Editors note: Were pleased to continue Michele Roests column, formerly known as Stewardship Travel, under its new rubric, Coast Lines. It will share with readers the wealth of natural resources on or near our coast.
You may have noticed a merry band of hikers wandering through town or trekking along trails this week. It could have been a group from Coastwalk California, which hosted a hike through San Luis Obispo County along the California Coastal Trail.
The vision of the California Coastal Trail, or CCT, is to connect the entire coast of California by forming a 1,200 mile-long network of trails from Oregon to Mexico. Some portions of the trail are on the beach, while others are on coastal bluffs or roads. The goal is to have the trails be within sight, sound, or at least the scent of the sea.
The Coastal Conservancy Act of 1976 called for a system of public accessways along the coast, and required each county to include plans for the CCT in its local coastal plan. Expanding the CCT is achieved in part with grants for public agencies and nonprofit organizations to develop and maintain coastal trails. Look for the CCT symbol, a blue swirl on a 4-inch aluminum square, at entrances to the Moonstone boardwalk and Fiscalini bluff trails.
Coastwalkn California, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the CCT, sponsors hikes along portions of the coastal trail from June to September. The tours range from three to eight nights of leisure-style camping. All the arrangements are covered, including transportation, camping gear, cooking, and cleanup. Participants carry only a light backpack and enjoy day hikes along the coast. The small groups offer an intimate feel and lasting memories.
Mike Minky, coordinator for the five-night SLO Classic, describes the tour. We start at the old Piedras Blancas Motel and head past the light station, the elephant seals and windsurfer beach, stop off for a glass of wine at Sebastians, and finish the day at San Simeon State Park.
The next day we walk along Moonstone Beach boardwalk, the Fiscalini Ranch, and into Cambria. Hikers spend the rest of the day exploring Cambria, and have dinner on their own. We spend subsequent nights at Morro Bay and Montaña de Oro State Parks. We are excited this year to add the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail through Diablo Canyon.
Other Coastwalks include the Sonoma Family Adventure and Wild Coast of Marin Classic. Learn more at www.coastwalk.org. You can download free hikers guides at www.californiacoastaltrail.info to create your own California Coastal Trail adventure.