San Luis Obispo County is a step closer to implementing its latest plan to clean up and manage Pirate’s Cove beach.
On Oct. 16, SLO County issued its Parks Department a permit to carry out what it has described as a bare-bones project to restore the popular clothes-optional beach to its natural state and improve a deteriorated parking lot at the end of Cave Landing Road.
FILE PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
NEW ERA? SLO County hopes to add signage, trash cans, and bike racks to Pirate’s Cove and make improvements to its parking lot.
If it survives any appeals, the permit would allow the county to clean up garbage and graffiti throughout the property, flatten out the parking lot, and add trash and recycling receptacles, signage, and bike racks to the site.
The goal of the project, according to SLO County Parks Director Nick Franco, is to manage Pirate’s Cove like a natural area, and not a full-blown park.
“The idea is let’s go in and essentially restore it to its natural condition,” Franco said. “Right now, the property is kind of in no man’s land. It’s a county-owned vacant land. What we’re trying to do is bring it into the parks system.”
Franco said the county has no intention of changing the beach’s clothing-optional status. A maintenance plan would add a new daytime park ranger to monitor the area. Alcohol consumption would still be permitted, but not “out of control parties” or underage drinking, Franco said.
The project is SLO County’s second crack at reining in Pirate’s Cove since it took over ownership of the area in 2008. A more robust prior proposal, which would’ve closed the parking lot at night, among other changes, faced local opposition and ultimately was rejected by the Coastal Commission in 2014
Franco said that the new scaled-down project is the result of extensive public outreach
. He believes it strikes the right balance.
“My hope is there aren’t any appeals,” Franco said.
If it moves forward, the improvements could be complete in about a year, Franco said. ∆