Once a litter-filled hideout for trespassing party goers, this Northern California beach gets renewed.
Tunitas Creek meets the Pacific Ocean halfway between Pescadero and Half Moon Bay. There, at the mouth of the creek and bounded by steep cliffs, a 58-acre property that includes the wide, sandy shore has become a hopeful story of renewal and conservation.
Peninsula Open Space Trust announced the acquisition of Tunitas Creek Beach in November 2017. The spot could no longer have been called a hidden gem – it had become all too well known in recent years. Trespassing on the property had become rampant, as social media helped fuel the beach’s notoriety as a destination for large, overnight campouts that negatively impacted the site’s seaside cliffs and polluted the shore. This overuse and resulting pollution were degrading the beach and surrounding environment, with negative repercussions for the health of the ecosystem.
The acquisition by POST, with Moore Foundation support, will allow for the coastal property’s rehabilitation and eventual transition to San Mateo County Parks. Prohibitions are now in place to stem the encroachment, prevent camping and campfires, safeguard the ecosystem and keep visitors safe. Reflecting on the community and environmental benefits that the project will deliver, POST’s president Walter Moore explained, “We hope to…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.”
Within three years from acquisition and with additional fundraising in the community, POST expects the site to open as a new San Mateo County park. Tunitas Creek Beach will be restored and conserved for the species who inhabit it, added as one more segment to help complete the California Coastal Trail, and open for generations of visitors who will now be able to experience, first-hand, the unique and enduring beauty of this spectacular stretch of Bay Area coastline.