Beacon’s Beach, a narrow stretch of coast in Encinitas, CA, currently has a narrow switchback trail from the parking lot down to the beach. The problem is the trail is not currently safe. It has a “factor of safety” of 1, which is not stable. Common practice requires a 1.5 factor of safety. The trail would become safer for continued use once the parking lot is reconfigured. Currently, seven parking spots are undermined and in danger of failing.
Because we consider beach access critical and value the trail so much, Surfrider has been engaged in the public process since 2001. Representatives from the San Diego Chapter have attended publicly noticed City Council meetings, reviewed documents and attended workshops to protect the coast and public beach access. When it comes to politics and civic engagement, the public has to actively pay attention, read local media, check City Council agendas, etc. For those wishing to protect the coast, the Surfrider Foundation often highlights critical issues; in fact, the access battle at Beacon’s has been on our San Diego Chapter website and in our newsletter numerous times over the years.
At one point, when Surfrider was still the only voice on this issue, the city arranged a meeting to have their consultants explain a proposed armoring solution in detail. We did not agree with the proposal, however, so we kept pushing – through the public process – for a non-armoring solution that complies with the State Parks General Plan.
That is why we have suggested specific permit language to ensure the city has to obtain a separate permit before making any changes to the trail. The City of Encinitas is also committed to maintaining the trail, continuing current levels of funding for trail maintenance, and upholding the requirements of their agreement with California’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
For more on this issue, check out this September 2018 blog post by Julia Chunn-Heer, Surfrider San Diego Policy Manager.