The Peninsula Open Space Trust acquired 58 acres on the Coastside on Nov. 15. At the intersection of Tunitas Creek Road and Highway 1, it will be the first beach area managed as a San Mateo County park for the public.
While POST owns the property, the county will assume responsibility for day-to-day operations. Through this partnership officials hope to bring order to an area that has long been loved by locals and become a weekend hot spot for visitors. Goals are to make it a safe destination for people while protecting vulnerable wildlife and natural resources, they said.
“This is all about getting managed use and public safety,” POST Land Programs and Stewardship Director Daniel Olstein said.
“Regulations are designed to make sure the beach is enjoyed in an environmentally sensitive way,” San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley said. “I think it’s a jewel of the Coastside.”
A number of agencies and community groups feared the gem was getting tarnished by garbage, human waste, poaching and coastal erosion exacerbated by rowdy revelers. The county partnered with refuse companies to remove trash by the truck full. Parks staff and volunteers have also been vigilant about pick-up.
In June, the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that prohibits behavior that damages the beach. It prohibits amplified music, camping and fires, and requires that visitors remove what they bring in, including trash. Violators may be cited with a misdemeanor.
“A stunning property like Tunitas Creek Beach should be cared for and available for everyone to enjoy,” POST President Walter T. Moore said in a statement. “This is an ambitious vision that is going to take support from the entire community to make it a reality.”
POST, a nonprofit, purchased the property from the private V Trust for $5 million. It’s now soliciting funding for $10 million to cover costs associated with restoring the cliffs and beach, the design and construction of safe public access trails, parking, restrooms and possibly a ranger station to be completed in three years. The county expects operations expenses to be about $1 million annually thereafter.
Horsley said visitors might be required to pay a nominal fee to help cover those costs, but intends to keep it affordable.
“I want to make sure the fee is low enough so it doesn’t discourage people from coming here,” Horsley said.