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Octagon Barn gets final shingle 

Eighty-year-old Ed Carson shimmied around the roof of the Octagon Barn and drove the final nail in the final shingle, culminating 10 years of restoration to the historic site.

Carson is a volunteer for The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, a group that began efforts to restore the crumbling barn in 1998. On a sunny and windy morning, Carson’s final shingle marked the end of the project to open the barn to the public and make it a hub for the Bob Jones Trail to Avila Beach.

There’s still work to be done before the project is finished in fall 2009. The smell of redwood and lacquer hung inside the barn and the new beams were easily distinguishable from the aged wood and faded white paint.

“We’re standing in front of a historical icon of agriculture in our county,” Land Conservancy Executive Director Brian Stark told a crowd of volunteers and reporters on Nov. 12.

The Octagon Barn will serve as the future trailhead for the Bob Jones Trail to Avila Beach.

Other conservation efforts are nearing completion along the coast, too. The California Coastal Conservancy has agreed to purchase 2,400 acres of Wild Cherry Canyon between Los Osos and Avila Beach. That property, along with another 3,500 acres of Irish Hills, will be added to the Monta“a de Oro State Park. The added conservation lands means Monta“a de Oro will grow by about 65 percent, making it one of the largest parks in the state.

The latest purchase also paves the way to extend the California Coastal Trail by 20 miles. The trail, which is planned to extend from the southern to northern California borders, is about half complete currently.

“The Coastal Conservancy is thrilled to be part of contributing funds toward the project and, in particular, looking forward to connecting the California Coastal Trail from the Los Osos side over to Avila Beach,” said Coastal Conservancy Central Coast Project Manager Tim Duff.

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