Pirate’s Cove, San Luis Obispo County’s only nude beach, will stay just as it is if county supervisors Tuesday accept a staff recommendation to scrap all planned improvements for the isolated area.
The $1.5 million project hit a major roadblock in July when the state Coastal Commission denied nearly all of the improvements the county had planned for the cove, which is half way between Avila Beach and Pismo Beach.
Pirate’s Cove county park consists of a dirt parking lot, a trail down a bluff to the beach and a narrow hillside trail connecting it to the north end of Pismo Beach. The Coastal Commission rejected plans to pave the parking lot, add a restroom and interpretive signs, and improve the trail to the beach.
The commission only approved plans for a new segment of the California Coastal Trail to Pismo Beach called Cave Landing Trail. Several local residents had appealed the project saying it was unnecessary.
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In a report to supervisors, parks manager Curtis Black said abandoning the project altogether makes the most sense because of uncertainty about the continued availability of three state and local grants that funded the project.
“This option would end efforts to construct the Cave Landing Trail and Pirate’s Cove Park and these areas would remain in their current condition as desired by many of the appellants,” Black said in his report.
Other options include constructing only Cave Landing Trail or submitting a new permit application for the entire project to the Coastal Commission. Building only the trail would require a significant engineering redesign to deal with drainage issues.
Both alternatives would take years to complete, and the grants would likely be lost. By canceling the entire project, the grant money would be returned and used for other park projects in the area.
Other projects that could be funded include a trail from Avila Beach to Harford Pier in Port San Luis, improvements to Harford Pier, the purchase of the Pismo Preserve and an expansion of the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach.