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Hikers can soon explore Pismo Preserve on their own — but only on these days

The Pismo Preserve offers 11 miles of hiking trails and breathtaking views of the coast.
The Pismo Preserve offers 11 miles of hiking trails and breathtaking views of the coast. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Hikers will have two opportunities to explore the Pismo Preserve on their own next month, after several months of setbacks have kept the massive, 11-mile system of trails inaccessible to casual hikers for the better part of a year.

Starting in June, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County will hold two “Discovery Days” each month, where people can explore the preserve’s 900 acres unsupervised. The group regularly hosts docent-led hikes of the preserve each week, though those require registration in advance.

The first Discovery Days are scheduled for June 10 and 25, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; interested visitors can access the trails via a free shuttle service with stops in Pismo Beach and Oceano (for a full shuttle stop list, visit the Land Conservancy website).

Though bicyclists can access the preserve at the trailhead, pedestrians cannot because the group has not yet completed all of the necessary infrastructure at the trail entrance off of Mattie Road, according to a news release.

For many, this will be the first opportunity to access a project that has been in the works since 2014.

“The Pismo Preserve is a spectacular place, and we are excited to welcome everyone to visit the property via our guided activities and upcoming Discovery Days,” Executive Director Kaila Dettman said in the release. “The new trails are ready and waiting thanks to our amazing volunteers, and I can’t wait for people to experience the preserve on their own time and in their own way.”

The Pismo Preserve was acquired by the Land Conservancy in September 2014 for more than $12 million after a massive fundraising effort. Of that, $8 million was donated by the state Coastal Conservancy and Wildlife Conservation Board, $3 million came from local and regional government agencies, and the remaining $1.3 million was donated by the community.

Though it was at one time expected to ready in 2015, the preserve’s opening was delayed after the discovery of numerous archaeological sites on the property, and after the group found out it would need to install public safety improvements like signs.

The Land Conservancy anticipates fully opening the trail system to the general public in late 2018.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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