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County to move forward with cleanup projects at Pirate's Cove 

Pirate's Cove is getting a makeover soon, and it's one that some community members say is long overdue.

At a meeting on March 16, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to integrate Cave Landing into the county park system, allowing the county to enforce regulations and protections there that are followed at other local park facilities. The board also voted to put nearly $499,000 in public facility fees, $129,358 in general fund revenue, and a $250,000 California Coastal Conservancy grant toward various efforts to clean up the trails and parking areas at Cave Landing and Pirate's Cove.

"We need to support the traditional use of our beaches," 3rd District Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg said at the March 16 meeting. "We've seen more and more people out there, especially during COVID, and this is a very important location for many reasons, not only just the beauty of it, and the recreation of it but also, as was mentioned, the cultural resources and the biological resources. So this is well-spent money."

click to enlarge CLEANING THE COVE At a meeting on March 16, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to integrate Cave Landing into the county park system and to fund a number of cleanup project near Pirate's Cove. - PHOTO BY KASEY BUBNASH
  • Photo By Kasey Bubnash
  • CLEANING THE COVE At a meeting on March 16, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to integrate Cave Landing into the county park system and to fund a number of cleanup project near Pirate's Cove.

The Cave Landing area has been fraught with problems for years now, since the county acquired the land and planned for park development there between 2008 and 2014. According to a county staff report, Pirate's Cove, Cave Landing, and those who frequent the area are often the source of complaints to law enforcement and public officials. It lacks trash bins and bathroom facilities, the parking lot is unpaved and difficult to maneuver, and insufficient enforcement in the area and 24-hour access mandated by the California Coastal Commission has made it a popular spot for late-night fires and overnight camping.

Recently, county staff say that a homeless encampment was erected in the area, and graffiti, trash, human waste, and discarded drug paraphilia now litter the parking lot and trails.

Using recently approved funding, the county hopes to collect trash at Cave Landing and install trash bins, level and pave the parking lot, clean up existing graffiti, and hire a park ranger to maintain the site.

"It's taking staffing and a lot of other county resources in managing that encampment out there," Otiz-Legg said. "So what seems to be taken away with trying to properly manage this special place actually is taking resources from public safety, taking resources from the homeless coalitions, and all of the other social services that we have offered at the county. So in so many ways, now shifting over with this plan will actually be saving our resources as we just focus on the park aspect of that." Δ

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