Saturday, February 16, 2008

Save Trestles

Photo: Branimir Kvartuc

On February 6th, in front of over 2500 activists, the California Coastal Commission voted 8-2 and found that the proposed 241 Toll road is not consistent with the California Coastal Act. A big win for coastal conservation and protection of surfing at Trestles.

Associated Press story about the hearing

There were at least two interesting things about this issue that relate to surf economics.

First, both the Coastal Commission staff and the AP story above referred to the high usage of Trestles (almost 400,000 visits a year) and also the economic impact to the City of San Clemente ( up to $13 million/year) in their reports on the issue.

Second, the TCA who is promoting the toll road argued that the road was necessary for access and also that surfers were being selfish and didn’t want the road to “expose” their local surf spot. These arguments are easily countered by showing a map of where surfers come from in order to surf at Trestles - they come from all over southern California - and that Trestles is one of the most heavily used surfing spots in the US. Access doesn't seem to be a limiting factor!

Origin of surfers visiting Trestles based on zip code
(Nelsen, C. et. al. 2007. Socioeconomics of surfers at Trestles Beach. Shore & Beach 74(4))