Construction to restore access to Guadalupe Dunes County Park beach is underway

Road construction intended to restore access to the beach at Guadalupe Dunes County Park is underway and expected to continue through the month, according to the Santa Barbara County Parks Department. The park won’t be closed during construction.

The park has been inaccessible since a storm last March washed it out. Visitors have needed to walk about three-quarters of a mile across the sand to visit the beach.

Souza Construction Inc. from San Luis Obispo is doing the work, and county officials hope to have it completed before the March 1 start of snowy plover nesting season.

Dune areas are off limits during the nesting season, but the beach itself is open to visitors for fishing, surfing, picnicking, hiking or sunbathing.

Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park, which offers expansive views of the West Coast’s highest dunes and the Santa Maria River estuary, is home to several species of threatened or endangered plants and animals. The parks department describes it as “an ideal area for hiking on the beach, photography, landscape art, birding, wildlife observation, or restoring one’s peace of mind.”

It is at the west end of Santa Maria’s Main Street, now named the Clarence Minetti Memorial Road, and two miles from Highway 1 and the town of Guadalupe. For information, go to http://www.sbparks.org, or call 343-2354.