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Surfers battle environmentalists over access path at famed Lower Trestles beach

April 17, 2010 |  8:08 am


A battle is brewing at one of Southern California's most famed surfing spots over a plan to build a new trail to the beach.

At issue is a proposal to build a trail to Lower Trestles in San Clemente. Right now, surfers access it down a dirt path, across live railroad tracks and through the marshlands.

Now, some locals fear that their special experience at Lowers will be ruined by conservationists, environmentalists and architects who want to build a new trail and to make the railroad crossing safe.

The activists have organized a design competition to create a path that would keep beachgoers off sensitive vegetation, and the idea has sparked a backlash among some surfers who would rather keep it the way it is: raw.

As the deadline to enter the contest approached, some surfers have begun grumbling at the beach and on the contest’s Web forum.

They complain that easier access would bring more crowds to the beach and the lineup. This, they say, is one of the last untouched spots after 30 years of a Southern California population boom.

“This is Trestles. Don’t we have enough beaches where we can bring the umbrellas and coolers and family and everything?” Mike Reola, who has been surfing at Trestles for 25 years, told the Daily Pilot. “It’s already crowded enough here.”

Read the full story here.

-- Mike Reicher reporting for the Daily Pilot

Photo: A surfer catches a wave at Lower Trestles. Credit: Los Angeles Times