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SLO County supervisors make Cave Landing a park, approve management plan

Rachel Showalter
An ocean view is visible from the Cave Landing parking area.

San Luis Obispo County-owned land at Cave Landing near Avila Beach is now part of the county’s park system.

The County of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department will move ahead with its plan to manage and improve the Cave Landing area after it received March 16 approval from the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

Director for SLO County Parks, Nick Franco, said if the department can get all the grant funding and bids, significant improvements can begin at the site.

“So the management goal overall has been to protect the natural character of the site and maintain it as a safe area so that people could access the beach, the cave, the trails and also enjoy the views of the coast and the sky that are up there,” Franco said.

The parks department will move forward with a three-phase development approach to Cave Landing.

Phase One includes cleaning up the site by removing graffiti, cleaning trash and debris, and providing transitional options for un-housed people in the area.

Janna Nichols is the executive director with the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition. She said her staff is providing services and will work to relocate people who are living there.

“Any assistance we can lend in the next phase, we are more than willing to assist,” Nichols said. “I’ll be happy to talk with county staff further about that if that would be helpful.”

Phase One is scheduled to be completed by May 2021.

In Phase Two, the parks department plans to make improvements to the parking area at Cave Landing, such as smoothing it with naturally-colored base rock materials and adding ADA-compliant parking spaces.

The parks department expects to begin construction in October 2021 and complete the improvements in December 2021.

The parks department expects Phase One and Two to cost more than $777,000.

Phase Three is the ongoing maintenance of the park. It includes the addition of a park ranger, consistent trash and graffiti removal, parking lot maintenance and evening patrols.

The ongoing maintenance in Phase Three is expected to cost more than $120,000 each year.

The County Board of Supervisors advised the parks department to prepare for the likely allocation of funding for Phase Three at the county's June budget meeting.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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