Surfers Celebrate Environmental Victory
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Ho, Ho, Ho! Surfers in Southern California are thankful this holiday season for the early gift they got - the news on November 10th that Trestles, an iconic surfing spot at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County, is going to be saved from having a six-lane toll road run through it.
Thanks to persistent lobbying the past 15 years by the Surfrider Foundation and other environmental groups, the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) has agreed to treat San Onofre State Beach as a protected area. The TCA will "refrain from building or funding a road project" at San Onofre, as well as the Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy and areas within the San Mateo Creek Watershed.
As they say, "It takes a village" to get things done. And, in this case, it was a "village" of surfers, environmental activists, concerned citizens, the Sierra Club, and more, who formed the Save San Onofre Coalition (SSOC) to build public awareness of the importance of the San Onofre coastal site and to fight the proposed expansion of the 241 toll road.
Speaking for the SSOC, Elizabeth Goldstein joyfully said, "This settlement gave us what we've been fighting for all along."
Chad Nelsen, Surfrider Foundation CEO, thanked the "army of members, supporters and partners" who helped to block the toll road. "Standing with us for every victory, those victories helped us to arrive where we are today - achieving this landmark settlement to forever save Trestles."
Surfrider’s former SoCal Regional Manager Nancy Hastings sent congratulations from her new port of call in Massachusetts. “So glad I was able to play a small role in the EPIC battle to Save Trestles! This effort spanned over a decade and could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of countless volunteer grassroots activists.
Trestles, a collection of beaches consisting of Upper, Lower and Middle Trestles, is named after a wooden trestle bridge that surfers used to have to walk under to reach the celebrated surf spot.
The namesake bridge was replaced with a concrete viaduct in 2012, but the surfers taking the 15-minute hike from the trailhead at Cristianitos Road down to the beach continues.
Picturesque shots of the beach were frequently seen on television when Richard Nixon was president since his home, La Casa Pacifica, (AKA The Western White House) was located on the bluffs on Cotton's Point above Cottons surf break North of Upper Trestles.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that, in addition to the victory for Trestles, the TCA has also agreed to establish a $28 million conservation fund to help preserve and protect San Mateo Creek and its watershed. The 22-mile-long creek is one of the last unchannelized streams in Southern California and it supports a biologically diverse ecosystem of plants and animals.
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