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A combination of sea level rise, storms and coastal surges has had a devastating impact on Southern California beaches. Capistrano Beach, in particular, has suffered painful losses recently -- a beautiful boardwalk, basketball court, parking spaces, sidewalks and even restrooms. OC Parks made a valiant effort to reopen the park to public use by Memorial Day, 2019. Today it consists of beach, parking lot and a few fire pits, and although considerably changed, it continues to be a scenic and popular destination. Sandbags, rip rap boulders and k-rails protect the remaining infrastructure while the County makes plans for longer term park restoration.

Now, the iconic path between Capistrano Beach and neighboring Doheny Beach is in jeopardy. This eroding stretch is part of a lengthy regional trail that allows residents and visitors to walk or bicycle from Dana Point Harbor to Capistrano Beach and at low tide, on to Cotton Point.

Early photos dating from the 1920s clearly show that there has been a safe trail between the two beaches for at least a century. Every day, many hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists (and an estimated 1,000 or more on weekends) make this trail part of their beach experience.

While we recognize that coastal erosion will continue, we applaud OC Parks for their willingness to spend public funds on reasonable efforts to keep this path intact for the next few years or more so that our kids and grandkids can continue to enjoy an uninterrupted path to both beaches for as long as possible. Without this path, pedestrians would be forced to climb a bridge and hike along busy PCH in order to travel between these popular beaches. Bicyclists, families with strollers, and the handicapped would have NO uninterrupted access.

We, the undersigned, support OCParks’ efforts to restore this iconic path and protect it via necessary armament, preserving public access until a long term solution can be forged.

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