By Walter Moore,
President

A New Life for Tunitas Creek Beach

The towering bluffs of Tunitas Creek Beach, just south of Half Moon Bay, have piqued my curiosity since I first saw them almost 30 years ago. Every time I pass by on Highway 1, I’m eager to get out and explore the mile-long beach below. But the bluffs surrounding the beach have been in private hands all these years. As a result, there has been no safe option for public access and the view from the road was as far as my curiosity could take me.

That hasn’t stopped others from trespassing on this property and in recent years things have gotten way out of hand. Fueled by social media, the beach has become a destination for large, multi-night campouts. This unmanaged use has caused severe environmental degradation to the sensitive coastal bluffs and polluted nearby Tunitas Creek which provides habitat for endangered red-legged frog and steelhead trout.

We knew something needed be to done to protect this beach – we were simply loving it to death.

Tunitas Creek Beach Map - POSTToday, we’re pleased to announce POST’s acquisition of the 58 acres on the southern end of Tunitas Creek Beach. We’ve acquired this property to protect it from further abuse, rehabilitate its natural features and prepare it to be opened as a brand new public park for all to enjoy. It’s an ambitious vision that will take the whole community to bring to reality.

We’re working to raise $10 million to make this vision possible. These funds will be used towards the purchase and to build public access routes, parking facilities, restrooms and possibly a ranger station: all of the elements needed to protect the land and allow for safe public use.

We are working closely with San Mateo County Parks on this project, and they will manage the property for us both now and in the future. Together, we are hopeful that these improvements can be completed within the next three years, at which time the beach would be officially opened as a new San Mateo County park.

Until then, enjoy this virtual tour of a truly remarkable piece of our local coastline:

 

It’s deeply satisfying for me to be sharing this great news with you and to know that Tunitas Creek Beach will become a place for future generations to explore and be refreshed by this glorious piece of California Coast.

If you are interested in helping us fund this ambitious project, we welcome your donation. And watch for more information to come on our progress over the months ahead.

  • David Pellarin

    I am thrilled to see this piece of land protected! I too have driven past it manty times and wondered about it. I too have witnesed how the area has been degraded in recent years. I know the site needs cleanup but please respect the historical nature of the site. The images show thes houses once had nice gardens. Please preserve the noninvasive plants that have survived. We do not need to eradicate history to protevt the environment.

    • Thanks for sharing, David! There’s a lot of history to this property that we will work to protect. Stay tuned for more stories about this work as we begin the process of getting it ready for public use.

  • Kelly Runyon

    The beach is gorgeous but the access is not safe, obviously. Once a safe way down to the beach is established, this would be a great place for some half-day work sessions for first-time volunteers: pull ice plant for 3 hr in the morning, have lunch on the beach, and go home.

    • Great idea, Kelly. This is something we’ll mention to our Outreach Manager! Thanks for your support!

  • Kathy Webster

    This is great news! It is one of the most beautiful stretches of San Mateo coast and to see how abused it was getting from these large groups was devastating. Thank you, POST and San Mateo County Parks.

  • Danny

    I have been going to a California State Beach called Gray Whale Cove South of Pacifica for over 20 years. last year there was a huge increase in Garbage, graffiti, illegal fire pits on the beach and Destroying state property by breaking down the stairs to build fires.( I have photos chronicling these issues I can send ) I have begun a one-man campaign and have contacted local parks department and police, and they informed me they did not have funding to cover this beach? on February 14, a homicide victim was found in the parking lot at Gray Whale Cove, something I had predicted because of the drug dealing and gang activity. Gray Whale Cove is a feeding grounds for bottom feeding Gray Whales that will die from ingesting plastic garbage washed into the ocean. These rave party/fiestas are occurring throughout the California coast at night, a place to have large unregulated gatherings with no cleanup after! Gray Whale Cove needs your attention, and could be a poster child for what we need to prevent from happening to our beaches in California. If this abuse is not stopped, it will continue and grow and eventually kill Gray Whales.
    we need to have after dark parking rules enforced, and multi lingual anti-littering campaign at our beaches.

    • Hi Danny. Thanks for sharing your concerns and for calling. We completely agree about the need for safe public use at Gray Whale Cove, and I hope our POST staffer got back to you with the best ways to address this with San Mateo County and San Mateo County Parks. Thank you for all of your efforts!

    • John Schweisinger

      Awesome! Such a great streatch of beach along the coast. One of my favorite spots to stop. Are there any maps of this area? I make maps and would be willing to donate some time to help out with GIS & GPS.

    • John Schweisinger

      Awesome! Such a great streatch of beach along the coast. One of my favorite spots to stop. Are there any maps of this area? I make maps and would be willing to donate some time to help out.

      • Hi John! Thanks for reaching out — it is a beautiful spot! We just responded to you via email about this. Thanks again!

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About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) 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 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

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