Joetopia

Pirate’s Cove is still disgusting, and it’s the Board of Supervisors’ fault

What people are saying about trash and nudity at Pirate’s Cove near Avila Beach

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.
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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.

What’s going on at Pirate’s Cove is an embarrassing display of personal irresponsibility like nothing else in San Luis Obispo County.

The disregard for a beautiful piece of the California coastline has become so far beyond offensive it’s almost impossible to believe it’s happening here. Pirate’s Cove is a wasteland of trash, graffiti and people who don’t care.

And I’m only talking about the Board of Supervisors.

This is not to mention all of the careless punks and partiers who treat the bluffs like their personal toilet.

They are surely to blame, of course, for leaving cans, bottles, beer boxes, used condoms, human waste, old clothes and all sorts of other filth all over the place.

But an equal share can be heaped on the doorstep of county leaders who for decades — decades! — have failed to do anything to remedy the situation.

Yes, a few years back they had a grand plan to pave the parking lot, put in restrooms and trash cans and bring the whole stinking place to justice. I’ll never understand why the state Coastal Commission torpedoed that effort. Plenty of shame can be placed there as well, for their dereliction of duty.

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Signs of the lack of restrooms are seen everywhere along the main trail at Pirate’s Cove. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

But that doesn’t excuse the county from now completely ignoring the problem. Because that is where we are today.

No plan, no money and, apparently, no hope.

A year ago, Supervisor Adam Hill and parks Director Nick Franco rolled out a proposal to at least tackle some modest, reasonable improvements, specifically around the parking lot.

They wanted to do some basic grading, add permanent trash cans and maybe get a porta-john or two. This was the bare minimum, and it shouldn’t have cost much money.

But then, Supervisor Lynn Compton, whose South County district neighbors Hill’s, played a game of selfish hardball on how the county’s public parks budget should be divided and got Debbie Arnold and John Peschong to go along with a money grab that allocated the whole $1.2 million kit and kaboodle to projects in Nipomo.

I don’t have anything against Nipomo. Maybe it could use another playground or two. But last time I checked, it wasn’t a decrepit pit of excrement decorated in spray paint.

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

Because that’s what Pirate’s Cove is.

Surely, a few bucks could have been peeled off to help clean up the borderline Superfund site just up the road.

Surely, Compton recognizes there may be some county facilities with acute needs outside her precious 4th District.

Surely, someone — Hill, Franco, anyone — could have more stridently sounded the alarm about Pirate’s Cove.

But no. No one did. Not then, and not now.

Yes, there’s more talk about trying to do a little something, but frankly, that isn’t enough.

It’s beyond time for the entire Board of Supervisors to take an overnight field trip to the bluffs at Pirate’s Cove.

They can pitch a nice five-person tent on the edge of the rutted parking lot some Saturday night and watch the lawless destruction of a treasured resource firsthand.

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The rutted parking lot at Pirate’s Cove make it nearly impassable for low-clearance vehicles. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Maybe roast a S’more or two in the cave while dodging the beer bottles and used sex paraphernalia.

They can take a midnight stroll down the path to the beach and try not to break their ankles or fall into a pile of toilet paper and whatever’s underneath it.

Maybe that’s what it will take for them to finally stop ignoring the hands-down most disgusting spot in San Luis Obispo County and find some money somewhere to help.

Compton, Hill, Peschong, Arnold and Gibson, this is on all of you.

Do your jobs, supervisors. Do your jobs.

Joe Tarica: 805-781-7911, @joetarica

A man, estimated to be 18 to 24, fell 15 to 20 feet from a ledge at Pirate’s Cove on Friday, March 4.

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