Plans for a coastal trail from Cayucos to the Monterey County line are available for public review. They cover a small segment of a trail that would eventually span 1,200 miles of coast from Oregon to Mexico.
The plan would serve as a blueprint to be used over the next 25 years to create continuous bike and pedestrian paths paralleling a 35-mile stretch of Highway 1, along with connecting trails to local destinations such as beaches and restaurants.
The northern San Luis Obispo County coast is one of the most scenic and unspoiled coastlines in the world a national treasure, the plans executive summary states. It attracts more than a million visitors a year.
The draft plan for the Northern San Luis Obispo County Coastal Trail is open to public comment through the end of April. It can be downloaded at www.slocoastaltrail.com.
Planners estimate it will cost between $29 million and $65 million to fully implement the plan. The money will be used to construct trails, staging areas and creek crossings, as well as design and environmental compliance expenses.
It will take years to implement the plan, which will depend on various agencies obtaining grants to fund the work, said Geiska Velasquez, a transportation planner with the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments.
We expect movement on some parts of the plan in the next year, but not the whole thing, she said.
This is the first section of Highway 1 in the county to receive such a comprehensive plan, Velasquez said. It was selected because it is a National Scenic Byway, a designation that potentially makes grants available.
It is also the part of the highway that has not been the focus of systematic planning. For example, the San Luis Obispo County Parks Department is developing a bike path connecting Cayucos to Morro Bay.
Plans will be developed for other parts of the coast as funding becomes available, Velasquez said.
In 1972, California voters approved a ballot initiative that recommended the establishment of a statewide coastal trail.
When complete, the trail will span 15 counties and 1,200 miles of coast from Oregon to Mexico.