Hikers flocking to the coast for scenic views are one step closer to being able to follow a continuous trail covering Half Moon Bay. The long-anticipated project to extend the Coastal Trail to Redondo Beach Road is coming close to fruition.
Once complete, the trail will provide public access to Redondo Beach and extend the pathway another two miles along the coast in Half Moon Bay.
“We think it’s going to be something great for the community,” said Paul Reidl, president of the Coastside Land Trust board of directors. “The trails are something people really enjoy about this area.”
Coastside Land Trust is working to develop an extension of the trail that goes through the Wavecrest open space. The land trust intends to build the trail on a mixture of its own property and city and Peninsula Open Space Trust designated open spaces.
“So, the plan is to design the trail so it follows these ‘phantom streets,’” Reidl said. “There is nothing on it, just prairie scrub, but the city owns it. If we cut across the property we could formalize the trail.”
The trail will mostly be set back from the coastline but offer two overlook vantage points so people get a good look at the Pacific Ocean.
“This is to avoid having to relocate the path because of predicted erosion of the bluff tops,” Reidl said. It should also help to reduce the rate of erosion by reducing the likelihood of water channels during storms.
The trail will then go east around the arroyo with stairs directly to the beach on both sides. Connecting with the original Bird Trail on the Wavecrest property owned by Coastside Land Trust, the trail would extend another two miles or so.
Reidl is hopeful construction could start as early as next year. Once construction begins, it will take several years to finish because the land is located in environmentally sensitive habitat, so work can only be done six weeks per year. As a coastal prairie habitat, it’s home to the endangered red-legged frog and been known to attract raptors and occasionally short-eared owls.
To complete the entire project, Reidl estimates it will cost about $5 million to $7 million, with the majority of funding coming from grants or donations. The California Coastal Commission has already committed to picking up the bill for the stairs allowing access to the beach, according to Reidl.
On Saturday, “National Take a Hike Day” according to the American Hiking Society, the Coastside Land Trust and the city presented design ideas for the stairway leading to Redondo Beach. Reidl said the plan is to not “create anything fancy” but to use redwood and concrete to build the stairway. This will create the first official public access route to the beach there. Previously, people used informally made trails to get to the beach. Those were often difficult to use and dangerous.
Other improvements include adding restrooms, parking and bicycle racks off of Redondo Beach Road.
The process has involved land acquisition and working with various agencies. In 2008, POST purchased the 206-acre Wavecrest property. A few years later, a grant allowed the land trust to purchase a portion of the property and create the Bird Trail.
While construction will not start this year for the Wavecrest extension, the goal is to help eventually create a complete California Coastal trail spanning 1,200 miles from the Oregon border to Mexico.