Many frequent frolickers of Pirate’s Cove are worried that the secluded coastline, known for its clothing-optional culture, won’t be the same if the San Luis Obispo County Parks Department gets involved as planned.
Department staff posted signs near the beach’s trailhead, then floated the idea past the Avila Valley Advisory Council on Feb. 11. The matter is slated to go before the SLO County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 26.
According to Curtis Black, deputy director of SLO County Parks, the county bought land near Pirate’s Cove in 2008, and the deal came with an offer for an “easement in fee” across an adjacent property, which includes the parking area and trailhead used by sunbathers. Should the county accept the easement, staff could implement a $1.4-million plan that’s been in the works since 2007 and includes parking lot improvements, a waterless composting restroom, and better trails to the beach. Black said funding for the project has already been secured through multiple grants.
“We’ve got no intent to change anything about how the beach is used,” Black said. “There’s no ordinance in the county that says nude sunbathing is against the law.”
A Facebook page sprang up on Feb. 12 warning people of the proposed changes and encouraging them to attend the Feb. 26 board meeting. It had gathered support from 104 people as of press time on Feb. 13. Several people posted concerns that paving the area would harm wildlife and lead to larger crowds at the beach.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t improve-fix it,” one person wrote.
A petition addressed to SLO County was posted to Change.org, expressing concerns that improvements “would only harm the resident wildlife and dull the magic that makes this place such a unique, beautiful, and desirable space … .”
The petition seeks 100 signatures and had 55 supporters as of Feb. 13.