Environment

Pirate’s Cove may soon close at night to cars in crackdown on parties, sex and trash

Partying is a common problem at Pirate’s Cove. The cave is littered with trash, and spray-painted graffiti covers the walls.
Partying is a common problem at Pirate’s Cove. The cave is littered with trash, and spray-painted graffiti covers the walls. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Nighttime visitors to Pirate’s Cove may soon be in search of a new place to park.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to direct staff to draw up a plan closing the South County clothing-optional beach and lookout spot to vehicle traffic during overnight hours.

Supervisor Adam Hill suggested the board consider the plan — which would involve installing a gate at the parking lot entrance — at its Oct. 3 meeting.

“A lot of things have been going on in the Pirate’s Cove parking lot,” Hill said. “We’ve had a limited ability to deal with it.”

The county has recently been grappling with how to clean up Pirate’s Cove, a spot known for its partying, rutted parking lot and graffiti-filled cave as much as its ocean views, trails and crescent beach. The area is commonly littered with trash, including everything from beer bottles and toilet paper to used condoms and hypodermic needles.

Supervisors on Sept. 12 directed staff to develop a cleanup plan for the area, although the parking lot closure would likely come first as a separate measure.

When asked where visitors could park during the hours the lot is closed, Nick Franco, the county’s Parks and Recreation director, said Avila Beach would be the closest area.

Cave Landing Road, which intersects with Avila Beach Drive and leads to both the Ontario Ridge Trail and Pirate’s Cove, would likely be another option.

Pirate's Cove is San Luis Obispo County's only nude beach. But it isn't the nudity that people complain about most. It's the trash.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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