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(Palo Alto, Calif.)—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 the 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,” 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.
“Places like Tunitas Creek Beach belong to everyone,” said Kari Mueller, Vice-Chair of Surfrider, San Mateo County Chapter. POST is looking to raise $10 million from the community and community-based organizations to fund the purchase and 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. This project is funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
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.
About the San Mateo County Parks
San Mateo County Parks manages parks, preserves, trails and historic sites to preserve public lands and provide opportunities for education and recreation. The Department’s 22 sites are located throughout the County and encompasses more than 16,000 acres that represent the region’s wondrously diverse natural settings. Learn more about San Mateo County Parks at http://parks.smcgov.org/. For more information about rules currently enforced at Tunitas Creek Beach, you can find them at parks.smcgov.org/tunitas-creek-beach.
About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. Visit Moore.org and follow @MooreFound.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 77,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more