Monday, Jul 24, 2017
Christa Bigue
  • Tunitas Creek Beach

    The County of San Mateo is asking the public to help protect and respect Tunitas Creek Beach by avoiding overnight camping, trash dumping, fires and other improper activities prohibited under a new ordinance taking effect Monday, July 24, 2017. 
    The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday, June 27 meeting unanimously approved a host of new prohibitions aimed at protecting the coastal environment and ensuring the safety of visitors to the remote beach off Highway 1. Tunitas Creek Beach has no bathroom facilities or trash receptacles and is only reachable via a steep, eroded trail on private property. 
    The new restrictions are similar to those at many County parks and include: fires, overnight camping, removal or destruction of vegetation, vandalism, littering, domestic animals, firearms, alcohol and loitering after hours. The rules also forbid fireworks, smoking, motorized vehicles and the use of sound amplifying equipment. Violations will be cited as a misdemeanor. 
    County leaders want to make very clear that the beach is closed between dusk and dawn. 
    The ordinance takes effect Monday, July 24, but regardless of legal restrictions, County officials and law enforcement hope the public takes it upon themselves to practice good behavior. County officials ask the public — both the coastal community and visitors from elsewhere — to adopt the widely accepted outdoor principle of Leave no Trace and to respect and preserve the environment and the beauty of Tunitas Creek Beach. Leave No Trace, in essence, is the rule of leaving the environment the way one finds it by planning ahead, packing out trash and minimizing impacts. 
    Beachgoers who spot violations can report them to the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency dispatch line for Half Moon Bay: 650-726-8286. 
    The Board imposed the restrictions in response to a growing number of visitors who leave a wake of trash and damage after they depart. A recent beach party left volunteers later hauling out 15 bags of trash. Other unwanted souvenirs of the overnight revelry include human waste, charred barbecued pig remains and damage or removal of trees and plants. The aftermath of Fourth of July 2016 made headlines for what was deemed a “shocking” amount of resulting garbage and similar aftermaths at the beach after recent weekends further cement the reason why officials say the behavior must stop. 
    The County’s long-term protection plan for Tunitas ultimately includes improving access for responsible daytime beachgoers and may add trash cans and restroom facilities on-site.