet elevation from Shaw Flat south for four miles to Portola Redwoods State Park. It was a massive plan that never happened due to opposition of conservationists and anti development factions who saw the lake as a threat to the rural Coast side. The availability of cheap irrigation and domestic water would, in the view of many, spur agricultural and residential development. The dam and lake plan was canceled after a series of public hearings.
The County continued on with its plan for developing Pescadero Creek Park as a major new recreational asset with campgrounds, visitor center, picnic grounds, trails and interpretive programs. This plan, too, was cancelled as it called for selective harvesting of timber as a means of restoring the forest and providing income for the County General Fund. Many environmental
groups were opposed to the logging plan as the money went into the General Fund with no guarantee that the County focus would be more concerned with forest restoration than maximizing income. Other objections were raised by locals who did not want to attract additional visitors to the area for fear of traffic and population issues. Then the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 struck the final blow for many plans to develop Pescadero Creek Park.
Since then the park has remained in its initial state with the development and maintenance of multi-use trails and two primitive trail camps. The Boy Scout facility Camp Pomponio, was closed in the late 1960's - early 1970's when the area was logged by Santa Cruz Lumber Company. The boy Scouts had developed many of the trails, some existing logging roads that are still in use today. Camp Pomponio was part of the County's acquisition and became the Men's Correctional Facility operated by the Sheriff's Office.